Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Company(2007)

I visited my sister yesterday and spent almost all day with her family. I had great meals and also a lot of cookies and candies that she especially prepared for me. I think I am too old to have grand meals and I was overfed by my sister, but I had good time with them.

We watched some TV programs together when we had our meals. I had to watch Doraemon because my nephew loves it; I had to watch some Japanese soap operas because my sister loves them. I think I am right that I don't have television in my house because I found out that most Taiwanese people spend too much time in front of their TV. (Well, I spend too much time with my laptop and this is a problem, too.)

When I finally had chance to control over TV remote controller, I switched to movie channels. I rarely knew what channels were showing what movies so I was channel hopping absent-mindedly. I switched to Cinemax and the movie that it was showing caught my attention immediately.

I didn't know what the program's title was at that time, and I was caught in the middle of the movie. I enjoyed it though and I found out the storyline right away. The story was about CIA during Cold War. I could recognize few familiar faces from the movie, so I did some search online and figured out what the movie was.

The program is called The Company, a TV mini-series starring Chris O'Donnell, Michael Keaton and Alfred Molian. The mini-series is based on Robert Littell's almost-nine-hundred-page novel of the same name, and it covers most famous events happened during Cold War.

The first impressive feature of the series is it gives those household names new faces different from their previous characters. I was especially impressive by Michael Keaton's performance when I watched it. He was no longer the wicked and nasty ghost in the Beetlejuice or the not-so-dark dark knight in Batman. And Chris O'Donnell wasn't the young student in Scent of a Woman any more. I hadn't seen other good movies he stared for years, but he is pretty cool in The Company.

The second feature that interests me is the story. It depicts few famous historical events happened during Cold War and the manipulation of CIA behind those events. I love historical drama, I am no expert of Cold War so I don't know if the cause and consquesence of those events presents in this mini-series is accurate or not, but the storytelling was fluent and I was confused even though I don't have enough background knowledge.

I found out that only watched two episodes: The Hungarian Uprising and the Bay of Pigs. Few lines from those two episodes made me think of few things.

When I watched The Hungarian Uprising, Frank Wisner--played by Ted Atherton-- questioned why US didn't give military support to the uprising against the Soviet. The US had spent some much time and money to train those who are against the communism all over the world, and wait the right time like the Hungarian Uprising, but the government didn't take any measure when the timing was right.

When I read/listened to the lines, I had an idea that Taiwan was one part of them, the one trained/manipulated by the CIA. Taiwan was one that swallowed up in the conflicts between the Democracy and the Communism. I suddenly felt a strange bond that connects Taiwan to the rest of world. But what price Taiwan has been paying?

I watched first half part of The Bay of Pigs. One scene was funny to me. Harvey Torriti (played by Alfred Molina) asked one head of mafia to assassin Castro. Taiwan Intelligence agency learned the lesson--recruiting gangsters to conduct secret mission-- from CIA. I was thinking no wonder Jiang Nan Case happened. All I should say all intelligence agencies are all the same.

The Company is a 360-mintue mini-series, I only watched 100 minutes yesterday. I think I wouldn't have chance to watch it replay on TV, I would watch its complete version when its DVD is available.

2007-12-24-26 Yilan and Hualian 聖誕之旅:宜蘭與花蓮 PART II (清水斷崖)

We left Suao around 2 p.m., kind of late actually, but we still planed to visit Taroko National Park before checking in our B&B in Hualian. We got on Suhua Road-- the most dangerous and winding road in Northern Taiwan. Alone the road, I was thinking if it is proper for me to ride my bike on the road when I want to revisit Hualian or travel around the insland on my own. I realized it is not a good idea because I saw many big trucks dashing swiftly on the road. I have no confidence on my riding skill to tackle the traffic I had seen.


Compared with the Road No. 9, Suhua Road is more winding and dangerous. The zigzag road made one of my classmates have severe car sick. We pulled over to give her a break. When we were chatting on the shoulder, we saw amazingly beautiful rainbow hanging high above the ocean. That's really breathtaking.


I found that the picture doesn't show the rainbow well because of the light when I was posting it. Too bad. 我發現我拍的照片因為逆光的關係,沒有把這道彩虹拍得很清楚,真的是很可惜啊!

After enough rest, we continued our drive to Taroko.

When we were near the sign of Welcome to Taroko National Park, we saw two people lifting yellow strip and waiting for us to pass through. We didn't know what was happening. Few minutes later, we got a call from my classmate in another car. They were blocked because Suhau Raod was in reparation, and they were only allow to pass in one hour. We realized we just passed through the blocking line in time, but our other classmates didn't make it. And we had to wait for them for an hour. We didn't want to waste our time, so we decided to go to Qingshui Cliff. (Later, I found out that my classmates in another car also had great time near the entry of Taroko National Park in the same time.)



