NCREE in Taipei, Taiwan


Trip to Kenting and more
July 29, 2009, 2:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So the last couple weeks I have had more work than usual to do and haven’t had time to update this – now is the time. Two weekends ago, the Kenting PRIME students visited Taipei and invited Sabina, Jen and me to visit them down in Kenting. Sabina and I agreed to go – the next weekend, and planned a quick 4 day trip to the South of Taiwan. These are a bunch of Pictures, hopefully in chronological order, of the last couple weeks.

I went to an orchestra concert at the national concert hall, and it turned out to be an Eastern Orchestra and I had no idea what the instruments were, except the cellos

I went to an orchestra concert at the national concert hall, and it turned out to be an Eastern Orchestra and I had no idea what the instruments were, except the cellos

I met up with the Kenting PRIME students to go to Danshui on Saturday - we bought some dragonfruit to try

I met up with the Kenting PRIME students to go to Danshui on Saturday - we bought some dragonfruit to try

The Kenting Students! (minus one) they were not accustomed to the stagnant humid air of Taipei in comparison to the ocean breeze down in Kenting

The Kenting Students! (minus one) they were not accustomed to the stagnant humid air of Taipei in comparison to the ocean breeze down in Kenting

On Sunday we took a trip to the North Coast to Yehliu, a national part where there are different types of rock formations from "sea erosion" as the english translated information guide said every other line.

On Sunday we took a trip to the North Coast to Yehliu, a national part where there are different types of rock formations from "sea erosion" as the english translated information guide said every other line.

candle rocks!

candle rocks!

mushroom? rocks

mushroom? rocks

ginger rocks

ginger rocks

Michael and Winny doing video blog interviews for PRIME publicity later

Michael and Winny doing video blog interviews for PRIME publicity later

my sad attempt at being artistic

my sad attempt at being artistic

The famous Queen's head rock. There was a guard to it's left that would blow his wistle any time someone tried to touch it, and if they didn't notice a whole ton of other visitors would start yelling at the person also.

The famous Queen's head rock. There was a guard to it's left that would blow his wistle any time someone tried to touch it, and if they didn't notice a whole ton of other visitors would start yelling at the person also.

We left Yehliu shortly after sunset and headed back to Taipei on bus. On Tuesday they came to NCREE to see the lab and went to lunch with Sabina and me. That Wednesday, I had forgotten that there would be a solar eclipse viewable in Taiwan until one of my hosts came into our office area and said “lets go”: me: “where”: him: “lets go” so he took us up to the roof and then I remembered reading that there would be an eclipse. Saddly it wasn’t an entire eclipse, but it was still pretty cool.

The solareclipse viewed through a strip of film on the roof of NCREE

The solareclipse viewed through a strip of film on the roof of NCREE

the night before goin to Kenting, I decided I needed some exercise so I biked to Xindian, Green Lake area

the night before goin to Kenting, I decided I needed some exercise so I biked to Xindian, Green Lake area

Saturday morning, Sabina and I had a successful trip down to the Kenting area and made it to NMMBA where the other Students are staying. The first day there they showed us around their lab and then took us up to a temple to see the view/sunset.

SEA TURTLES AT THEIR LAB!!!

SEA TURTLES AT THEIR LAB!!!

we got to pet them =D

we got to pet them =D

Robert in non-military pose AND smiling - a rare site.

Robert in non-military pose AND smiling - a rare site.

part of the temple at the top of the mountain

part of the temple at the top of the mountain

the view! unfortunately the sunset never really happened =(

the view! unfortunately the sunset never really happened =(

On Sunday we went to the aquarium in the morning, then went snorkeling off of a coral reef and took underwater video for more PRIME publicity. That night we luckily got to go to some hopsprings for free because the parents of a grad student they knew owned them.

sunset the next day (Sunday) from their apartment porch

sunset the next day (Sunday) from their apartment porch

After a full day, we slept in and lazed our way down to Kenting to stay one night at a youth Hostel in the more touristy part of Kenting. Both the ocean and sky there was incredibly blue, but it was also killer hot – even after adjusting to the heat of Taipei.

Kenting beach

Kenting beach

the "hostel" that was more like a huge site where tour groups or retreat groups would stay over. They even provided free breakfast in the morning.

the "hostel" that was more like a huge site where tour groups or retreat groups would stay over. They even provided free breakfast in the morning.

