... he can't post anything here, and neither can Miss H.

I just came back from Taiwan, after 3 intense weeks there, travelling everywhere, seeing (almost) everything, and I really enjoyed the life there. I nevertheless have to say that I was missing French food a little bit after these 3 weeks, but except this detail, I was feeling wonderfully well.

I now have to come back to my daily life, preparing my next carreer in my new company from next week, paying my income taxes (ouch!), looking for a new flat and dealing with tons of administrative stuff I couldn't deal with earlier as everybody was on holidays (August in France, you know...).

So stay tuned! More to come here soon!

Bons baisers de Paris.

H




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華爾街日報》中文網絡版 2006年8月17日

看郵箱﹐識性格

你的收件箱就是你自己。

仔細看看你是如何回復或歸檔每封電子郵件的﹐看看你選擇保留哪些郵件﹐又刪除了哪些郵件﹔當收件箱中充斥著未回復郵件時﹐你是否感到焦慮﹖

你收件箱的佈局和整潔程度能反映出你的生活習慣、精神狀態﹐甚至父母養育你的方式。
如果你收件箱中滿是郵件﹐卻不加以清理﹐那可能意味著你的生活也是一團糟。'美國康涅狄格州West Hartford市互聯網行為研究中心(the Center for Internet Behavior)的心理學家戴維•格林菲爾德(Dave Greenfield)說道﹐'比如你是否留戀過去﹐是否生活中還有很多沒有做完的事情﹖'

從另一方面來說﹐如果每隔10分鐘就下意識地清理收件箱﹐那你可能太過心急﹐會與機會失之交臂﹐並且往往會忽略細節﹔或者說﹐你過於追求秩序﹐會影響你處理其它事情的精力﹐比如不夠關心家人等。

當然﹐沉迷於電子郵件現已成為一種普遍的文化現象﹐但其中的副產品--收件箱沖動癥--卻尚未得到普遍關注。我們有些人醉心於將每條郵件放到對應的文件夾中﹐一有垃圾郵件就刪除﹐一收到給媽媽的電子郵件就趕緊回復、生怕她不知道我們依然愛她﹐等等。而與此相反﹐其他一些人卻是拖拖拉拉﹐郵件總想等到明天再去處理。我們發現﹐收件箱裡的雜亂無章反映出人們在家庭、婚姻和財務方面的雜亂無章。

幾個月前﹐營銷咨詢顧問斯考特•斯特萊登(Scott Stratte)患上了一種他稱為“收件箱癱瘓”的病癥。那次他的收件箱中有500封郵件需要他答復。“我覺得很內疚﹐甚至不敢打開郵箱查看。”他說道。

在絕望中﹐他決定刪除所有郵件﹐然後給通訊簿上的400人群發郵件﹐撒謊說互聯網服務商通知他可能無法收到一些郵件--所以他才沒給朋友和客戶及時回復。“大家都很同情我﹐”他說﹐“這樣我才得以重新開始。”

斯特萊登說他的行為“太惡劣了”﹐但也將這件事看作一個轉折點。他意識到自己必須找到一種方法﹐減輕不能及時回復郵件時的負疚感﹐現在他專門聘請了一個助手﹐幫他處理郵件。

43folders.com是一個研究個人效率的網站﹐其創始人莫林•曼恩(Merlin Mann)說﹐那些在生活中彬彬有禮的人可能更容易陷入收件箱的噩夢之中﹐因為有禮貌的人(或是那些希望別人喜歡自己的人)覺得有義務及時回復朋友的郵件﹐他們沒有對別人郵件不理不睬的勇氣。不過曼恩說﹐這種不理不睬是必須的。

曼恩說﹐他自己有幾十種郵件回復“模板”﹐只要把對方的姓名或一段特別的話插入其中即可﹔此外﹐他每小時都會清理收件箱。“你必須用對待家裡信箱的態度來對待電子郵件收件箱”﹐他說﹐“你不會把賬單信件留在信箱中﹐而把垃圾郵件留在收件箱中就等於把垃圾留在廚房裡不倒掉。”

ePolicy Institute咨詢公司的執行董事南希•弗萊恩(Nancy Flynn)警告說﹐如果你在工作時不善於拒絕別人﹐那麼你的收件箱很可能面臨危機﹐因為當你迅速回復電子郵件時﹐“人們會用郵件跟你不斷聯繫﹐最終把他們的問題變成你的危機。”