When we arrived at Qingshui Cliff, it was getting dark, but it was great that it didn't rain. We could take a pleasant walk along an abandoned road.


The ocean was clear and it had two kinds of blue. The water of the inner part near the cliff was milky-blue; the water of the outer side was light-blue. Beautiful!


I love QingShui Cliff very much. It is really spectacular. The cliff is main reason I want to visit the east coast of Taiwan. I would like to spend more time in this region. I have been thinking hiking in the region around Qingshui Cliff, but it seems not a good idea so far because of the traffic in the region. I wish the big trucks driving through the Suhau Road could get fewer and fewer and the place would become friendly for travelers.


I took picture of those two rocks was because the scenery was funny. The bigger rock in the right side resembles a terrier and the one in the left side is doggy poo. :D

我特別拍這張照片是因為我覺得這場景很好玩。照片裡右邊的石頭很像西莎狗 (蘇格蘭高地梗犬),然後左邊的小石頭是狗便便。XD

When we were talking a walk, one helicopter flew over us. It made high volume of noise which made me think of a movie-- Apocalypse Now directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The scene of the attack and the music-- Ride of the Valkyries--replayed in my mind. I had surreal feeling when I was taking picture of the helicopter.


Friday, December 28, 2007

2007-12-24-26 Yilan and Hualian 聖誕之旅:宜蘭與花蓮 PART I (蘇澳)

I am always keen to travel in east coast of Taiwan. About three weeks ago, I learned my classmates planed to travel in Yilan and Hualian. I knew it would be a good chance to carry out my idea of traveling in east coast; I invited myself to join them. I was lucky that we had no trouble to get an extra seat of cars, so I made it. We spent three days (from Dec. 24th to 26th) traveling in Yilan and Hualian. It was cold and raining in Taipei before the trip. I was worried of the bad weather and kept checking weather forecast for few days before the trip. When we were in Yilan and Hualian, it was overcast and sometimes rainy. Even though the weather wasn't perfect, it didn't undermine our travel and it was actually a wonderful trip.


Nine of us we in two cars left Taipei in the morning of 24th. We got on highway and passed though Xueshan Tunnel --12.9 kilometers, the second longest tunnel in Asia-- to Toucheng in Yilian within 1.5 hours. It takes fewer hours for travelers to get to Yilian than before. After we arrived Toucheng, we turned to Suao to pick up the tenth member and had our lunch in Suao harbor. We had really fresh seafood for lunch. After lunch, we headed to Taroko National Park.


While I took photos of our delicious seafood dishes, my classmates were busy eating up those dishes, so I decided not to take any photos of our meals. They never wait for me when it comes food. :D

I saw no fish boats sailing out nor harboring, only few old residents fixing broken fishing nets alone the port .

While we were in Suao, I saw a lot of fish boats resting alone the port. It seemed that Suao was a seaside city in deep sleep. It lacked the scenes of hustle and bustle. I suddenly had sad feeling; I can't help wondering what happened to the once busy and famous seaport of North Taiwan.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Posting Several Articles Today

I posted few articles today, which probably makes people think I have too much spare time even though I am a part-time graduate student and full-time employee. I only want to do something that makes me happy. I am stressed out actually because I have been working on several projects and I have been reading research references and I have to turn in reports and take exams in few weeks. I need to do something that helps me to release the stress.


I wrote those articles and I will translate them into English or rewrite them in English when I have more free time .


I found that my school provides online English article editing service. I think I can take the advantage of the system and send what I write for this blog to them so I can improve my English. It's probably a good learning-process. And it also makes me happy becaue I like to learn English. :)


2007-12-22 ZhiShan Yan 芝山嚴 (惠濟宮)

After lunch and drinking, it was about 2 p.m., but I still wanted to stay outdoor so I decided to take a walk in Zhishan Yan. Because of my injured knee and ankle, I walked in very slow pace in the woods. According to online articles, ususally it takes 30 to 40 minutes to finish the route, but I spent almost 2 hours finishing the route.


But I think it could really take visitors 2 to 3 hours to walk there if they spend more time on observing and investigating historic and geological traces in Zhishan Yan. Zhishan Yan has profound historical events and insteresting natural environment, and there are clear information boards along the path. Visitors can learn a lot by taking a walk there. It is fantastic.


I took a lot of pictures of inforamtion for the plants and geological features there. My flikcr account has limit so I haven't uploaded those pictures. They include many plants' names and explaination of Zhishan Yan's geological features. I would make a special reports of plants or geology of Taiwan when I have more free time.