The Kenting Coast Line along a trail from the Youth Activity Center where we stayed

The Kenting Coast Line along a trail from the Youth Activity Center where we stayed

That night the the Kenting students and two others, Jeff and Allen came down to where we were staying and went to the night market there with us. Finally we went to bed in an airconditioned room! with a REAL mattress. The next day we wandered around the few Kenting shops and then headed for Kaoshung early. Sabina chose to go back to Taipei from there early, but I decided to wander around.

The BEST shave ice ever - I believe it had condensed milk and obviosly red bean on it and was so fine it tasted and could be scooped like ice-cream

The BEST shave ice ever - I believe it had condensed milk and obviosly red bean on it and was so fine it tasted and could be scooped like ice-cream

A giant man made lake that I found in Kaoshung that had a bunch of temples around it, and looked like it could have been the site for the dragonboat races of the world games. Saddly I didn't find any dboat though.

A giant man made lake that I found in Kaoshung that had a bunch of temples around it, and looked like it could have been the site for the dragonboat races of the world games. Saddly I didn't find any dboat though.

The high speed rail was so nice. It was like taking a quieter plane with no turbulence, no delays, and no security check. I wish we had one from San Deigo to the Bay area.

The high speed rail was so nice. It was like taking a quieter plane with no turbulence, no delays, and no security check. I wish we had one from San Deigo to the Bay area.

That ended my adventures for the last two weeks and I am back to work at NCREE. I have been continuing to work with Steel Plate Shear Walls (SPSWs) and am currently editing a research paper that will hopefully be published in a Scientific Journal. I finished the 3d model of the Coupled SPSW and started building the MATS (testing system) that was used on the CSPSW.



Weekend update
July 19, 2009, 3:06 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Now that I have more work to do at NCREE, I haven’t had as much time to update this. At work I’ve been using SketchUp, the same software that is used for Google Earth to build a Coupled Steel Plate Shear Wall model of the one that we tested. It’s been taking me longer than usual to put it all together because all the dimensions need to be correct and match up to the millimeter.

Last weekend, Cindy, one of the PRIME advisors that works with supercomputing came to visit us in Taipei. She came to NCREE with Jen and Hank, two other students and they saw the lab and our offices.

This is the view out my office window (on a clear day). I will definitely miss it when I leave Taiwan.

This is the view out my office window (on a clear day). I will definitely miss it when I leave Taiwan.

On Saturday she took us out to dinner and the Taipei Eye to see an aboriginal Taiwanese culture show and short Chinese Opera. Both were very interesting to watch, especially the acrobatics in the Chinese Opera.

Aboriginal Taiwanese dance. This one actually came out not blury because we couldn't use flash.

Aboriginal Taiwanese dance. This one actually came out not blury because we couldn't use flash.

I don't remember their names in the performance and I had trouble figuring what was going on. It was fun to see all the elaborate costumes. These two had super high voices - I don't know how they did it.

I don't remember their names in the performance and I had trouble figuring what was going on. It was fun to see all the elaborate costumes. These two had super high voices - I don't know how they did it.

Another one with an elaborate costume. I don't remember his role in the opera.

Another one with an elaborate costume. I don't remember his role in the opera.

This was the first Chinese Opera I’d ever seen. The music was a little hard to listen to because it was so loud and had a lot of crashing. They had some sort of metal like Oboe instrument in the orchestra. It sounded even more like a duck than when I started playing oboe. Ruthie, my dog, would have loved it if it weren’t so loud.

That morning before I went to the show with Condy and the other PRIME students, I went to play baseball with Ching-Yi. When I immaged baseball I thought outside with a field and two teams. Baseball turned out to be a combination between an arcade and a batting practice place. It seemed to be quite popular in Taiwan with a lot of young people and family there.

from left: Ching-Yi's roomate, Ching-Yi and the son of an NCREE coworker competed at basketball there.

from left: Ching-Yi's roomate, Ching-Yi and the son of an NCREE coworker competed at basketball there.

It was so cute. He gave me ice-cream! (Ice-Cream is a more rare item in Taiwan, probably because it is difficult to store with the heat and can't simply be re-fozen like shave ice)

It was so cute. He gave me ice-cream! (Ice-Cream is a more rare item in Taiwan, probably because it is difficult to store with the heat and can't simply be re-fozen like shave ice)

Ching-Yi and me at a Gundam expo that we ran into at a nearby mall after lunch.

Ching-Yi and me at a Gundam expo that we ran into at a nearby mall after lunch.