互聯網咨詢顧問沃裡•伯克(Wally Bock)將收件箱信件數量控制在幾十條以內﹐他說從小父母的教育讓他養成井井有條的習慣。不過﹐他認為這種處理方式也有缺點。許多人熱衷於實現“收件箱零郵件”﹐每次一聽到來信提示音﹐就會中斷手頭的工作來處理郵件。“一個人不可能同時做幾件事﹐”伯克說﹐“只不過是經常從一件事跳到另一件事而已﹐而每次轉換時﹐你都得再熟悉一遍情況。用這種方法干一天的活﹐其實會浪費很多時間。”

更理智的整理收件箱的方法是將郵件放到不同的文件夾中﹐以主題或需要關注的程度分門別類﹐每星期專門拿出時間清理一次收件箱。這是《找到關鍵才能有所作為》(It's Hard to Make a Difference When You Can't Find Your Keys)一書的作者瑪麗蓮•保羅(Marilyn Paul)給出的建議。這是一本專為長期缺乏條理的人所寫的書。她還建議使用收件箱的字母排序功能﹐以發信人的名字給郵件排序。“這樣你花一個小時就能刪除1000封郵件﹐她說道。

多倫多大學(University of Toronto)的講師克里斯汀娜•卡瓦納(Christina Cavanagh)是《管理電子郵件﹕獨闢蹊徑》(Managing Your Email: Thinking Outside the Inbox)一書的作者。為此﹐她研究了數百名辦公室一族﹐其中有個財務總監﹐收件箱中居然積攢了10,000封郵件。她建議此人乾脆將以往的9000封一次性刪除。對那些淹沒在郵件海洋中的大忙人來說﹐唯一的解脫方法就是刪除老郵件﹐並為此承擔一切後果。(曼恩管這種方式叫作“安樂死”。)

“收件箱是真實生活的寫照”﹐格利菲爾德說﹐因此沒有管理收件箱的萬能靈藥﹐因為每個人的情況都各不相同。不過他相信﹐更多地了解自己如何管理收件箱將有利於我們更好地了解自己的生活狀況。

“如果你收件箱中有1,000封郵件﹐這可能說明你雖然不想錯失機會﹐但有時卻來不及抓住它”﹐格林菲爾德說﹐“如果你收件箱中只有10封郵件﹐說明你前進的腳步過於匆忙﹐難以細細品味生活的樂趣。”

Jeffrey Zaslow




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廢文一篇...


今天穿著短褲拖鞋到樓下離家兩步的郵局。

我:先生,我想要換成晶片卡。〈揚揚手中的舊卡〉
承辦先生:請問你成年了嗎?

我:ㄜ!......成年了。〈這時以為他在開我玩笑〉
承辦先生:是十八的成年,還是二十的成年。〈認真貌〉
我:.......〈驚了三秒,才小聲說〉是十八的成年。
承辦先生:〈接過身分證,自我解嘲中〉真是看不出來啊!

心裡其實很爽,原來我也到了為這種事情在爽的年紀啊!
不過自己先潑一桶冷水好了!

因為絕對不是娃娃臉的幼齒,我想應該是穿著剌塌,還沒睡醒眼皮腫脹的幼齒吧。

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Well, everybody heard about Google Earth, the online bird-eye view of our lovely planet, providing high-resolution aerial and satelitte photos of almost everywhere... even Taiwan, in spite of geopolitical problems, as you can see here.

Before Google Earth, in France, we've had for many years  the National Geographical Institute (IGN), which takes photos of every corner of France, makes official maps (especially narrow-scale ones, perfect for trekking) and is certainly a very valued French administration, as considered as not too bureaucratic (which is the main characteristic of the French administration).

Considering that Internet was developing in France, and the electronic administration was developing too,
the IGN decided to launch a kind of French Google Earth. The concept of electronic administration is already quite developped in Taiwan, as Miss H already told me, but it's quite new in France: we have a quite cute website (http://www.adele.gouv.fr/) explaining how it can help you, with cute movies explaining the different provided services, etc... But most of the "services" deal with tax collection so far, so it's not that interesting for many French people. Especially when the most "popular" tax collection site (direct income tax) crashed under the heavy load last year, delaying this tax collection in France by 3 months...

Anyway, GeoPortail came! It's like Google Earth, but just for France. It's ruled by the IGN, and every village in France is shown, with quite a good resolution. The problem is:

1. The website completely crashed the first 3 weeks of use, right after its official unvieling by President Jacques Chirac, exactly like the tax collection website. See more details here. Around 12 million people tried to connect at that time. It's now working, but its beginning was really painstaking.

2. Google Earth has dramatically improve the resolution of the available pictures of Google Earth since. You can have a quick look on the photos used on Google Maps. I was able to locate Gwen's building and my home without difficulties (OK, I cheated: I used Taipei's metro map and followed the main roads (under which the metro goes) to be sure to stay on the way).