I can write my religious journey in Zhishan Yan, I feel it's quite interesting. In Zhishan Yan, there is a temple, Huiji Gong. I learned few things by visiting the temple.


Huiji Gong is a temple which combines Taoism and Buddhism, followers worship gods from those two religions. I think what Mingde has said is quite accuate. The temple is some kind of department store that followers only have to visit a temple and they can worship many gods and ask for many things in one stop, some kind of one-stop-shopping.


When I was checking the above picture, I found every decoration has a little statue on it, and every statue represents different characters in mythological stories. It would cost tremendous effort and be a time-consuming job if someone count how many statue in the temple and find out every statue's identity.
















2007-12-22 Lunch Party After Hiking Gilian Shan 午餐的約會

It was pretty nice to get together in Zhiching's new store. Undergraduates and graduates from different classes arrived one by one without any arrangement in advance; we showed up together coincidentally. The funny part was the gifts that every one presented were all alcohol. Is it the tradition of our department? :D
Well, the array of alcohol bottles was pretty impressive. We opened most of the bottles and had a great party in his store.


The party became alumni reunion. A get-together of psychology majors is all about research, thesis, interaction with instructive professors.


Mingde's thesis is about two-timers so I kept calling him the master of two-timer. Junxian was misled and thought Mingde was a two-timer. And we started talking about how to design questionnaire to investigate the psychology of two-timers, how to find two-timers as subjects and how to interview them. Junxian and I shared our research insterests and subjects of our thesis. I was interested in the nueropsychological results of visual perception span and working memory capacity that he brought up, and we dicussed the possiblity to their application to cognitive trainings for the elders. He gave me some information about the psychology of aging in Taiwan. That was great!


When we were exchanging ideas about study of aging, professor Liu asked me what the problems with the elders were. I quickly told her my ideas of the application to train the elders' working memory and didn't realize the possible meaning behind her question on the spot. I think professor Liu thinks I would do research in the fields of social psychology or family study on basis of the qualitative approach. But actually I had had discussions with professor Wang that I would do experimental research. I think my decision must surprise most professors in our department, well...and I haven't had time to have dicussion with professor Liu.


I think she must have some thoughts when she learned I would do research with professor Wang. I think it's necessary to talk with her when we have time.


I took the picture in the store, and I like it pretty much. It looks like the neurons' activation spreading out from thalamus.

2007-12-22 QiLiAn Shan 唭哩岸山

I had planed to go hiking in Jiajiuliao. I met Ruoyu and Mingde on MSA and decided to meet in Zhiching's newly open store to have lunch together. I thought if I go hiking in Jiajiuliao, I wouldn't be there in time, so I thought I could go hiking in Shilin region before our lunch meeting, then I decided to go hiking in Junjian Yan.


I read some Junjian Yan's introuduction online and learned that the trail is actually concrete steps, very easy, and its length is only 500 meters. One of its entries is in Yangming university. I had took a course: professor Hong's Neruopsychology in Yangming university before, I thought I wouldn't get lost, and Junjian Yan hiking trail is an easy one, so I wore sneakers and skirt for the hike, and it turned out to be a disaster.


Well, I was to confident that I wouldn't get lost, but I did. I still had to stop to ask for directin from passerby.


After I arrived Yangming university, the quest for hiking trail's entry became easier. Along Zhenzhi road on compus, there were clear direction signs leading hikers to the entry. I found it easily.



Beautiful red fruits grew alone two sides of the trail. I found out that actually the red fruits were parasitical plants which grew over other plants. Its vines seemed very aggressive and could easily strangulate other plants.


Before I reached the peak of Junjian Yan, I saw an impressive scenery. I am curious what the place was and how to get there because I didn't read anything about it. And I also felt it seemed more interesting than the concret steps. I walked to the edge of hiking trail and asked a lady in the hill across me few questions.


The lady told me how to reach where she was, so I turned to a branch trail leading to Zhaoming temple. The surface of the trail was dirt and rocky; it was more interesting for me.

To the point, my journey of getting me knees hurt unfolded. The trail was rocky but it was cover a thin layer of sand because of weathering. It's slippery. I didn't wear my hiking shoes and I wore skirt, so it was difficult for me to walk on the trail. It turned out that I strained my right knee and ankle, I barely moved for a long time, I only could sit on trail. After some rests, I struggled to walk back to Yangming compus. I got hurt because of the trail, but the trail was nicer than concrete steps and it had many colorful layers.


