Saturday, December 29, 2012


So this blog survived the apocalypse. Boo the Mayans!

But we're approaching the end of another year. In the midst of more (economic) uncertainty, I hope 2013 will be a better year for all of us.

The world is pretty much border-less already. At least for money anyway. Goods are still subject to few restrictions and duties, but you can get pretty much anything from anywhere nowadays. Unless you are importing bombs or some radioactive materials.
As the world become borderless, so is the government control over its subject. One who does not like one's government's rules and regulations can simply go somewhere else. Just like FBs Saverin, and a few other billionaires who moved to Singapore, or the French who move to London because of Hollande's tax policy.
The same can be said in economic and monetary sector, the world is so closely connected and linked today that every individual government's policy will eventually affect the other nation, whether they like it or not.

Beneficial policy (at least for the taxpayer) like low tax rates in Ireland and Singapore, attracts talents and corporation. Countries who wants advance their ranks therefore have to compete by issuing even better policy. And this is a good thing for the global citizen.
On the flip side, this global competition have side effects, for instance, with the Fed pumping money into the economy, they have effectively exporting inflation to other countries. Some analyst worried that this will spark currency wars.

I will end my ramblings for now. Two posts in a day is a bit too much, and on Saturday even!

New Year List

I have a few list for 2013. I think the first is my wish list
- a Kindle paper white perhaps
- the legendary Nikkor 70-200 VRII
- a travel trip to Japan / Europe / New Zealand / America
and lastly.. maybe a steady stream of income, or a job.. without which all of the above would be unaffordable (browser spell checker suggest that the word is non-existent.. seriously?!).
But I have learnt that I have been very privileged to live in this life. We have to put our self in perspective, looking at those who is less fortunate, and learn from the history.

I just bought free books (is there such paradox?) from Amazon Kindle store for new year's reading (although I suspect some of the books can go as far as the next new year)


Its quite odd that some of the books have actually changed price during this writing, which is just an hour afterwards, so be warned, and grab the free or bargain books while you can (not necessarily the above).

Another list I which passed my mind is of course, the usual goal and resolutions..
but I'm not putting myself on burden this time.. well.. at least not today. I do have TWO days left.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


The only constant is change
- Heraclitus, 500 B.C.

People always resist change and try to cling to what feels familiar to them. Reading about European painters in the 19th century, a lot of them were inspired by those changes. The industrial revolution and Franco-Prussian war that took place around that time was causing uneasyness to everyone, including the artists.
The truth is, everything changes all the time, even now, maybe even more so. This century witnessed man on the moon, the advent of the internet, computers, airplanes. People need the familiar, something that they can hang on to. But the reality is that things change faster nowadays, with the inventions and technology around us. Those who don't keep up will be left in the dust.

Actually I wanted to write something else, but never did. And just yesterday I attended a seminar about Christian youth at my church. It was talking about how they are radically different from the previous generation. And this is partly caused by the pace of change around them. A very insightful revelation. The seminar is largely influenced by the latest David Kinnaman's book, titled You Lost Me, which I'm reading right now.

PS: this post is written on Blogger app on iPad, which is long overdue..finally ;)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Some are like water, some are like the heat
Some are a melody and some are the beat
Sooner or later they all will be gone
Why don't they stay young
It's so hard to get old without a cause
I don't want to perish like a fading horse
Youth is like diamonds in the sun
And diamonds are forever
So many adventures couldn't happen today
So many songs we forgot to play
So many dreams are swinging out of the blue
We let them come true

Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever

Forever Young - Alphaville

There are so many things a person can do, and could never do in their lifetime. I always wonder why people run out of things to do. I personally need more than 24 hours in a day. There are so much to learn, to read, to do, places to visit. The thought that you can learn about everything in this world is both ridiculous and arrogant.

