21st FebruaryMore photos
19th FebruaryLooking for sponsors...
Training for the Olympics isn't easy. It isn't cheap either. I made a short promotional video recently as part of our quest to find sponsors (it also gives a good introduction to what we're doing), and here it is in all its glory:
Gold Rush Reclame
(don't forget to "watch in HD")
("reclame" is the dutch word for advertisement)
16th JanuaryTraining Video
Those who have seen the movie "Team America" will know that, to go from being a beginner to a being a pro, you need a montage. So I have constructed a montage of our team training in the gym. Those who frequent the Thialf skating facility in Heerenveen for races are probably sick of the video featuring the TVM team training; we decided that a parody was in order. Here it is
(don't forget to turn up the sound and click "watch in HD" - you won't regret it)
13th JanuaryPhotos from the EK, a.k.a. European Championships
These are public links to facebook albums; my facebook friends should find them through facebook so they can comment on them and tag people.
This is not as bad as it looks
Just so that you know, everyone was ok and the car was mostly fine except for a dent in the door.
When it is cold enough, lakes and canals freeze over and you can go skating on them. The dutch go crazy over this "natuurijs" (literally - natural ice, as opposed to artifical ice). On new year's day, some of our team took it upon ourselves to sample this experience.
(don't forget to click "watch in high quality")
2nd JanuaryA New Year, apparently...
12th DecemberSo... I've been 27 for a week.
I thought I'd wait a week so that the fact that I'm older really had time to sink in. How does it feel to be older? Well, it doesn't feel very different really. I've been living in Holland for 59 days training for the 2010 Olympic Games. It's not easy. As the previous post shows very clearly, I have a long way to go. I'm not going to lie, I'm a little worried that I won't qualify - they don't make it easy you know. So, not wanting to disappoint my loyal readership, I will construct a birthday post inspired by Janus from which we get the word "January" (and not "Anus").
Looking back - A year ago, I was preparing for finals at the end of my first semester at Columbia University in the City of New York. Time does fly, dunnit? First snow was on the 2nd of December and I only had to pull 3 all-nighters during those final weeks. It's funny the things you remember... breakfast at an ungodly hour of the morning following an all-night writing session, the beginnings of my New York karaoke obsession beginning in February 2008 and going until my goodbye party in October. What else... I got a paper published, spent some time developing my skill as a photographer, actually graduated on time, and worked at UNICEF. Not a bad year...
Looking forward - Where to from here? Immediate goals include getting faster and qualifying for progressively higher-level competition, culminating, of course, in the big O.G. Aside from that, however, my life lacks any real direction. I'd like to do some more reading and write some academic papers while I'm pursuing my quest. Eventually I think I may return to academia, this whole "real world" is a very strange place and I don't feel like I really belong. I'd like to spend some time at the university here in Enschede, and get to know people outside of skating. This is the first time I've really only had one group of friends with whom I regularly interact, and it is very strange indeed.
Life lessons? I'm hardly the authority on that, I mean, I'm only 27. Two thoughts to take away though... "Never forget who you are", and "Live with passion". Whenever I have to make a big decision (and "big" means whatever it means to you) I ask myself who I am, and what decision would that person make. As for the passion, I don't want to get to the end of my innings and look back on a life filled with easy-way-outs, "safe" choices and, dare I say, contentment. You only get one shot at life so you may as well get into it. Sure, I will probably have to endure a lot of heartache and disappointment if I'm always shooting for the stars, and flying by the seat of my pants with my heart in my mouth (I've got more clichés than you can poke a stick at), but I'll be satisfied that I gave it my very best... and I'm sure Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson would have been well-pleased with that.
6th DecemberRace Debut
This evening I raced on the ice for the first time. Here is what happened.
(don't forget to click "watch in high quality")
Just in case there is any lingering doubt, no - this is NOT what is supposed to happen in a typical start.
22nd NovemberFrequently Asked Questions
Many people have asked me many questions about what I am doing. I'm going to try to answer some of them in bulk. Please email me if you have a question, and if enough people ask the same question, then I can categorize it as "frequent" and answer it on this page.