I found out it is Gilian Shan after I reached its peak. 直到山頂後,我才看到一個標誌標記「唭哩岸山」。

A distant look of Junjian Yan from Gilian Shan. 從唭哩岸山遠望軍艦岩。

Because of the painful knee, I eventually gave up the last 200-meter walk to the peak of Junjian Yan. I managed to walk back to Yangming compus and went to Zhiching's newly open store directly. On the way to the store, I was thinking what I could do to protect my knee and ankle because I would go hiking in Erge Shan tomorrow.

Harold and Maude(1971)

I started wrting stories about movies so I like to another story about a movie that I have been thinking of recently. Harold and Maude, another movie that I don't know its Chinese title. I don't know why I like movies made in 70's pretty much.

開始寫關於電影的故事,那就順便寫另一部我最近在回想的電影:「Harold and Maude」,又是一部比我老,然後我又不知道中文片名的電影。不知為何,我其實很喜歡70年代的電影。

The subject of my thesis is about age and emotional memeory, which means I wouldn't be able to graduate from school in two years because elder subjects are difficult to find. I have started reading relevent research references. One theory I have read is Socioemotional Selectivity Theory which proposes some processess to explain the difference of emotion regulation between young people and elder people. I am not satisfied with its explanation, but I am not going to discuss it in this article; it would come up soon. I thought over some problems generated from the theory few days ago when I was riding home from Fu Jen university. Harold and Maude suddenly jumped into my thought.

我論文的主題大致已經確定要進行關於老化與情緒記憶的研究。(這也注定我應該是兩年畢不了業,因為老人受試非常難找。)我開始在閱讀相關的研究文獻,其中有一個理論:「Socioemotional Selectivity Theory」,試著要解釋年輕人與老人在emotion regulation不同的機制為何。我非常的不滿意這個理論的解釋。細節先不多談,以後還有機會。有次從輔大回家時,騎著我的摩托車,思考著這個理論的問題,「Harold and Maude」這部電影突然跳進思緒中。

Harold and Maude is a love story of an eighty-year-old lady and an eighteen-year-old young man. Maude, an eccentric eighty-year-old lady, explores every possibility of life and enriches her own life, and she freely put the period in her life story. Harold, an eighteen-year-old young man in boredom, has rich and sufficient family environment, but he lacks passion for his own life. This couple's relationship is difficult for viewers to understand.Their relationship, their thoughts and their doings are challenges for the audience's value system. The plot is predictable, Harold has change because of their relationships. Harold's value and attitude toward his life changed, but whether the audience change varies because of individual's difference.
「Harold and Maude」一個八十歲老人和十八歲年輕人之間的愛情故事。Maude,八十多歲的怪喀老婆婆,嘗試經驗人生的各種可能性,豐富自己的生命,最後很簡單灑脫的為自己劃下句點。Harold,覺得人生百無聊賴的年輕小伙子,即使擁有不虞匱乏的物質環境,但是卻對生命沒有熱情。這樣的組合,其實很霹靂,難以讓人接受。他們的關係,他們的所作所為,其實不斷的在挑戰觀影者的價值觀。當然,可以預期的是,在與Maude交往後,Harold的人生觀與態度有所轉變。觀影者是否有所改變,那就是修行在個人了。
The movie presents serious issues of life and death in pleasant way. I remember one scene of interaction and conversation between Harold and his psychiatrist was very funny. It seems that it's a tradition of western movies to mock upon the meanings of psychological therapies. I should find some time to make a list of the top 10 funniest scenes of mocking on psychological therapies.



After hiking in JunJian Yan and GiLiAn Shan, and having a lunch gathering in ZhiQin's newly open store, and strolling in ZhiShan Yan, I didn't feel like to go home rightaway so I went to QuangHua Market to check out if there are were released DVDs.


I went to my haunts and found many good movies were released on DVDs. Herzog's early movies were almost on DVDs, Kubrick's movies were rereleased on collection edition DVDs, and BBC's new minseires-Jane Erye-was available, and the most surprising thing was Deliverance was also available now. All I could think when I saw it was "Oh! My Goodness! I can't believe it, how come this movie was on collection edition DVD!"

到平常常去的的DVD專賣店裡閒逛,發現有很多新發行的好電影。荷索早期的電影幾乎都發行三區的DVD,庫伯力克的電影以收藏版重新發行,還有BBC新版的迷你影集「簡愛」,讓我驚訝的是,我竟然看到「激流四勇士」這部電影。 (我當下在腦海裡想著:我的媽呀!怎麼連這部電影都發行收藏版的DVD!)

"Ji Liu Si Yong Shi" is Deliverance's Chinese title which means "four warriors in the rapids," I didn't know this title and only knew its English title. I found out the Chinese title when I saw the DVD in DVD shop. This movie was released in the US in 1972. I don't know when it was released in Taiwan, but this title brings the sense of passionate patriotism to me. The Chinese title implied the sense--"counterattack the China to rescue our suffering counterparts." I think the title was given to in order to deal with government's strict censorship at the time when martial law was enforced. But acutally the story of Deliverance has nothing to do with warriors and patriotism.

