Sunday, 27 September 2009

Getting sharp images

I recently learnt this useful tip on getting sharper images:

Note the focal length (zoom number), as a rule of thumb, the shutter speed should match the focal length ie. if I focus at 50mm, my shutter speed should be at 1/50 sec (which shows up at '50' on the display screen); if I focus at 100mm, my shutter speed should be at 1/100 sec and so on.

This has been very helpful in helping me going on to the Manual mode. I've never dared to try Manual as I always get too-dark, or blurry images, and it's discouraging when I see them. Now, I am able to utilise the Manual mode, albeit using it in a 'rule of thumb' manner.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Shocking realisation

I'm on MC today.

I woke up with a giddy head and voice-loss.

I decided to 'punish' my HOD with an MC. Knowing him, I figure he'll still send me to the same course some time in December or one of the holidays citing the reason 'You didn't complete the training the last time.'

Incidentally, he was the one who picked up my call this morning to receive my MC call-in.

It's crazy. Every time I want to take an MC, I would experience a deep struggle within myself,"Should I take an MC? Should I go to work?" I would weigh the pros and cons. I would think about the syllabus, the class, the work. Then, I would think about myself, and my own kids.

If work wins, it's because of the school kids.

If MC ever win, it's because of my own kids.

Last night, I had a nasty shock realising that Coco didn't do her weekend homework. I was so tired and disappointed I told Coco I felt like dying, as in killing myself. I knew it's not the most appropriate thing to say to a kid but that's exactly how I felt. I was so tired I kept tearing. I felt so disappointed with her, for lying to me that she had done her homework just so that she could go to Malaysia over the weekend. I was also disappointed with the fact that she doesn't seem to cherish being able to study in her school. I was all sold-out to put her in the school. I wake up every day at 5 am to prepare her for school. Her school skirts have these annoying pleats to be ironed. I travel all the way down to Bt Timah for Parent-Teacher session and other nonsense (okay, they are not nonsense).

I just felt so let-down and hurt. I've done all I could to give her my best, but she didn't reciprocate my hard work and all that I went through to put her in the school.

Day 5: Baby Boss City

We went to Baby Boss City at the recommendation of Coco's English teacher. Little did I know that it's supposed to be a one-day affair.

When I tried to buy tickets for Coco and myself, the counter girl told me that the whole day ticket allowed entry from 10 am to 6 pm. Alternatively, I could purchase tickets by the hour. I did my Maths and felt that it would come up to a few NT tens or hundreds difference, so I took the whole day package, fully knowing that we would just be in there for 1.5 h.

Theoretically, each job takes 30 mins to complete. When I went in, I was given this timetable on which the timing and venue for each occupation trial was stated. Much to my nasty surprise, Coco wanted to try being a cab driver.

We were told that Coco would need to go for a course and pass a theory test for driving, and after that, she would need to find two jobs so that she could earn an amount that allowed her to 'rent' a car and paid 'deposit' as insurance in case she bumped the car. I negotiated with one of the operators and she agreed to let Coco do just one job before she could drive the car.

There're tons of jobs to try out in there. The Centre aims to authenticate occupations for little kids from 3 to 14 years old. In my opinion, it's fun for kids aged 6 and below. Coco was just about the oldest there and she looked kinda grown-up in there, although she found it fun.

There she is, attending the driving course

The test was in conducted in Mandarin, with the formal version of Chinese characters. I had to explain to the person-in-charge that she was a tourist and couldn't read those characters before the lady started to explain to her verbally.

She got her driving license, but she didn't seem happy huh.
Her first job, a despatcher

The rules

Locating places

"You must be fast fast fast!"

Delivering parcels

Getting her pay

Finally, she got to drive

Her 3rd job, a policewoman

The kids were shown the prison cell

The aim sign outside the police station

She found her pistol

Some kids play-acting firemen

The lift to Baby Boss City

Day 4: Wu Lai

We took a bus up to Wu Lai, thinking that we could see Taiwanese natives, the Taiya aboriginals. We, or rather I, were sort of disappointed although none of them said so. We didn't get to see an aboriginal village as per se. I thought there would be some natives dressed in aboriginal costumes, doing their stuff, and living in tent-like homes. But no. None of that happened. We only saw a few beautiful aboriginal girls fully dressed in their native costumes and heavily made up to peddle their ware at a tourist shop.

We went all the way up the hill not knowing what we could expect actually. I would say that Wu Lai is not very worth going, unless you're going for its spring. It boasts a natural spring which sees people bathing in it. Beautiful, green, tranquil waters.

The bus we took. About 20 minutes' ride.

Au' natural honey with honeycomb in it

Wild boar sausage

We took a tram up the hill.
A beautiful aboriginal girl weaving some craft
Tickets for the cable car ride, coupled with 2 types of meals, because we wanted to try both (my ingenius idea)
The Wu Lai Waterfall
We came across this vending machine that dispensed a lot. Very cute!
But we didn't understand a word it said, although we could read it
Tons of fish in a fountain
Coco's favourite activity - manual peddled boats
We had the second set of lunch here. The whole hut belonged to us.
Bamboo rice with prawn, meat and kimchi
The exit
Some real boats which Coco wanted to peddle
The monster ride which no one but Grandpa agreed to go on
They came out with an expression that said that they were pleasantly surprised
The cable car which took us down
We tried this - some tiny hilly chicken. Quite hard I thought.
The bus timetable in a bus stop shelter
A presumably motortrike
After Wu Lai, we went back to Xi Men Ding and I took them to try the famous Ah Zong Mee Sua.
I was shocked that there wasn't any table or chairs for the customers to eat at. Everybody was practically standing and eating the mee sua. My father refused to taste it at all. I am not sure why, still, but my mother felt that it was because he thought it embarrassing to stand and eat at the same time.

The mee sua is basically just mee sua with pig intestines. It wasn't tasty to me. I told my mother,"You quickly come to Taipei and sell your C. H. mee sua and you'll be rich and famous. Your mee sua beats this anytime!"