19th NovemberSome photos to keep my loyal fans occupied...
These are public links to facebook albums; my facebook friends should find them through facebook so they can comment on them and tag people.
17th October...then I flew to the Nether Netherlands.
So I moved to Holland to skate. I arrived on the 14th and am currently in a world of pain from all the training. Just to give you a bit of background, I used to be a regular at international competition for inline speed skating. I wasn't bad at it and occasionally skated quite well, even managing to attend three world championships. Ice is subtly different, and it has been a pretty steep learning curve. Now, it's not like I've never ice skated before or trained at a high level, it's just that I never did so with the goal of reaching the Olympic Games (and for the first time in my life, I am without the burden of school work). That changes the dynamic of the whole thing.
A typical day begins at about 6:15 in the morning. I eat a small snack of some kind then throw all my skating stuff in my skating bag with my skates. Our team then packs into a car and drives to the local skating rink. We skate from 7-9am then we have breakfast. After this, we usually hang around and spend some time online (because the eatery where we eat is the only place where we have internet access at the moment). We eventually go back to our accommodation and will often return at about midday to do some work in the gym, either cardio or weights depending on the day of the week and where we are in our training program. Then we eat lunch. Afterwards we'll retire to our accommodation and will occasionally return for a third session at night, but it is rarely anything that we would consider training.
The greatest thing about all of this is that we don't pay a thing. All the rink time, gym time, breakfast, lunch, transportation, and so on are provided for. Soon we will be getting clothing and I will be getting new boots and blades. The only thing that I technically have to pay for is dinner, and I've only paid for it once so far. Our sponsors have even been kind enough to allow us free and unfettered access to all the facilities that are in the same complex as the rink, gym and eatery.
Why Holland? Ice skating is HUGE here. Let me put it in perspective - the biggest sport here, as it is in most European countries, is football (soccer). The second biggest sport is speed skating, and not by much. If TV stats are anything to go by, if you put any weight to gender balance, then it is actually more popular than football (mostly guys watch football, but everyone watches the schaatsen). It gets all over TV here as well. All the big international meets, regardless of where they are, are primarily sponsored by Dutch companies because the Dutch TV audience is reliably huge for these events. Our team is very good, don't get me wrong, but we aren't well-known in this world and are definitley one of the lesser-known teams. Yet, we have already been interviewed for a newspaper and been given a tour of our home city, Enschede.
7th OctoberOne Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
Exploits from the fish blog... "Red Fish Blue Fish", a political blog with arguments from both sides of the political spectrum. In that particular topic I discuss the role of progressive taxes, and some other stuff along the way.
5th October Stuff
Ok, so I missed a whole month. Sue me. I bring some more photos! (nobody seems to read anything on this site anyway)
Have also been getting embroiled in some interesting debates with people from the other side of the political spectrum. (I consdier myself fairly Liberal) Obviously, the upcoming US election is a big topic and a big issue within this topic is healthcare. I recently wrote a little essay on it just for kicks. Have a read.
20th August Audio Slideshow
Apologies for the lack of updates. I'm preparing for the big move. Firstly, I'm moving apartments (as soon as I've found an apartment). Secondly, I'm moving this website... sort of. It is going to split into two parts - the "front page" which will be a bit like a newspaper, with articles, reviews and, of course, lots of photos. The other part will be mostly a blog which will function more like a personal diary, possibly doubling as the "opinion" section, as in a newspaper. However, I have hit some technical hitches which are delaying the roll-out.
In other news, I recently constructed an audio slideshow as part of a media internship at the IRI. Enjoy.
17th June More Balls
Ok ok ok... more photos for my fans. This time - Baseball Photos
16th June Soft balls
Wow... I've been slack. Much has happened since my last update - finals have come and gone, I did the whole cap and gown thing, I even found myself some work. Anyway, I will be slowly catching up on updates. For now, some long-awaited softball photos.