「激流四勇士」,我原本不知道這部電影的中文片名,最早只知道電影英文片名是Deliverance。 在今天看到新發行的DVD後,才知道它的中文片名。這部電影是於1972年在美國上映,我不知道它何時在台灣上映,但是看到這片名「四勇士」讓我想起那種充滿愛國情操的憤慨之情,我猜想,大概是片商為應付電檢制度,特別取這種充滿「反攻大陸;解救受苦受難的同胞」的片名。這電影和「勇士」一點關係也沒有。

I can't remember the reason that made me see Deliverance; it seems that Eric and I talked about movies of 7o's and Deliverance was one among the movies we discussed. I thought it could be an interesting one so I bought the DVD and watched it. After I watched it, I realised it wasn't an interesting movie at all, but a triller that made viewers in depression.


The plot is about four friends decided to go camping in remote mountains during their vacation and to raft along rapid river down back to town so they can stay far away from their familyand enjoy natural life in the wild. In the isolated moutains, two of them were assulted by local hunters. During the chaotic fighting and resisstence, one of the hunters was killed and the other one fled. To this point, the story of hunting down the hunter in escape in the vicious moutains and dangerous unfolds. Their friendship gradually changed and their humanity and moral strongly conflict with their instinct for survival.


The movie actually is a good one; it has great narrative that develops tensity and suspicion, but after I watched because I felt really down. I thought I would never watch it again. And I felt I was traumatized. Every time I think of this kind of story set in the backdrop of remote moutains, I always feel scared, and sometimes I feel terrified without reasons when I go hiking alone.

這部電影其實是一部很好的電影,劇情敘說醞釀緊張懸疑的氣氛。但是看完之後,整個情緒沈到谷底。我心想著:我絕對不會再看第二次。 而且,心理好像有受到創傷,每次想到類似這種荒山野地的故事,都會感到分害怕。有時候一個人去爬山,會有種莫名的恐懼油然而生。

Robert once suggested I avoid going hiking alone in Wulai region. I could be in danger. Several scenes from Deliverance came into my mind immediately when he was giving the suggestions to me. This is not an interesting movie at all, but a movie that makes viewers horrified. I think it is the effect that the author and director want to bring out.


Spoiler Alert

The most impressive scene is that in the protagonist's dream, one hand holding the murder weapon--a hunting gun--emerging out of the surface of deep blue water. The image is still clear in my mind even though I watched it several years ago and never saw it again.


Off topic:


I once wondered why the scene is so similar to one scence from Excalibur--Excalibur raising from a lake. I googled some information about those two movies and found out that the movies were both directed by John Boorman. Same idea was used in two different movies. Arthurian stories are my favorite stories. But Excalibur directed by John Boorman was very dark that ruined my interest, so I will never see any movies directed by him.

我曾經想著,為什麼這一幕和Excalibur(另一部我不知道中文片名的影片)裡神劍Excalibur從湖中伸起的影像那麼雷同。稍微古狗一下,原來這兩部電影是同一個導演(John Boorman)執導。同樣的手法,嗯~用了兩次。而且還把我最喜歡的亞瑟王傳奇故事講得非常黑暗,完全弄壞我的胃口,從此之後,我再也不看John Boorman的電影。

Friday, December 21, 2007

200712-21 The Little Lion's Head Mountain 小獅頭山

The Little Lion's Head Mountain (XiaoShiTou Shan) is located in Xindain whose several entries are on WenZhong Road and ZhongXin Road. It only takes hikers 5-10 mintues to get to its entries on WenZhong Road. Its most noticeable entry is right next to NengRen school.


I like the Little Lion's Head Mountain pretty much. It has two favorite kinds of trails: dirt road and wooden stairs. Compared with some hiking trails' concrete stairs, it's more comfortable for me. And in the Little Lion's Head Mountain, many different kinds of flowers blossom in all seasons, many beautiful birds perch in the woods and cute squirrels sometimes reveal themself to hikers. At the second and third peak, hikers can enjoy really great scenic views, they can see AnKeng, QingTan and Bitan regions. The only drawback is the traffic noise from the foot of the mountain sometimes disturbing the sound of the nature.


The flower was common in my neighborhood when I was a kid, but I hadn't seen it for years. I saw it on the trail this morning and it was not just one plant but several plants of it. The flowers hanging down from branches formed beautiful decorations which resembles red and orange lanterns.