The next day, Sunday, our other host An-Chien took us swimming at a local pool. Pools here are 100m, so quite a bit longer than I was used to. You also have to wear a swim cap there to swim. Saddly I didn’t bring goggles with me to Taiwan, but the water was clean enough so it didn’t bother me too much to swim with out. I think a guy there felt bad for me though doing laps with out goggled because he tried to talk to me (in Chinese) and it turend out he knew some English. He offered if I wanted to borrow some extra ones he had, but I was almost done swimming so I declined. Sabina and I were two of three girls there in 2 peice swimsuits that weren’t tankini’s. I will definitely need to start swimming when I get back home – I felt very out of shape there.



Sisterly visit part 2
July 9, 2009, 2:46 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

On Sunday we headed to Sun Yat Sen Memorial, Taipei 101 and then to the Taipei International Food Festival. At Sun Yat Sen, we saw the changing of the guards – twice because it started to downpour.

Changing of the guards at the Memorial - all three military forces take turns guarding and they switch every hour.

Changing of the guards at the Memorial - all three military forces take turns guarding and they switch every hour.

Taipei 101! I actaully managed to get most of it in the picture, but I had to take a bunch of blind tries as I stuck my arm over a walkway railing

Taipei 101! I actaully managed to get most of it in the picture, but I had to take a bunch of blind tries as I stuck my arm over a walkway railing

My sister and Nic went up, but I decided to save it for another day because the outdoor observatory was closed due to weather. Sabina and I plan to go as soon as it opens some weekend morning.

It turned out that the international food festival was not next to Taipei 101 like we had thought. It was actaully a little ways away, so we took a taxi there.

Melody and Nic sitting at our table

Melody and Nic sitting at our table

Food we ate

Food we ate

Main Course we ate

Main Course we ate

Some people got to eat out of toilets! I have no idea what was inside them though

Some people got to eat out of toilets! I have no idea what was inside them though

The next day, we all went to CKS memorial and had a quick lunch before they had to head off to the airport and I went home to do some work since I didn’t go in to NCREE that morning. For work, I have been assigned to make a template of a web page for a Coupled Steel Plate Shear Wall test and will present it to my host mentor later today.



Sisterly Visit – Saturday
July 7, 2009, 10:01 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

This weekend my sister, Melody, and her boyfriend Nic came to visit me in Taipei. They got here on Friday evening and I literally ran into them on the street. The address of their hostel was quite different than in the US. Addresses here have Lanes, and Alleyways on them. The Either Elephants Hostel was “1F No 6, Alley 4, Lane 48 JinJiang St” Quite interesting to find when you don’t normally have addresses like that. I was lucky and spotted them walking around as I biked there and Nic actaully noticed me first.

Once we found the door to the hostel, it turned out to be quite nice. The staff there were friendly and the area was clean. I’d never been in a hostel before, so it was interesting to see the living style difference between that and a hotel.

That night we went to the night markets that are near to their hostel and where I live and they had fun trying all sort of different foods. I think one of the highlights was a sausage inside a rice sausage with wassabi. I haven’t tried that yet, and may have to soon. They also had some sort of suffed bao, and stinky tofu in a soup. That was a little bit of a surprise since we were expecting it to be the more traditional fried kind, but it was good to have soup anyway. She also brought me a pocket translator – so I might be able to read parts of the paper menus now (an improvement from choosing randomly like usual).

Melody and Nic crossing the awsome suspension bridge at Green Lake scenic area

Melody and Nic crossing the awsome suspension bridge at Green Lake scenic area

Saturday I took them to Green Lake Scenic area to go paddle boating, and see the very pretty area. The water is all green, but doesn’t smell. As usual it was killer hot and humid, but not as bad as it could have been and supposedly will be as summer progresses.

What looked like some sort of stadium as we snail pace paddled up the lake. I really want to be able to paddle with a real paddle and not some bike imitaion contraption.

What looked like some sort of stadium as we snail pace paddled up the lake. I really want to be able to paddle with a real paddle and not some bike imitaion contraption.

After that we went to get some yummy shave ice!

I'm not really sure what it had in it, we just chose random stuff that looked good

I'm not really sure what it had in it, we just chose random stuff that looked good

We then continued to try some clay oven rolls – which were VERY good and try some cold noodles that the tourist guide recommended. Both Melody and Nic had planned to come to Taiwan for the food. That night we headed to Shilin Night market, the largest one in Taipei area. It was absolutely huge (we didnt’ even see all of it) and was Packed with people. Supposedly it was more crowded than crowded areas in Hong Kong where they came from.



