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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Smoothie Towers

Just when I thought my earlier blog entry about 7-11's advertisement might be stretching the imagination a bit too far, the store posted a new one for smoothies that left no doubt in my mind about its architectural intentions.

The smoothie is not packaged in a standard milk carton, but a more complex shape. The profile is very much like the Maybank Tower in Singapore.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I was not big on the Beatles when I was young. It was probably because my parents listened to the Beatles when they were young. Furthermore, many famous Beatles albums were all recorded before I was born. When I was a teenager, I certainly didn't want to be caught listening to old popular songs.

Recently I am rediscovering the Beatles through the video game Rock Band. While some Beatles fans have complained that the game lacks many iconic tunes, I am very happy with the game. I like jamming with friends on "Here Comes the Sun" (1969), enjoy singing "Yellow Submarine" (1966) with Vera, and love playing the guitar solo on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (1968).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Arbitrage: Belgian Beer

I have written entries complaining about the prices of baby food, ice cream and steaks in Taipei being more expensive than in New York City. I have finally found something that's cheaper in Taipei - Belgian beer.

The City Super in Taipei sells 330ml bottle of Duvel at NT$120. The price in New York is around US$4.90 or NT$161; Chimay Blue is NT$130 in Taipei versus around US$5 or NT$164 in New York. Stella Artois is NT$53 in Taipei but around US$1.80 or NT$59 in New York.

While I am delighted Belgian beers are cheaper in Taipei than in New York, my happiness is dampened by the fact that Belgian beers are even cheaper in London - Duvel goes for around £1.69 (NT$91), Chimay costs around £1.80 (NT$97), and Stella Artois can be had for around £.90 (NT$48). I am still being jipped but at least not as much as I was in New York City.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Vera started at Fuhsing kindergarten this week. So far she seems pretty happy with the school, teachers, and classmates. Fuhsing is actually where I went for kindergarten and elementary school. However, the school is very different now.

Fuhsing has K to 12 now instead of K to 9 when I was there. The school is still located at the same place, but the campus is completely different with all new buildings, certainly a vast improvement. The school now has bilingual education starting in first grade. Even the kindergarten has English classes. The school now provides breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack, which is much easier for the parents. When I was in elementary school, I had to bring lunch in a metal bento box. Fuhsing has even modified the school logo.

What hasn't changed is the color of the uniforms for kindergarten and elementary school. It is still green and white; not my favorite color combination in clothes.

At least the uniforms are now made of all cotton, there used to be quite a bit of polyester.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Quote | Place

A beautiful place is better than a bad one.

- Miuccia Prada on spending money on architecture.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


A few weeks ago, we along with our friends visited the Museum of Contemporay Art in Taipei to see the exhibition 無中生有.

The exhibition was a collaboration between the calligrapher 董陽孜 and several architects. Each architect created an installation that drew inspiration from the calligraphy. It was an interesting show. Below are three of the installations.

Architect 阮慶岳 created a skeletal house with real and fake plants.

The design actually reminded me of Robert Venturi's Franklin Court project in Philadelphia.

Architect 簡學義 designed a minimal space where two opposing walls were lined with white lights. A small hole was cut on each of those two walls to allow images to be projected into the space. Visitors were handed fans to catch the images.

I quite liked the idea but I wished there were more than two holes; it would have been more dynamic if the images moved around in the space.

The installation that I liked the best was by 陳瑞憲. He created an abstract landscape that consisted of a white "mountain" and a black "lake". The lake was actually a giant inkwell.

On one side of the inkwell were calligraphies by 董陽孜 and on the other side was a long table and a bench for visitors to practice their own calligraphy. The space was not only very dramatic but also interactive.