I finally took some decent photos of wild birds. This picture is a little bit out of focus, but it's not bad as I am a green photographer. I realised it's very difficult to take photos of wild birds. I could only hear them at very beginning but couldn't see them. I tried hard to locate them and when I found them and tried to adjust my lens, they flew to other branches or even dissapeared.


Compared with old Bitan Bridge 20 years ago, today's bridge is uglier.

The upper photo was taken with Nikon E2500, and I took photo of similar feature with Olympus SP-500UZ this morning. The new one is much better.

第一張照片是我用Nikon E2500拍的,同樣的主題,我用新的Olympus SP-500UZ拍攝,效果好很多。

The upper photo was taken with Nikon E2500, and I took photo of similar view with Olympus SP-500UZ this morning. Its background and distant view of mountains are much better.
第一張照片同樣是用Nikon E2500拍攝,和後面這張比起來,畫質和遠景都清楚很多。
I started learning functions and operation of my new camera, I haven't learned much of them and I awkwardly used it. I accidentally dropped it this morning, and I was lucky because I didn't cause any damage to it. I think need more practice, maybe a hike in JiaoJiuLiao tomorrow will do more help. :)
我才剛開始使用新的相機,有很多功能不知道怎麼使用,而且很笨拙地使用,不小心把新相機狠狠地摔了一下。心痛的要死。還好,看樣子相機沒啥大礙。還需要多加練習啊!明天來去走加九寮步道好了! 我給新相機搭配一張2G的記憶卡,隨手一拍,就是兩百多張照片,果然,用起來很爽快。
I uploaded some test shots I took during today's outing to my Flickr. If anyone is interested in them, please visit
P.S. I didn't upload too many pictures because it took too much time. XD
我還放一些照片在我的Flickr,有興趣的話,可以去看看。P.S. 我沒有放很多喔~因為上傳照片實在太花時間啦! XD

Impractical Ideas

I want to go hiking with books: the Most Common Birds of Taiwan, the Most Common Plants of Taiwan, the Most Common Trees of Taiwan. I want to learn more about Taiwanese flora and fauna. But the idea is impractical because those books are too heavy and bulky to carry around.
Taking pictures is capturing images of the nature. Painting is capturing images from mind. I want to paint beautiful landscape and woods when I go hiking. I know painting gears are heavy, too. It's another impractical idea of mine.

Olympus SP-550UZ

After I did some research online, browsed several forums and considered my budget and various functions of digital cameras, I decided to buy an Olympus SP-550UZ.

I went to eWhat (The most famous bootlegged-camera store in Taiwan) to pick up the camera with my classmate, YiZhong, after the class of Family Psychology last night.

We were at eWhat and a serviceperson showed us the camera, and we could test functions the camera before we made the deal. YiZhong taught me its functions and how to operate it to take test shots. I took several pictures in different modes and people could easily tell that I was an inexperienced buyer because I awkwardly operated it. The serviceperson knew well that he didn't need to persuade me to buy it because my happy face was saying: "I want to buy it! I want to buy it!"

After buying the digital camera, YiZhong gave me basic lessons of photography. I went home happily with my brand-new digital camera. I decided to take more test shots to learn more of its functions. I thought I would go hiking in XiaoShiTou Shan next day.

The abovementioned experience is what happened to me last night.

I came back from XiaoShiTou Shan and just got in my office. I will upload my test shots to my Flickr and post the comparisons of photos taken by my old Nikon E2500 and new Olympus SP-550UZ. I will post introduce of my backyard garden: XiaoShiTou Shan. : )

P.S. Oops! My right ankle is aching; the old injure is really troublesome.

在事前做些功課,瀏覽各大討論區,考量預算和功能後,決定要買Olympus SP-550UZ這款數位相機,和學弟一中約好在昨天晚上上完家庭心理學後,到億華(全台知名攝影器材水貨商)買這款機型。




現在,我剛剛從小獅頭山回來,進了辦公室。晚些回家之後,我再把測試照片上傳到我的Flickr和這個部落格,可以比較一下我先前的Nikon E2500和這款Olympus SP-550UZ有何不同,並且可以再次介紹我的後花園:小獅頭山。


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

2007-12-15 TongHou Hiking Trail 桶后越嶺 (END)

We finally arrived at the direction sign of TongHou Hiking Trail. The distance between the sign and the entry of the trail was about 2 kilometers. We planed to drive to its entry, but we found out that the mountain road to its entry was too muddy and steep so that it was really difficult for us to drive there. We decided to leave car and hiked to the trailhead.

After finishing the 2-kilometer walk, we arrived at the entry of TongHou Hiking Trail and finally we stepped on the TRAIL. We couldn't finished hiking because it was getting dark. We got to a branch road to XiaoJiaoXi Shan, and then we decided to walk back to our car.