1st MayRoom With a View
I haven't done a stiched panorama for a little while now. Here you go, enjoy. (click the photo for a bigger version, actually, I have an EVEN bigger version if you'd like to make prints... or maybe I should do that...). This is the view from about 32 floors up at the north east corner of 34th Street and 1st Avenue (New York).
Coming soon: Softball and Baseball photos (including some from a NY Yankees game)
I take photos for the Columbia Daily Spectator. What do you think might happen if the multimedia editor decided to give me full creative leeway in crafting a piece about the Columbia Rugby team? (yes, I was surprised to learn that they played rugby here too. Columbia even has a cricket club!). Well... here it is. (note: the link has stopped working because the spec recently moved servers and all of the slide shows were lost to the aether. they are currently working to remedy the situation)
Ok, It's a little dramatic, but they've got a point
22nd AprilState of the Planet
Oh my, I've been slack. I haven't updated for a month. Well... it has been busy. Not long after my last update, there was the state of the planet conference which I went to and photographed for the spectator and for my own nefarious purposes. Those photos can be viewed here.
Other things have also happened, such as the "Mo Money Mo Problems corporate (ir)responsibility throw down" (try saying that ten times in a hurry) for which pictures can be viewed here. The very next day, there was a day of protests organized by Amnesty International called "Get on the Bus", presumably because it had something to do with a bus. Anyway, photos of that can be found here. (I have also begun to discover photographs that I have taken popping up on the AIUSA website...)
Today I participated in a random, organized pillowfight in Union Square. Thinking that this was just some silly little random facebook event that some friends started, I went along thinking that there wouldn't be too many people. Turns out that there were actually quite a few people... here are some photos.
21st MarchAdventures in Street Photography
There is an unusual amount of hostility latent in the peple of New York city
In the first example, someone got cut off just before a traffic light at Columbus Circle. Instead of doing the usual beep, fling arms, then carry on with business as usual, the taxi driver just keep going... and hit the car that had just cut him off. Then his taxi driver friend thought he'd join in on the act and a shouting match ensued. This carried on for a good ten minutes while central park south became thoroughly jammed, and a decent-sized crowd also gathered to see what all the shouting was about.
Our second example involves yours truly. I saw this sign on a door, and thought it quite amusing so I snapped a photo. What happened next was interesting. A security guard came out and started harassing me. Ok, fair enough, they're stupid, they don't like photographers. What really got me is that he insisted that I was "headed for jail" by taking pictures the way I was. To which I retorted that he didn't know what he was talking about, to which he started getting shouty and telling me to "beat it" (like in the Michael Jackson song but with somewhat less rhythm). Of course, I wasn't actually anywhere near the building so he was a bit out of his jurisdiction and I told him that if he was so sure that my behaviour was jail-worthy, that he should call the police. After which, I offered to call them for him. He then said "don't argue with me!" which is just about the surest way to get me to do just that. He eventually retreated into the building in a huff.
Oh, happy spring equinox by the way. It sure doesn't feel like spring, it is "mad brick". (apparently that is a slang term for the weather being cold).
16th MarchA Day in DC
This wasn't quite on a whim... but it was very close to it. I decided to take the $35 round-trip deal on the chinatown bus to DC for a day, so that I would not have to pay for accomodation. But Daniel, I hear you ask, how much could you possibly see in just one day? Well... this much. (click the big blue writing)
More photos which I've been meaning to put up for a while... a little training excursion for the spec photographers a few weekends ago yielded these photos.
1st MarchBest Photo Assignment Ever
Last week, I scored the best photo assignment ever - I got to tag along to an interview with a pastry chef at a very upmarket restaurant downtown. Not only did I learn a great deal about the restauranting world in New York, but I also got to sample many many lovely desserts... mmmmmm.
But don't take my word for it... the photos speak for themselves.
Tonight saw the launch of "Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development". It is the first student-run interdisciplinary journal of sustainable development... ever. That's pretty cool. It will be an annual publication and the first issue consists of 12 articles. Now here's the kicker - one of those articles was penned by me!