3. Most of the classified building and military hardware are hidden on Geoportail photos (the areas are white). You can't play the popular online sport of looking from the sky at "sensitive" buildings and unusual things, like here, here (and here) and here.

Anyway, all the places of France are located on GeoPortail, even the oversea territories, and detailed maps are provided. Have fun looking at it now, and be aware that higher resolution and services improvements are expected to come in October this year!




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這篇文章內容,三月底就大致完成。一直拖到今天,才匆匆整理公布出來,希望對其他準備presentation 的AIESEC 犬逆或者默默關心我的AIESEC學弟妹有一點幫助。

對於其他讀者,
什麼叫作AIESEC culture presentation?

這得從我的實習講起。由於我在德國實習的另一個身份,是AIESEC實習生,簡稱AIESEC犬逆(trainee),
是透過AIESEC,這個國際學生交流組織機制的交換計畫落實的。這也是為什麼我身邊充斥著一群跟我一樣在實習的外國年輕人。

與一般交換學生、實習制度不同的是,除了增加國外工作經驗,強調的是「文化交流」以及「文化瞭解」。
在這樣一個生活圈子裡,包括你身邊同事、當地學生、以及其他外國犬逆們,
你可能是他們從小到大,認識的第一個台灣人。

換句話說,你,就代表台灣。

倒過來說,你也藉由很多「第一個朋友」,也許從立陶宛、肯亞、匈牙利、或是保加利亞…,來認識從未去過的國境
他們都是代表他們國家的文化大使,除了平時在廚房吃吃喝喝、在pub或者等車的路上聊的生活上點點滴滴,
或者陪著歐洲國家朋友過他們的復活節,或是在農曆新年大張旗鼓邀起朋友嚐嚐過年氣氛…,

對於AIESEC分會以及當地學生而言,能夠聽到由各國家犬逆的第一手報告,是一個很好認識的機會,
而相對於平時拉拉雜雜的分享,presentation變成一個較正式的總體認識,
而culture presentation也變成身為AIESEC犬逆的一個「義務」。

在土耳其時,我也作過一次presentation,由於設備簡陋,我捨棄ppt present方式,改採大字報,
配合一張台灣地圖,以及分會貼心幫我準備的台灣風景撲克牌,和一鍋滷雞肉,風評似乎不錯。
08/2003 Bursa LC office

而在德國的幾次的culture presentation,越辦越有趣,越辦越專業。
事前宣傳鼓吹大家來已經不稀奇了,大夥必定準備道地小吃吸引觀眾,另外還有人辦起有獎徵答活動
也有人乾脆辦聯合東歐幾個國家一起辦presentation等等,人多好玩,大家也覺得划得來。
也因此這次我和香港的一對情侶檔Sean & Samantha一起辦。


09/ 2005 Mexico


03/2006 Russian Dumplings for culture presentation       01/2006 Belgium presentation, 3 languages spoken.




準備一個presentation,花費不少時間,卻也讓我一次又一次地更認識自己生長的這塊土地,
講起來很肉麻,但也許就是因為人在異鄉,更看到許多家鄉值得驕傲的地方。

以下是一些我收集到資料的link:
Photos
http://tiscsvr.tbroc.gov.tw/    (極推薦!!!)
(台灣采風剪影,是觀光局舉辦台灣風景攝影展的照片網站。這些專業美麗的照片都已分好類,十分實用。

Basic Figures
https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/tw.html (美國CIA World Fact Book)

Taiwan
History
http://www.fapa.org/generalinfo/Taiwan's_history.htm (FAPA )

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Taiwan (wikipedia)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_status_of_Taiwan

http://www.taiwandc.org/hst-1624.htm Taiwan 400 year history

http://english.www.gov.tw/Yearbook/index.jsp?categid=25&recordid=52670 the story of Taiwan

Economics Overview

http://hirecruit.nat.gov.tw/english/html/taiwan_03.htm (經濟部的hi-tech recruit網頁)
http://www.asia.hobsons.com/regional_outlook/careers_in_taiwan (hobsons對台灣產業的簡單介紹)

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2006/02/01/2003291262  (一些數據)

http://english.www.gov.tw/Yearbook/index.jsp?categid=157&recordid=83305 (政府的Yearbook)

Taiwan Travel

http://www.taiwan.net.tw (台灣觀光局)
http://www.chinapost.com.tw/travel/ (China Post 旅遊介紹)

一些雜七雜八的

Government urged to focus on sustainability, 01/02/2006, Taipei Times

http://city.udn.com/55272/2394864?tpno=0&cate_no=0  (工商時報2007.09.04 最長工時報導)
http://www.epochtimes.com/b5/5/12/31/n1172808.htm  (參考用的大紀元) http://www.epochtimes.com/b5/5/11/3/n1106723.htm