We left the trail and went to Daxi to meet Trail_Hacker and had our seafood feast.

Trail_Hacker has profound knowledge of trails in Taiwan and Daxi Fish Market as well so he chose fresh seafood and bargained with a seafood restaurant serviceperson for us. He picked a really fresh JianYu (Bonito) for us and asked the serviceperson made it into three different kinds of dishes. We had steamed fish, sashimi and nice soup. And Trail_Hacker shared a lot of information about hiking with us when we had dinner. We had super nice seafood feast and pleasant conversation during our dinner which made my fatigue go away. It was a very nice day.





The trailhead of TongHou Hiking Trail.

The road to the trailhead was really nice because of the cold and fresh air and misty scenery. I felt like to lie down on the bushes alongside the road, to blend myself with the nature and to enjoy solitude and serenity.


The misty scenery had me embraced by some kind of mysterious atmosphere. It made me remember one thing. I often dreamed of one scene when I was eleven and twelve. The scene was that I was in fears and lost in a fog which I barely see things. I walked alone and tried to look for my parents. I didn't know why I often dream of it. I talked about the dream with my sister. She laughed at me and told me that we travel ed in Ali Shan with our parents when we were little kids. I got lost on the way to see sunrise in Ali Shan and all grownups tried to find me all the way. I really didn't remember this event but the dream went away after my sister explained it to me.

I talked about it with Eric. He smiled and said: "Freud got his theories right!" Well, I am never a follower of psychoanalysis, but I agreed with Eric. Mr. Freud possibly had his theories based on something beyond my understanding.



The bonito we had in our dinner. It was made into three dishes: steamed fish, Sashimi and fish soup.

The Sashimi we had; Half amount of the dish had been eaten up.

Steamed fish, Very delicious!

2007-12-15 TongHou Hiking Trail 桶后越嶺 (PART IV)

I don't want to study even though I really have to. It seems that every graduate student commonly goes through some sort of escapism. I planed to go hiking in Xiao Shi Shan near where I live. While I was packing my bag, it started raining. I only could sit back in front of my desk and continue my story of TongHou Hiking.

We spent almost 5 hours on finding the trial head, we gradually felt tired and an idea of giving up the trail merged. At last, we decided to go hiking in PaoMa Hiking Trail, so we turned to the road to PaoMa. We passed by a sign which indicated we were in LongTan of YiLan. We had turned to Trail_Hacker for direction of the trailhead around lunch time. He told us it was near somewhere in LongTan. When we saw the sign, the idea of looking for TongHou came back to mind. We wanted to give it a try, so our quest of TongHou Hiking Trail continued.

We saw a police station on the road, and I came to it for direction. Two police officers were in the office. They tried to figure out what TongHou meant when I asked them few questions. It seemed that they didn't know the name of the hiking trail so I tried to explain its route to them. One of them realized what I meant and told me he knew the trailhead's exact location. A hope arose. The policeman checked my outfit and started persuading me not to go hiking there. He told me it was getting dark so I definitely couldn't make it in time. The trail was dangerous that many hikers get lost in the mountains. He said he often has to go there to rescue hikers. He just went there a week before and he himself also fell during the mission. As he was talking, he turned his back to me as if he wanted to show me where he got injured. (I was thinking in mind: "Sir! I really don't want to see your butt.")

Anyway, I got the information that the entry of TongHou was in XiaoJiaoXi. We only had to go straight down the road and turned right when we saw a TuJiCheng (chicken restaurant.) And soon we would see the entry.

We finally got the clearest direction for the locals, We were (I was) happy because soon we would arrive at the trailhead. But we had a wrong turn before the TuJiCheng. We spent extra time to go back on the right track. About 2 or 3 o'clock in the afternoon, we finally see the direction sign of TongHou Hiking Trail.






I was extremely happy to see the direction sign and gave it a big hug in enormous joy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

2007-12-15 TongHou Hiking Trail 桶后越嶺 (PART III)

I met Azic online and we talked about our recent events over MSN, discussed some possible plans to go hiking on Sunday and talked about my blog. I have been busy in these two days because my workload has been increased dramatically. I haven't finished the story of TongHou Hiking yet. I should work on my projects and readings, but because of the conversation with him and the finding that my memory about the hike is decaying, I decided to continue the story.

We turned to locals of YiLan for direction so I had some conversations and interactions with people of YiLan. I felt their temperaments were really different people of Taipei City. I can't find precise phrases to describe them. I feel it seems that I took a time-machine to go back to Taipei in 80's. I think the feelings I had when I talked to the locals are like talking to my neighbors when I was a child. They were simple, nice and friendly.