Meanwhile, I want to share a good testimony from the late dr. Richard Teo

Five years is long enough to call a place home.. sometimes I just miss it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I finally found a vague familiarity in this city, after a few back and forth in several months. I love cities that are still pulsating in late night, Paris, London... and now this city. But without close friends and relatives, I won't make it here. Not mentioning the bad management at work. It seems that nothing is moving in the last four months.
As my impending return gets closer, I do feel some anxiety.... for the unknown.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Random fact #278

Do you know my blog is visited by a porn site?
Out of curiosity, I click the link to my visitor's page. In office no less.
Prices of a cup of coffee and french fries at a local coffee shop, $1.30 and $2.80 respectively.
I thought 2.80 is a ridiculous price for a small plate of fries. So this time I tried McDonalds, I remember they sell fries for only $1.50. The price for coffee there? $2.60

I swear there is a price-fixing practice at play here. Maybe I should write something to our beloved lawmakers?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Enjoying Things

The present generation, at least from Gen X (interestingly, the term coined by Robert Capa, co-founder of Magnum Photos) onwards, suffers from lack of concentration and short attention span. Thanks to the various electronic gadgets like radio, TV, iPod, iPad, and the advent of internet.People tend to multi task, thus dividing their concentration to several things at the same time.

I have this bad habit of eating and doing something else.. usually reading, be it a comic book, newspaper, or a magazine. The drawback of course, is that I cannot fully appreciate the taste of my food. Although, in my defence, its not haute cuisine either (sorry mom).

I thought about writing this post when reading Petite Anglaise's blog posts regarding food. Its dormant now but the archives are there and its highly entertaining especially if you have nothing to do in office. Hopefully I won't get dooced.. which is highly unlikely since I have tendered my resignation last month.. hee hee
The blog world seems to be much more colourful back then, before the advent of facebook, which some female teenagers mistook for a diary of their lives. But honestly, who ever wrote 'I'm in the toilet' or 'I'm going to sleep' in their diary?

Back to the topic, I think the French had it right, the take their food very seriously. They even stare at people eating their food in the streets. Good thing I didn't do that while I was in Paris. The French sit and enjoy their food properly and slowly, they only take proper meals, and don't like to eat snacks in between.
In the years of living abroad, I get to taste some of the better food available, albeit for a price. Don't worry, I still have my arms and legs. I have come to appreciate the taste of pork soup ramen (tonkotsu), local fish soup (yes.. fish! believe it or not), and the delight of a cod sushi, and occasional Subway sandwich.

To some extent... I cannot fully enjoy a beautiful scenery when I'm with a gorgeous girl for example (or vice versa, in case some gorgeous girl reading this post gets offended, I wouldn't want that would I?). And also, enjoying music or radio when I'm doing something else (internet browsing, photo editing, book reading etc) which requires some level of concentration, so now I just turn off the music.

Monday, August 06, 2012

In an attempt to divert my thoughts from life, work, and relationship.. I shall write a post now.. LoL
I've been into printing in the recent year, trying at least to print a picture each week. And these past view days I have reviewed Vivian Maier's work one more time, and somehow I have come to appreciate it more than before. I suspect I will have the same experience flipping the other photobook in my collection. It just dawned on me what makes them special. I will try to achieve that look in the future prints. Or maybe its just this :
Vivian Maier represents an extreme instance of posthumous discovery of someone who exists entirely in terms of what she saw. Not only was she entirely unknown to the photographic world, hardly anyone seemed to know that she even took photographs. While this seems unfortunate, perhaps even cruel-a symptom or side effect of the fact that she never married or had children, and apparently had no close fiends-it also says something about the unknowable potential of all human beings. As Wislawa Szymborska writes of Homer in her poem "Census" :"No one knows what he does in his spare time."
- Geoff Dyer

Anyway.. for someone who has experiencing the bankruptcy of several of my favorites food stall, I now made the effort to legally buy whichever software I find really useful. Granted that Microsoft and Adobe might not be that vulnerable now, but lets say its better to take... some precautions. Just sayin..