The event was a tad nerve-wracking not only for the obvious reasons... but also because the man on the left of the photo is the head of the advisory board to Consilience - Dr Joshua Zivin who also happens to be the director of the PhD program in Sustainable Development (which I have applied for again). The man in the centre of the photo is Jeffrey Sachs himself (who probably doesn't recognize me from class) and to his left is Anubha Agarwal, the editor-in-chief of Consilience (although she is considerably less scary than the other two).
Here is a pdf of the article (well, a final draft, warning: it is not very good) and here is it again on the consilience website and here is the Consilience homepage where you may download a pdf of the whole thing.
17th FebruaryMore photographic goodies
I've been quite busy lately, hence the lag. Mostly I was catching up on reading and work which I had gotten behind on during the busy week of hell (see previous entry). Last weekend I shot some basketball and thought I should share some of it with you. Two Mondays ago, saw the curious phenomenon of having two of my photos on the front page. Last Monday, a photo that I had taken was featured on the front AND back page of the newspaper. The one on the front was this guy
Hannes Artens, an authority on Iran who gave a very interesting talk about the situation there and the situation here in relation to the situation there. The photo was kinda cool because... the event he was speaking at was organised by the athiest and agnostic students group. Pay close attention to his hands in this photo...
4th FebruaryA Busy Week
The title of this post is a bit of an understatement... to find out why, click here.
Remember "the week"? (24th October) well, take that, the typical week in the life of yours truly... and add all the stuff from my most recent photo essay (the one linked in the previous sentence)... busy doesn't even begin to describe it.
25th JanuaryA Spectator
Occasionally, I surprise myself. Sometimes a paper that I wrote off-the-cuff ends up being published in an academic journal, maybe an offhand remark made as a joke at a board meeting spirals into a major event... today, the surprise is a little more public in nature. The Columbia Spectator is Columbia University's daily newspaper and is read fairly widely in the student body.
I originally applied to be a columnist. I like to think of myself as a writer, even though my writing is, on the whole, pretty terrible (if people want to read it, that's their problem). For whatever reason, I was adjudged to be unsuitable as a columnist but somewhere in the conversation it came up that I might like to try my hand at photography. Being similarly devoid of any talent as a photographer, I decided to give it a go (everyone knows the real burden of these decisions always rests on the very talented). My first shoot was a press conference about the opposition to the rezoning of 125th Street in Harlem.
This morning, I got the shock of my life when I picked up a copy of the spec (I like to read the sports section - so many different and creative ways of saying "we suck at sports") to find my photo on the front page. Click on the photo below for a larger version. For the actual photo, click here.
20th JanuaryMIT Mystery Hunt
For the last weekend of the winter break, I made a little trip up to Boston to participate in the 2008 MIT Mystery Hunt because there's nothing like a bit of sleep deprivation and puzzle solving to get one geared up for the start of semester.
I was moderately useful to my team, varphi... I also took some photos - here they are
10th JanuaryNew York Adventures
For the past few weeks, I've been visited by several friends from Australia with whom I celebrated Christmas and New Year. (sometimes I wonder where I get the time to do all that other stuff, like writing bad poetry). It was fun being a tourist in my own 'home town' and, unsurprisingly, I took lots of pictures. Enjoy!
31st DecemberAnnus Mirabilis
I'm sure I'm going to regret saying this in the same way that Bill Gates probably regrets saying "640K ought to be enough for anybody". This has been something of a miraculous year for me. For the last four or five years, there hasn't been a single year in which my outlook on life hasn't changed profoundly and I haven't grown significantly as a person. Every year, I get to the end and think "holy shit, how am I ever going to top this?". Well... so far, I always have. There are a handful of things (and some of them are actually quite significant, come to think of it) which could happen to improve my lot in life, but I shouldn't complain, I've got it pretty darn good right now.
In fact, every now and then, I'll just have a slighty weird "pinch-yourself-moment" where I think about where I am and what I'm doing and am just a little bit blown away by it all. Yeah... I'm a very self-centred, self-important individual, I know (I think that was part of the reason for this website, no?).
...and as the final update for danielyeow.com for 2007, I was inspired to write a short little poem. 53 stanzas, 160 lines, 1760 syllables later...