These days I spend most of my time in Taipei 台北, the capital of Taiwan 台灣, where I enjoy a low cost of living, relatively high quality of life, and an almost endlessly stimulating urban environment. Taiwan is a productive place of exile—there’s a wide variety of working cafes where I can get things done and it’s bike-friendly enough that I get around on two wheels without feeling like a second-class citizen. Most of my time is spent on web development:
- Developing powerful and highly-optimized WordPress themes and plugins. I regularly use this blog as a testbed for new ideas. Presently I am working with Timber and Twig to produce clean, readable code. I am also continuing to improve my PHP, Sass, and related skills as I make progress on this codebase.
- Processing release applications and posting new music on the Creative Commons music portal I’ve been operating for more than a decade now. This can consume 40+ hours of my week if I let it get out of hand. Most of what I earn is derived from this project; have a glance at this Patreon page for more information. I’ll be more enthusiastic about sharing this project once the redesign is complete—the current site predates the advent of smartphones and it’s downright embarrassing!
Now for some of the more irregular activities I engage in from time to time:
- Blogging up a storm! I have an immense backlog of stuff I’d like to share and generally spend at least half an hour each day (and sometimes significantly more) preparing content for this blog in no particular order. Browse around and you’ll see!
- Exploring the many ruins and historic buildings of Taiwan. I am working on a number of specific themes related to this interest in forgotten and overlooked and neglected places, almost too many to mention here. One of the most enduring is an inventory of old school movie theaters, of which I’ve located hundreds and personally visited more than 50.
- Hunting for Hǔ Yé 虎爺, the tiger deity commonly found in temples all around Taiwan 台灣. I’ve taken dozens of photos of different representations of Hu Ye and hope to author a big post about it sometime this year. This is all part of trying to learn more about temple culture in Taiwan.
- DJing about once a month or so. I generally post upcoming gigs on Facebook and live recordings on Mixcloud after the fact. I’ve also taken up micro-blogging on one of my main DJ pages on Facebook, sharing thoughts and experiences from more than a decade of DJing. And if you’re curious, I’m still scrobbling what I listen to.
- Maintaining a personal treasure map related to my many explorations of Taiwan. I follow a bunch of Facebook groups (for example here) where people share photos from historic sites and abandoned places and thoroughly enjoy using Google Maps and whatever clues are available to figure out location details. Every time I complete an expedition I update the map with new findings.
- Maintaining this public map of working cafes.
- Sharing slices of everyday life on Instagram. It may seem silly to mention it here but I actually put a fair amount of effort into making my stream informative and entertaining without being all fake and inauthentic about it.
- Learning Chinese, mostly through osmosis at this point. I look forward to being able to engage in a more formal program of study whenever my main project relaunches and I’ve got some spare time for once.