Modern Art Museum and More Bridges
July 3, 2009, 1:34 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Yesterday we were told we could go out and explore Taiwan more, So Jen (another PRIME student in Taipei) went to the Modern Are Museum and Taipei Story house. It turned out the Museum was completely free to see most of the exhibits. It was also airconditioned – which was a huge plus.

Park we went to first, it had a maze in the middle

Park we went to first, it had a maze in the middle

They also had cool statuary there.

They also had cool statuary there.

After the part we headed to the Modern ARt Museum and the Taipei STory House

After the part we headed to the Modern ARt Museum and the Taipei STory House

It was a cute old style english house and a room inside for kids to play in fake rose pedals (like leaves in fall)

It was a cute old style english house and a room inside for kids to play in fake rose pedals (like leaves in fall)

The modern art museum - It was free to go into AND had AC

The modern art museum - It was free to go into AND had AC

Picture of one of the paintings - we weren't supposed to take pictures but I didnt' know that till Jen was told (In Chinese)

Picture of one of the paintings - we weren't supposed to take pictures but I didnt' know that till Jen was told (In Chinese)

The next day I felt the need to get some exercise, so I took a bike ride in the opposite direction up (or down?) the river from before to go see more of the riverside parks and bridges. I found out the parks were made as a flood zone. By making the areas parks, people couldn’t try to live here and have their homes destroyed when the floods came.

Another cool looking Bridge

Another cool looking Bridge

another one

another one

This one was more plain - the sky was rather gray also, I was worried it would rain

This one was more plain - the sky was rather gray also, I was worried it would rain

A new bridge being built in the distance - It was too far to ride to, and I wasn't sure when it would start to downpour on me

A new bridge being built in the distance - It was too far to ride to, and I wasn't sure when it would start to downpour on me

On my way back - the mountains in the background were so pretty with the cloudy sky

On my way back - the mountains in the background were so pretty with the cloudy sky

Luckily I made it back before it started raining. It ended up pouring later that night.



Test Day
July 2, 2009, 3:03 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
This is how I had to eat my giant mango - with a plastic soup spoon and a set of metal chopsticks

This is how I had to eat my giant mango - with a plastic soup spoon and a set of metal chopsticks

Here are finally some pictures of the lab. This was taken on Sunday, so there weren’t people in the lab to show how big it really is, but the Ladders are probably 9 to 12 ft tall.

The lab - it's huge

The lab - it's huge

Another view of the other side of the lab

Another view of the other side of the lab

The CSPSW (Concentric Steel Plate Shear Wall) that was test Sunday

The CSPSW (Coupled Steel Plate Shear Wall) that was test Sunday

When it rains here, it really rains

When it rains here, it really rains

Rain doesn't seem to stop anything here- we continued testing and the rain finally stopped later

Rain doesn't seem to stop anything here- we continued testing and the rain finally stopped later



Weekend exploration
June 27, 2009, 11:33 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
These things are everywhere. I like how they have their own section infront of the cross walk, and yet use the cross walk sometimes also.

These things are everywhere. I like how they have their own section infront of the cross walk, and yet use the cross walk sometimes also.

National Teater near the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

National Teater near the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall - Everything was white so I got slightly sunburt, even though i used my UV umbrella - sunscreen is hard to find here and I forgot to bring some with me.

The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall - Everything was white so I got slightly sunburt, even though i used my UV umbrella - sunscreen is hard to find here and I forgot to bring some with me.

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial - there were also two white guards that had to stand motionless on either side.

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial - there were also two white guards that had to stand motionless on either side.

View of the National Theater from the top of the Memorial

View of the National Theater from the top of the Memorial

Map - it was party in English, so very useful for not getting lost

Map - it was party in English, so very useful for not getting lost

Those stairs were not so friendly in full sun - even with my uv umbrella. The national theater is on the left, the national concert hall on the right - they look identical

Those stairs were not so friendly in full sun - even with my uv umbrella. The national theater is on the left, the national concert hall on the right - they look identical

Did I mention everything was white - so it double reflected everywhere in the killer Taiwan sun.

Did I mention everything was white - so it double reflected everywhere in the killer Taiwan sun.

After meandering my way around inside the air-conditioned memorial, I made mny way back to my dorm. Later I took an adventure to find the Hostel where my sister will be staying – and didn’t quite find it – but got stuck out in the rain. On the way I found a public library (they had books in English! – pitty they were english book on how to learn Chinese. It’s been raining here every afternoon. And rain here doesn’t mean drizzle, it means downpour like we hardly ever get in the winter in CA, along with thunder and lightning. I will try to get a picture of the bike umbrella attachments they have and post it.




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