I went to a square in front of a house and asked few people for direction. There were several people sitting outdoor and chatting, and one old man was scooping TangYuan. I asked them the direction of TongHou Hiking Trail, but none of them knew where it was. They were nice and started giving me suggestions about good tourism spot in the region, and they introduced LinMeiShiPan Hiking Trail and PaoMa Hiking Trail to me. I found out that the house was actually a temple and they were having JianJiao which the temple provided free food to followers and passersby. The old man hospitably invited me to join them and wanted me to have some TangYuan with them. I was really hungry and wanted to eat TongYuan, and I wanted to join them and to chat with them. But Robert and Chris were waiting for me to report back the situation. I shouldn't enjoy the feast alone. I only had to walk back to our car and told them what had happened to me.

When I talked to those people, I had to speak Taiwanese. I could only have some short and simple conversation with them. I found my Taiwanese had become really rusty, it was even worse than my English. I still remember I could interview my subjects in Taiwanese few years ago. What happened to my Taiwanese?





Monday, December 17, 2007

2008 New Year Resolution/2008 新年新希望

2008 New Year Resolution

I browsed other Taiwanese blogs and figured out that there are three national hiking trails in Wulai. They are TongHou Hiking Trail, BaFu Hiking Trail and HaPen Hiking Trail.

I hope I can complete hiking those three beautiful trails in 2008.

桶后越嶺 TongHou Hiking Trail

巴福越嶺 BaFu Hiking Trail

哈盆越嶺 HaPen Hiking Trail

Sunday, December 16, 2007

2007-12-15 TongHou Hiking Trail 桶后越嶺 (PART II)

The story so far still tells the quest of the entry of TongHou Hiking Trail. Those photos were taken during our lost on the road.


I think we wouldn't be able to enjoy those special idyllic landscape and beautiful mountains and lake if we didn't try and go through some possible routes. It's too bad that my camera is good enough and, in the meanwhile, the weather was misty. I couldn't take pictures that truely reveal the beauty that I saw during the trip.

我想,如果我們沒有走過可種可能的路徑,我們是沒有機會看到這些特別的鄉村風光和山水景致。 只可惜我的相機鏡頭不夠好,同時天氣是霧茫茫的,水氣很重,所以我的照片無法完整呈現我在旅途中所眼見的美麗風光。

I especially like the picture of the flower. I often saw this kind of unknown flowers when I was a child, but nowadays, it is hard to find in urban areas.

The flower solely grows out from a patch of gravel, not the soil of the grassy field, which brings feelings of unyieldingness and loneliness to me. It is seemingly close and seemingly distant from the field of weeds, independent from the rest of the world. I like the scene very much because it projects my awareness of my existence.



2007-12-15 TongHou Hiking Trail 桶后越嶺 (PART I)

Hiking Club planed to hike TongHou Hiking Trail yesterday. Taiwanese hikers usually start the trip in Wulai, but we started it in JiaoXi of YiLan. We, Robert, Chris and I departed from Muzha, went through XueShan Tunnel and arrived TouCheng of YiLan. After we reached JiaoXi, The quest of the entry of TongHou Hiking Trail unfolded.

We didn't know the exact location of TongHou Hiking Trail's entry. We asked for directions from locals; we explored some possible roads. We sometimes had hopes for some possible routes and sometimes we were (or I was) frustrated by the wrong turns. We passed by WuCiFeng Waterfall and PaoMa Hiking Trail, and we even reached the entry of FuShan Nature Preverse where I am keen to visit, but we still couldn't find the right road to TongHou Hiking Trail.

Without clear guidance and certain direction, learning from exploration and discovering new meaning on the road are superb and profound experiences for me. (But I feel sorry that Robert spent most of his time driving and it was tiring for him)

與山友計畫在昨日走桶后越嶺,和常例不同的是,一般台灣登山客都是從烏來出發,我們則是從宜蘭礁溪開始。 我們一行人(Robert,Chris和我)從木柵出發,經雪山隧道,很快地抵達宜蘭頭城然後轉至礁溪。在抵達礁溪之後,開始我們的尋尋覓覓之旅。



Hiking Club:三缺一
Hiking Club: One Out Of Three

Robert and Chris, two of three key figures of Hiking Club; Peter couldn't join us because of his back pain problem.
Robert 和 Chris, Hiking Club的兩位核心人物,Peter因為背傷的關係,無法參加這次的郊山活動。

They were busy taking pictures of high-density Taiwanese cemetary, I was taking pictures of their concentration on the views of the cemetary. I was amazed by their interest in Taiwanse style graveyards.