Saturday, August 04, 2012

The Photographer's Paradox

Why are there good scenes when I don't bring my camera,
and none when I have it with me... :-I

Friday, July 27, 2012

My place to go list:
- Europe : French rural area, Italy, especially Tuscany and Lake Como area. Switzerland, and the eastern Europe.. Greece.. um.. well.. basically the whole Europe
- Japan : Osaka, Kyoto, Shirakawa, Tokyo and the Hokkaido
- America : national parks like Yosemite, Zion and Yellowstone
- China : exotic remote places

And it will be nice to have friends to go along.. although for some places they'd be a lil bit older when I finish taking pictures..

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The 90/10 Rule

I have tons of photos right now in digital form, some 200 GigaBytes from around 20.000 pictures to be precise.
Some photographer throw 90% of their pictures and only keep what they deem as 'keepers'. But I see them as a documentary of my life's journey, it also serves as a journal for my photographic achievement and skill. And occasionally, one boring looking photograph can be turned into a stunning classic black and white, you'll never know.

Technological progress (like Lightroom 4!) also can salvage what you thought as bad picture into a beautiful one. Not necessarily because of bad technique or lack of skill, but often the limitation of our equipment and situation. Like this one.. I shoot with lens hood on, with reasonable aperture, and it still suffers from fringing at the corners. I am (or rather LR) still unable to fully correct the fringing, but man.. the colors and shadow details are stunning!

PS: and I shoot... RAW(R)!

Friday, June 15, 2012


Its funny when I now look at old pictures that I thought was good back then... suddenly its not that great anymore. I guess as we become more experienced and have more refined artistic sense.. the old pictures just don't cut it anymore.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Ok so the bomb is dropped. I have to relocate for work, otherwise my boss will let me go.
Well, in a way, its a good thing because I need to move forward with my life.
I've been stuck for quite a long time in my current job. I see no advancement nor work satisfaction in terms of meaningful achievement. In other words, I just work for money, and my boss' money. I don't feel like I have helped anyone in a meaningful way.
Now I have a chance to do real work again, meet new challenges. I have a lot of options in front of me, but I can say that I'm a bit afraid. And uncomfortable with the changes that lies ahead of me.

Anyway, in this slow and boring weekend with nothing to do, I'm kind of in the middle of two good books.

End This NOW! Quiet

Who knows economist is so important. Since my college days, I thought that economist does nothing but talking and promoting their opinions. Which.. sort of true in a way. What I didn't realize is that how much impact they make on peoples' life when some world leaders or monetary authority listen to them. (PS: I went to the Economics faculty myself, being an accountant by education.)

The second book is about introverts, their traits, and how to use their "power". The author thinks that the world tends to be 'extroverted'.. or in favour for extroverts. I've read only the opening chapters.. but its a very interesting one.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Today I found this on Google search page
which reminds me I have a book about Doisneau coming this week.
And while reorganizing my room, I found my Chinese class handout, which has finished last week. That means six months have passed. I remember the first day in class like it was yesterday... man.. time flies. *sigh*

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wonderful World (Be an Optimist)

My watch just arrived this week. I love it to bits! The design is not exceptional.. but the workmanship is. It has a rectangular case with classic roman numerals.The dial have subtle sunray brush pattern with guilloché on the center. Just lovely!

Sure the world is not in a good condition now, I read it every morning in the news... But has it ever been in a good condition, really?  I don't think so.

So we should enjoy life and not take it too seriously. Sure a little planning would help a lot, but over thinking is not (well.. your mileage may vary).

I printed few of my pictures from Europe trip over the long weekend. Honestly I'm a little bit disappointed with Harman Gloss Baryta papers. Its a waay cheaper alternative (at least locally) from Ilford Gold Fibre Silk, but the paper has major flaking problem.

Its printed using QuadTone RIP. I haven't tried the Epson ABW mode for comparison.

The good news is that I'm now free on weekends to do photography, most probably street photography. Also eyeing on a messenger bag for more convenient walk around. =)

PS: I know its late.. but... HAPPY EASTER!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Book Lust

I just found another online bookstore, The Book Depository.

I bought this for $12.. not bad.. Amazon price is $10.. before shipping.