下面三個影片,也許大家網路上也收過。前兩個是觀光局官方介紹影片,雖然有點長,歌有點難聽,但拍得還不錯。
(第一個真的很長,大概是分幾個主題,一小段一小段的,第二個是較短版本。)
第三個是傳說中外國工程師為台灣作的,主要是講台灣優秀的IT產業。

這三個都落落長,自己看了很感動,但放在presentation有點不妥。
大家要看的話,按play之後,再先暫停,讓它跑多一點以後再看會比較順

(Youtube那邊留言當然引起筆戰,我實在懶得看懶得回,自己爽就好。)





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Well, I didn't have that a big hangover (see previous post) that I had to give up posting for so many days. In fact, I've been really busy lately. Basically, I found a new job (stil as IT consultant, and still in Paris), left my current company (a kind of TV drama), and decided to join in the same time university to get a degree in law. Don't worry, I had been thinking about this for quite a long time. That's going to make year 2006/2007 (remember that in France, the "new" year starts in September - see this post) really intense and interesting. I hope I'm not overestimating myself by joining universtiy while working, and with little chance, things will turn out well. If you want to know more details about everything, just leave your comments, and if there are too many questions, maybe I'll make a special post about it.

Anyway, let's talk today about July 14th in France. Basically, it's a day off called "la Fête nationale", which can be translated as "the National Celebration". It's the equivalent of Independence Day for the Americans, except that we don't put French flags everywhere (we do this only when France wins a football match ). The history of July 14th is quite interesting. Want to know more about French history?

In 1789, France had no more money in its budget (something like today, but there was no IMF at time), mainly due to a very bad weather for the last 2 years (taxes were mainly collected on wheat at that time. The bread price was also extremely high for the same reasons, and people were mainly eating bread at that time, so there was a lot of social movements. The King, Louis XVI, concerned on how to get more money and get back social order, asked for a special assembly to gather called "les Etats-Généraux", which represents people for the whole society. The nobles, the religous and the common people elect representatives who are sent to Versailles to discuss the social problems. Each category has only one vote, meaning the common people (Tiers Etat), although representing 95% of the French population, have as much influence as the nobles (1 vote for 2% of the French population) or the religious (1 vote for 3% of the French population).

Basically, the nobles want more influences on the driving of France: since Louis XIV, they lost all their influence. The religious don't have any special will. The common people want to be able to access to jobs reserved to nobles and the extension of taxes to the nobles and the religious (who don't pay any tax so far). The king just wants more money.

The French Revolution starts with les Etats-Généraux, on May 5th 1789. The representatives start to argue on how to vote: the common people want one vote for each representative (they would have a majority), but the nobles and the religious want the old system of one vote for each social category. On June 17th, the common people ask for the nobles and the religious to sit with them in the meeting hall of Versailles. Some accept: it's a revolution in law. The National Assembly is born, it represents the whole French people, and the three traditionnal social categories are dead in the traditionnal law.

On June 20th, they gather in the room of the Jeu de Paume (now a modern art museum) in Paris and declare they will write a constitution for France before they separate. They announce it to the King on July 9th. The King, quite unhappy, fires his prime minister (he's the responsible for all that mess... that's the proper use for Prime Ministers in France: being a fuse).

In Paris, several rumors are running, one being that the representatives are going to be arrested soon. On July 13th, the rumors gets bigger as some troops are gathered near the Champ-de-Mars (where the Tour Eiffel now is. Originally, it was just a land for military exercise). The representatives of the merchants of Paris decide to organize a local police, but they need weapons. On July 14th, they go to the Invalides (a big hospital for retired soldiers at that time, now the museum of the French army. Has always been the residence for the military governor of Paris) and collect all the weapons there peacefully, as the soldiers there refuse to fight and join the crowd. The New Paris police has now weapons, but no ammunition.

A rumor spreads that ammunition is stored into the fortress of la Bastille. This fortress, in the eastern part of Paris, was used as a special prison for nobles and political prisonners (Sade was emprisonned there until the beginning of July 1789). The new Paris Police decides to send representatives there to negociate and get the ammunition. They don't get anything.

Basically, the fortress is uncatchable, the soldiers inside are few but well-trained with proper food, and the castle dominates the surroundings by 20 to 30 meters. But the commander of la Bastille is unexperienced. Outside, the castle is surrounded by thousand of hungry people shouting, afraid, nervous, etc... At one moment, the commander looses is temper and gives order to shoot in the crowd. Hundred of dead and injured ones. Some soldiers inside the crowd leave and decide to bring back cannons, which arrive 2 hours later. Before the cannons start to shoot, the Bastille soldiers surrender. The commander is beheaded and his head is shown everywhere in the streets of Paris at the top of a rod.

