For those who are wondering, Grace is now officially one day overdue and counting. We went for a stress test last Thursday (on the baby, not on me). And all signs point to “normal”… so the doctors are not in a hurry to rush baby girl Chu until next week. They’ve given baby girl Chu until June 13th to pop naturally. Or she’s going to have to surrender that comfortable womb and return that belly to her mommy with help of us inconsiderate adults.

Grace is doing fine — still walking and bouncing (figuratively speaking) around with lots of energy. She’s been on her nesting mode for a couple of weeks. So this should give her an extra week to tidy things up before the little one is fully baked (or over baked?).

As for me, here’s a poem rigged from Robert Frost’s “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” that describes my situation best:

The nights are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And thousands of images to go before I sleep,
And thousands of images to go before I sleep.

I named this poem “Stopping by Lightroom On A Humid Evening.”

The Curse of Speed

As I am going through the thousands of shots I’ve made in the past few weeks, I realized that the Nikon D300 has made my post production process a nightmare — not because it generated any lesser quality files or colors, but rather the sheer volume of shots I’ve made by taking advantage of its relatively huge buffer — six burst shots a second for a few seconds, and do it abundantly throughout the day — I ended up with hundreds of similar-looking shots I have to go through and decide which ones I want to keep (being as indecisive as I can be)…

Fuji S5 (and previous generation S3 and S2) owners have a saying that “it’s not the number of shots you can make, it’s the quality of shots you capture that matter” And this trip has certainly made that philosophy sink in that much more.

When the D300 and D3 came out, I asked myself if I’d upgrade to them had money not been an issue. Though the D300 is a really solid camera, I now no longer believe the D300 being an upgrade because I just like the files that my Fuji generates more (the film-looking grain, excellent white balance, incredible handling with high ISO… etc). I’ll probably get another Fuji if they ever made a full frame camera. Until then, my next move would probably to get another S5 so I don’t need to swap lenses as often on the field or during sessions.

Suicide by Caltrain

It took me 3 hours to get home on Friday from work. The passengers on my Caltrain cart soon learned that someone had committed suicide at one of the stations (San Antonio).

About two and half hours into the delay, my cart passed the San Antonio station where the suicide occurred. I saw a couple of workers in white full body anti-contamination suits still cleaning up the tracks. Though there was no sign of blood or body parts, bright colored, official-looking plastic bags with “stuff” inside of them were still visible from where I sat. They were probably bits and pieces of human remains.

One passenger complained those who chose Caltrain as a method of suicide were very inconsiderate. They cause enormous delays and inconveniences for others. But I guess death in any situation, suicide or not, is an inconvenience for those who are involved.

On the whole trip home I wondered if it was harder to commit suicide or to live with what life has dealt us. Choosing to commit suicide is just so counter intuitive to nature that when what all living beings do in the worst of conditions is trying to survive. Have we humans become so arrogant against nature as to defy what all living beings have the innate ability to do?

I can only keep wondering.

Strange Week

Please bear with me as I go through a series of events that may or may not have anything to do with each other — all in one post. I still think an entry per story/event is still the best way to approach blogging. But time seems to keep running out on me these days, hence the “mega posts”…

So I finally got to meet Sebastian in person after having read and left messages on each other’s blog for seemingly eons (in blogsphere time, that is). We had a series of very interesting and only-if-we-had-time type of conversations over dinner in San Francisco. How I enjoy intelligent conversations…

On my new “job”, one reason I took the job was so that I could finally jump into Flash and Flex full time. But all that hope is all but gone now. Due to the relative shortage of qualifying candidates the company needs to develop the project using Flash/Flex, they’ve decided to switch strategy to meet the internal deadlines using JSP, CSS, Javascript, Ajax with a dash of Flash. It’s good and bad news all rolled into one. On one hand, I am glad they made the call because this means my existing skills in CSS and Ajax would make the development process a lot more rapid. But I am also disappointed that I won’t be leveraging the project to further develop my Flash/Flex skills. But I guess this is all good considering the baby girl is arriving anytime this week now… Lack of sleep makes learning new things an impossible task.

Also, given my relatively unique combination of skills and experience in interaction design and programming, it seems like both the design and tech teams are trying to leverage my strengths to their own advantage in all-but-invisible company politics. OH Crud…

Then came Thursday morning — just another normal working day for me. But that morning almost became a traumatic day for me as I, along with dozens of other Caltrain passengers, witnessed someone almost got run over by the very Caltrain I was supposed to catch for work. Luckily the train missed him by about 1/3 of a step, ending up clipping him on his right temple (at which spot blood seemingly came pouring out nano seconds later). The train would’ve crushed him if only he’d accidentally stepped into the track 1/10 of a second earlier….

The blow knocked him almost unconscious. Unable to stand straight, he almost fell towards the track, which would have been fatal. Fortunately a couple of cyclists were close enough to drag him away from the train, which was just about to come to a complete stop. Everyone was shocked and froze as if nobody believed this was happening — me included. I called 911 and was told by the dispatcher that a flood of calls also came in at the same time about the same incident.

The fire fighters were the first there at the scene along with its own medic unit. Then the police came one after another (3 on motorcycles with 2 others in 2 separate cars). The ambulance, of all services, came the last — looooooooong after the fire fighters arrived. Caltrain also dispatched a supervisor almost immediately, arriving after the ambulance.

It was a shocking experience that reminded me of the collapsing of the NYC Twin Towers on 9-11, of which I also witnessed as the towers crumbled…

I learned a few useful things having watched the entire event unfolding: (a) Fire fighters are awesome. If anything, they need more funding, not to be cut back! They were the first responders and the very last to leave besides the Caltrain supervisors. (b) Police weren’t really all that helpful except to be there to “investigate” what happened. They showed no urgency nor sympathy towards the person who was injured (as I saw a couple of them were even smiling and laughing as they rode away on their motorcycles — the little respect I had left for the cops was diminished that much more). (c) Look both ways when crossing the road, train track, whatever… (d) Humanity usually shows its best side at the worst of times. (e) Life is fragile. That very well could’ve been me.

Then came Sunday. Grace scheduled two photo sessions for me almost back to back. Now I have around 5,000 photos (along with ones from Missouri) to post process in the coming weeks… And the baby is coming…. and the looming deadlines of the new job… Oh, life…