They even ship to Asia for free!
Well.. after some research.. it turns out that they were acquired by Amazon just recently.
Anyway.. as long as the customer (me) gets the benefit..... *shrug*

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Lightroom.. and The Age of the Internet

Well.. if you haven't notice what age this is.. I welcome you.
Yesterday, Adobe has release Lightroom 4, its workflow and photo editing software.
Its been highly anticipated by the photo community, including me, who have tried the beta version.
I find the image rendering improvement alone is a significant factor to upgrade from my current LR3.
However... there is just one problem... pricing. Adobe decided to charge international customers more than its US buyers. This pisses a lot of people, moi included. I mean.. what were they thinking ? Do they think we are stupid? Adobe has bright developers, but clearly its management/marketing is not. I don't know what game they are playing, especially after the Photoshop upgrade fiasco. I think they could be the next Kodak.

Recently, I went to the local watch retailer and ask about a model that I fancy. Its quite expensive, so I went home and think about it. Then I browse around and I found the model on Amazon for almost a grand less. Unbelievable! Guess which one I bought from?

Friday, January 20, 2012


Kodak has filed for bankruptcy protection. From what I've read all over the internet, employees and management consultants gives similar explanation, that they brought it upon themselves. I don't deny that they have great products, but that alone won't make them successful forever. They need to take care about other things like marketing, customer relationship, etc.
Its sad to see their decline, but I really think technology will eventually fills in the gap that film left. I think the only thing that digital have to catch up is the highlight roll off. Many people talking about film color rendering, but with a good color profiling, that should be no problem. That being said, the best time to live is now, its time to move on.
Or watch a movie.. Midnight in Paris, starring Owen Wilson. :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Printing Experience

So.. after just a few prints I notice that my ink cartridges are almost empty!

I search the web for explanation for some time. Eventually I stumble into this on a third party ink website.

The easiest method to install Piezography inks on the R3000 is by installing them into the printer as it's first set of inks. The reason for this is that when the R3000 is first turned on and ink cartridges are installed for the first time, the printer performs an ink initialization which pulls in about 15ml of ink from each cartridge into the ink dampers, the ink lines, and the print head. This is not much different than that of the Epson Pro 3880 - and this printer shares many of the same components.
Quite a shock.. but OK.. that explains it, so I can move on and sleep peacefully :) 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Exciting Year!

2012 might not be a good year for some people. Financial meltdown, job loss, and there's the 21st December.
But not so for the photographic world, even at the start of the year, we're seeing D4 from Nikon, X-Pro1 from Fuji, and Lightroom 4 beta from Adobe.
Lightroom 4 now include a book module, and reworked sliders. A little bit confusing at first. You have to decrease the black slider if you want darker tone.

X-Pro1 is a particularly exciting camera, given the promise of higher DR from Fuji EXR sensor technology. It could be that digital will be able to produce film look at last.

Well.. come to think of it, some people will get poorer this year. Man.. I'd better not make any budget related resolution this year.. LoL

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Back to work (or first post! (of 2012 :))

After a week of Christmas-New Year holiday I finally get back to work. I now practically have zero time for my personal muse. 

Two good books I recommend reading :

Who's in Charge?
Free Will and the Science of the Brain
Rational Optimist
by Matt Ridley
Rational Optimist
I've always been a pessimist, so naturally I have reservations about this book heheh. Early chapters of this book explains about the exchange of ideas, and later on, trade, which send me asleep. What can I say, I get bored easily, so I ventured to read other books, which brought me to the next book. Matt is sort of against the green movement, but given the facts, I think is justifiable. I must say this is a good book to start a year with optimistic outlook (hurry.. before 21st December LoL)

Who's in Charge
But after reading few chapters Mike's book, I can't help being fascinated on how our brain works and relate to Matt's explanation about how ideas exchange evolution. The fact that our brain consist of multiple processing centers working autonomously in parallel is rather amazing.

But as usual.. I haven't finish both books, and few others. So I'll write another time.

In other news, I got a new phone with my plan re-contract. Cost me $0, and it works great