Beside the ammunition stored in it, the Bastille was not an important military objective. It was more like a symbol. Under Louis XIV, a new verb was born: "embastiller", which means arrested and sent to jail (la Bastille) for several years without trial, according to the King's pleasure. La Bastille was a kind of French Guantanamo Bay, if I dare this comparison. For those of you who read French, this Wikipedia article is really well written. Those who can't will anyway see pictures of La Bastille on the page.

One year later, on July 14th 1790, the French Revolution was keeping going. The Assembly decided to celebrate the event of the "catching of la Bastille" on the Champ de Mars and organized the "Fête de la Fédération". The king was there, and the whole society was represented. It was supposed to be a moment of national reconciliation. It worked, but didn't last long, as the French revolution soon became quite bloody (If you are interested, I can make more posts on that. Tell me your opinion in the comments).

Anyway, in 1880, under the Third Republic, it was decided that July 14th will be the National Celebration, as a very symbolic both in 1789 (against arbitrary power) and 1790 (gathering the society).

****************************

So, what do French people do on that day? Nothing, as it's a day off. This one is really respected, and it's very hard to find shops opened on that day (but not as hard as on May 1st).

Well, if you are not too lazy in bed, you can watch the military parade on the Champs Elysées in the morning, as tt's broadcasted live on 2 TV channels. My grand-dad used to be a fan of the parade (he was a former military). Right after, there is the traditionnal interview of the President of the Republic, by 2 journalists, where the president gives his opinion about tons of subjects which interest people and unveils the program for the coming year (and if it doesn't work, the prime minister leaves... French politics). If you are an important person, you are generally invited to the garden party in the presidential palace (called l'Eysée).

In small town, there is generally a ceremony with the local mayor next to the monument to the dead ones. This is quite special to France: in even the smallest French village you'll find this kind of monument; it celebrates the memory of all the French soldiers who died during World War One and Two, and also the Indochina (Viet-Nam) and Algeria Wars. The name of the soldiers is generally craved into the monument. Each town would crave the name of the deads who were living in the town.

In the evening (or the evening before, it depends), there is a ball, organized by the local firemen. Girls generally love to go there, as they love uniforms (and especially firemen's). There is generally a band, and DJ, drinks, etc... Originally, it was to help firemen to collect money to buy equipment against fire, before the French state gave them a budget in the 1970's. Anyway, the tradition remained intact.

And at night, it's the firework. Very traditionnal, too. This year, I had the luck to have dinner by the Champ de Mars, and to see the firework form the 6th floor of a Parisian building in a friend's very nice flat. Another friend brought his new EOS 350D camera, et voilà:

































The rest of the pictures can be seen here: http://www.wretch.cc/album/album.php?id=H95210&book=3
Enjoy!






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緊接貼一篇介紹高第的文章,和今年一月遊覽高第作品的照片。

文/台灣日報

高第(Antoni Gaudi I Cornet),是西班牙二十世紀最偉大的建築師。

早期除吸收了回教、歌德、新藝術(Art Nouveau)等流派建築精華外,風格多變,匠心獨運創作了許多夢幻、天馬行空、宛如童話般的作品,如玉蜀黍般的聖家堂(La Sagrada Familia)、奎爾公園中色彩絢爛的大蜥蜴水泉、宛如加了糖霜、用餅乾妝點的糖果屋門房、巴特由之家(La Casa Batllo)外部宛如龍鱗片般的屋頂、骷髏頭般的陽台……。

上述雖然都是一百多年前的作品,但至今看起來仍很前衛,令人驚豔不已,甚至連藝評家都很難定位它屬於什麼流派,所以高第生前所留下來的十多件代表作目前仍矗立於巴塞隆納(Barcelona)街頭,並成為巴塞隆納最傲人的世界地標,因此有藝評家說:「二十世紀以後的巴塞隆納,是高第所打造出來的城市!」

這位鬼才建築大師,出生於1852年,西班牙迦泰隆尼亞地區的一銅匠家庭,所以少年時代的高第曾當過學徒打鐵,後來考取進入當地建築學校就讀,接受正規建築教育訓練,並在一建築事務所實習,使他擁有豐富的工地經驗,1878年畢業後,順利地接到當地市政府的委託,為皇家廣場設計路燈,並在同年代表西班牙參加巴黎萬國博覽會商店櫥窗設計的展覽,從此嶄露頭角,認識了當時的紡織業大亨奎爾,並在1883年接手已動工一年多的聖家堂工程。

由於高第是個虔誠的天主教徒,全心投入教堂的興建,因此連家都不回,每天住在教堂裡廢寢忘食地工作,由於不修邊幅,據說常被誤以為乞丐而丟予錢幣,而高第不但不生氣,還會把錢幣撿起來,作為興建教堂之用,甚至當1926年,想年84歲的高第被市區電車撞死時,由於外表看起來潦倒,還一度被當成流浪漢送入聖十字醫院,直到兩天後才被認出來他就是鼎鼎大名的建築大師高第,因此出殯時,民眾夾道追掉,並將他的遺體安葬在聖家堂地下室中,與他至愛尚未完成的作品一起長眠…


聖家堂其中一面的外觀
The Sacred Family is a basic element of the Barcelona inconoclastic and forms part of the urban scenery, the culture of the country. Its history is the history of Cataluna from the XX and XXI Centuries, when it will be finished, in 30 years.
Even though it is a grand expiatory temple, The Scred Family are two peaks on the line of the horizon. 4000 people a day visit the Sacred Family. It is a phenomenon of multitudes and a lively and mutant monument.














「玉蜀黍般的聖家堂(La Sagrada Familia)」
教堂內部以棕櫚樹為柱的設計概念
階梯則是蝸牛殼的構想
利用自然光線射入

Park Guell is one of the most universal artworks of the architect Gaudi and a testimony of his capacity of finding surprising solutions to each problem in a matter so creative and rational.
The Guell Park is, like the Sacred Family, a phenomenom of mass and a milestone with clues in the iconography of Barcelona. In its interior, the part is located inside the Museum House Gaudi.

「宛如加了糖霜、用餅乾妝點的糖果屋門房」














「奎爾公園中色彩絢爛的大蜥蜴水泉」









左邊這一位有沒有很熟悉啊?!但右邊的門才是重點。
也是Guell Park
「巴特由之家(La Casa Batllo)外部宛如龍鱗片般的屋頂、骷髏頭般的陽台」

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啊!(長嘆~)巴塞隆納...
翹班偷溜出去的旅行,都比較好玩?
幾個在2003年在土耳其認識的朋友,相約在巴塞隆納見面。
才有幸膜拜了赫赫有名的聖家堂和高弟的其他作品。
由於禮拜天怎麼也找不多營業的Tobacco店買郵票,
明信片只好拜託在巴塞隆納上班的Diego幫我寄出。
感謝。




  「dear爸媽妹,新年快樂啊!
(這張明信片到家的時候,妹應該在德國找我玩耍吧!)

這個週末,我逃離灰暗冷颼颼的德國,飛往明亮溫暖的巴塞隆納。據說此時是旅遊淡季,但仍然滿滿的觀光客前往膜拜這個125年後仍「施工中」的偉大計畫--Temple de la Sagrada Familia(直譯 Temple of the Holy Family)
我徒步爬上塔頂(右下圖),鳥瞰整個城市,也由衷讚嘆建築設計Gaudi的風格,以大自然為師,還有彩色的馬賽克磚。

這座教堂預計再25年完成,也許爸爸有興趣看看他們的室內裝潢??
同一天,我也參觀了Gaudi設計的其他公園、公寓等。巴塞隆納少了Gaudi,應該就不是巴塞隆納了吧?!

明天飛回波昂,後天坐火車去法蘭克福接機。雖然這種日子消遙,週末都可以「出國玩」,
但我已經開始期待回家的那一天!想你們,觀
14/01/'06」










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Take time to work---
It is the price of success.

Take time to think---
It is the source of power.

Take time to play---
It is the secret of perpetual youth.

Take time to read---
It is the foundation of wisdom.

Take time to be friendly---
It is the road to happiness.

Take time to dream---
It is hitching your wagon to a star.

Take time to love and be loved---
It is the privilege of the gods.


[註]Lilian Chao是已故台大外文系教授趙麗蓮博士,致力於英語教學。
國中讀到的這些文字,沒想到多年之後,簡單易懂的幾個單字卻仍然耐讀充滿智慧。

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(左上)Neuschwanstein--erbaut 1869-1886, unter Koenig Ludwig II.
(右上)Linderhof--erbaut 1874-1879, unter Koenig Ludwig II.
(左下)Hohenschwangau-- erbaut 1664-1675, fruehere Sommerresidenz
(中下)Nymphenburg-- erbaut 1664-1675, fruehere Sommerresidenz
(右下)Herrenchiemsee-- erbaut 1878-1885, unter Koenig Ludwig II.


這張明信片是我在第一次去新天鵝堡的時候寄的。圖片中是巴伐利亞的幾座大城堡,最負盛名的是左上角Ludwig II建得新天鵝堡(Neuschwanstein)

十月底的天氣,清爽的涼風,滲入滿地紅葉,我在明信片中慶幸自己的好運氣,壓根沒想到自己會在兩個月大雪紛飛的十二月再去一次新天鵝堡,體驗完全不同的Fuessen。

但可以證明的是,不管哪一次去,不管去幾次,都有驚豔的感覺。

「dear爸媽妹,
我現在在新天鵝堡,離慕尼黑兩個小時火車的距離。
今天天很晴朗,適合浪漫城堡之旅,再冷恐怕我就"凍未條"了,
等妹來找我,我們再去其他城堡吧!想你們很多」


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(litterally: wooden face - hangover)

So France lost the World Cup. The Italians were the strongest, maybe not for attacking and trying to score, but at least for defending their goals. Considering that the Italians also wear blue, you can really tell the Blues got the blues...

Somehow, people were expecting something like this. Nobody could tell (except of course the real fans of the Blues (the French ones, I mean)) wich team was the strongest. The Italian had benefitted from an incredible luck since the the beginning of the cup, against Australia and Germany. France was incredibly good against Brazil, and well-above average against Portugal. It was indeed a real World Cup Final-class match, worth all the shows, with smiles and tears.

France scored first on penalty at 10'. Italians scored 10 minutes later. During most the following 100 minutes, France would hold the ball and try to score. During the extra time (as there was a draw), all the players were exhausted, but the French ones were keeping attacking.

Suddenly, the unthinkable happened. Zidane committed a deliberated fault on an Italian player and gets expelled. How come? The captain of the Blues, the living legend, the man with the "Ballon d'Or" (the highest prize for a football player, who already won everything, how come he could have done such a thing, and leave the ground directly?

Well, the referee didn't see that the Italian player Zidane attacked made a big fault on him before (which would have normally meant a penalty for France), and was keeping provoking him verbally. Considering how exhausted all the players were, Zidane's reaction, altough unanimously condemnable (and condemned), is understable.

Today, in all the French press, everybody is trying to understand, to analyze, to give his opinion, not about the match, but about what the Italian player must have said to Zidane to make him loose his temper. And I must say that Zidane is a person who really knows how to keep his temper: when you are an athlete with such a high level, the control of your mind is the first thing required.

For all these reasons, this morning, all the French have a hangover. We were defeated, our best payer lost face, and many players from the generation that won the 1998 World Cup (8 years ago already! I still feel like it was yesterday) are retiring. How the next generation will be? Well, nobody knows for sure, but some of them are already there: Malouda, Ribery, those are the names you should remember for the next World Cup, in 2010 in South Africa. See you there!




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 I still live at my parents' place, mostly for financial reasons: although I'm earning a decent salary, renting a flat alone has become simply unaffordable in Paris in these days. The other reasons of my staying are convienience and a certain form of laziness: the laundry service is just too perfect here

Anyway, living with your parents includes tons of drawbacks, the first one being... my mom.

Her last "wonderful" idea came while she was talking with neighbour's wife.
Let me introduce you to my neighbours: they are young (he's 30, she's 28), they bought the house in front of ours and completely renewed it (what they bought was more or less a ruin), and in 4 years they made 3 kids, a boy and a set of twins (a boy and a girl). Contrary to what you may think, they are not very rich or educated. They are just hard-working persons.

So, my mom was talking with my neighbour's wife, and this lady was complaning that she was having problems with Internet. "No problem", said my mom, "my son is into computer business, he's gonna come and solve everything!"

Mom...  Why? What did I do to deserve this? Don't you think I have enough work as a consultant?

Well, as you might have guessed, things DIDN'T turn out AT ALL like she said.
It first took me 2 months to have a free afternoon on week-end (meaning: not being too tired on that Saturday so I don't have to have a nap in the afternoon). When I came to my neighbour's place, his wife welcomed me, and after usual chit-chat talk, I went to the computer. Just a few minutes of seeing it running, and things were clear: the computer was full of viruses, spywares, adwares, etc...

I tried to determine what were the infected files, and deleted some manually. Unfortunately, XP didn't like it at all: blue screen of death and computer stuck. Impossible to restart it afterwards, a blue screen appeared all the time and blocked the computer. Not other solution but reinstalling XP. Spent time: 1 hour.

Of course, the neighbour wanted to save his own files on the hard disk. So I brought the hard disk  to my home, installed  it on my  computer, saved the whole content on a DVD, and brought back the disk. Spent time: 1h30

I tried to reinstall XP from my neighbour's original CD. Impossible: the version was too old, and had no boot sector, meaning I couldn't make a fresh install with this CD. I came back to my home to take my XP CD, and restarted an install. The problem is there was another problem in that computer, and I didn't know yet what it was.

The neighbour had told me that sometimes the display was becoming blank for 2 seconds, or the computer was freezing, randomly. But he never told me that his computer would refuse to install XP completely and restart the install from the beginning 15 times. There was also a problem: if a file was bigger than 10 MB, the computer was making errors when acessing it. A very very strange behaviour. I left their home around 11pm, with the computer still not working correctly. Total spent time this saturday: 9 hours.

The next week, of course, the neighbour's wife told my mom that she was so sorry for making me work so hard, but the computer was still not running well. I knew it, of course. I was guessing that the problem came either form the network card or the motherboard.

The week after, I came to make neighbour's and said that, considering how serious the problem was, I had to take the computer with me. He accepted, and I started to work on it at my home, in an environment working correctly. It was this Saturday. The network card was tested and passed my check. I manage to resintall Windows Xp correctly, that time, but I started to have these 2 seconds blank screen right after it. The input/output errors when accessing a file started to occur again. An update of the graphics card drivers didn't change anything. Trying the last chance to solve everything, I decided to update the bios of the motherboard.

Bios update is the kind of thing computer freaks are reluctant to do, because if there is a problem during that process, the motherboard goes directly to the trash collector right after. Well, the BIOS update turned out to be fine, and all the indicators were ok right after it. I then decided to restart the computer.

And.. nothing.

Yep. Nothing. The computer starts and  initialize the hard disk, and then remains like that. No picture at all is displayed on the screen. I tested the graphics cards, and it's working perfectly well.
There is still a chance, though: all the settings of the BIOS are stored into a special electronical component called CMOS. It might be a faulty setting... There is a possibility to reset it and try to start the computer again. I'm gonna do it tonight, but this my last chance: if I don't succeed, I'll have to buy a new motherboard (around 35 euros) to my neighbour.

...

Mom, sometimes I hate you.

Edit: I had to buy the motherboard in the end. It costed me 37 euros. I then reinstalled the computer from scratch, and brought it tonight at my neighbour's, who paid me 45 euros. I wonder if I should start to calculate the average wage per hour that this story allowed me to "earn"...




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 Good news: France won against Brazil 1 - 0. We are qualified for semi-finals against Portugal (who defeated England). The other semi-final will be between Italy and Germany.
The mood here was incredible: firecrackers, cars klaxonning in the streets, people with French flags... I can't imagine how things will be the day of the finals.

On a much more serious field, France has started since yesterday (July 1st) to collect money on plane tickets. This special tax is designed to help development in the poorest countries in the world. French President Jacques Chirac is the one who made the tax adopted, but the tax law is still incomplete and nobody knows exactely how it will be collected. The price paid is propotional to the distance of the flight. I am coming to Taiwan in August, but I paid my tickets a long time, so I should escape this tax.
The idea behind the tax is good, but airlines really don't need that. In a country who has almost lost all its national airlines except Air France, taxing hardly surviving companies is just stupid. Many say here that it's a little bit crazy that a guy who never pays his plane tickets (the French President has his Air Force One, too) makes normal passengers pay higher prices.

The associations who fight AIDS are of course asking this money to help distributing medecine against AIDS in developping countries. Although the disease is almost under control in France (meaning the number of new infections is decreasing every year), AIDS keeps spreading, especially in Africa and in the Chinese world, as you can see here, here and here. So every year, during summer, the associations and local district administrations launch campaigns against AIDS (because it's in summer that people are the most sexually active). In Paris, there are ads in the streets to promote the use of condoms: "Paris protects love"/"Paris protège l'amour". There are also TV ads, for heterosexuals and homosexuals, to tell people that AIDS still kills. I think these ads are very good, as they really show how an action as simple as using a condom can make life really easy.

Well, I hope I won't schock my dear Asian readers by talking about AIDS and condoms, as Gwen is telling me that Taiwan is quite a conservative society. But I wonder how come there can be such videos with naked men, and no bikinis on the beaches...




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106台北市大安區建國南路1段252巷3號

玩一玩電子地圖功能

感謝大家到場吃蛋糕:)


我正在連線新加坡跟Jamie講電話。

Sherry難得回來。算是湊足五人。下一次團圓可能是明年二月吧!



我忽然發覺,難得帥哥比美女多耶!!!
感謝中山帥哥團支持。


我和隔兩天的壽星Sandy(右一)。感謝Cindy的相機。

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Gwen is 26 today!
Happy Birthday!
Sweet kisses from Paris!




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