Apple Hits Taiwan

I took a risk by coming here.IMG_0865

I can only say three things in Chinese: Hello, thank you and help! I’m hoping to expand that last phrase to “help, I’m a tourist and I don’t know what’s going on. Where can I buy dumplings, please?”

It’s going on a 16 hour day. Despite the jet lag and the mosquito bites (one of which is on my eyelid) the only thing I’m itching for is another chance to practice some travel journalism. Here’s a quick rundown of today’s adventure:

Coffee. Shove everything back into the magical green backpack. Check out of hostel. Grab a cab to Taipei 101. Get tangled in lapel mic and earbud wires. Fumble with the cheap tripod I broke somewhere in the jungle. Sweat profusely. Complete interview number one. Gearing up for interview two when-

Oh, hello Apple PR person. Yes, I’m a freelance journalist/student. Sure, my rinky dink camera and I would love to join you in the press-only section. Say, do you have a spare press pass? You do! Marvelous.

Then I’m rushing past hundreds of people compacted behind a maze of rope. I feel a little guilty as I’m let through to the press section where expensive cameras are rolling. There’s a rumor going around our temporary community that the first person in line camped at Taipei 101 for 3 days.

As much as I want to keep writing, it’s midnight here and my stomach is growling. Time to pop out to one of the countless 7-Elevens.

Must resist urge  to edit…






Bikes and Baristas – See See Motor Coffee Co.

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Customers Pablo and Christina get ready to ride.

Explore Reno’s up and coming coffee shop from the perspective of an X Games competitor, a barista and a seasoned biker. The shop combines motorcycle culture, local art and rock’n’roll. Tucked away next to bustling downtown, visitors from Portland, OR will recognize one of their own local hangouts.

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Victor creating latte art.

People of Reno trickle in to sample coffee, breakfast sandwiches and browse See See‘s  selection of motorcycle gear. Helmets painted by local artists line the brick walls while the rich smell of espresso mingles with the sound of steaming milk.

“Every single helmet you see was done by a different local artist.”

Bike fashion, art helmets, custom bikes on display. Patches, stickers, mugs, books.. the list goes on.

Although one of See See’s baristas, Victor, doesn’t ride a motorcycle himself he speaks highly of bike culture and the type of people it attracts.

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“The way like a motorcycle coffeeshop works is extra chill, like more chill people that are into just being outside, fixing things, hanging out, like drinking beer, and just talking. That’s just a cool vibe. I’m drawn to that side of it.”

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See See is located at 131 Pine St, Reno, NV

Past three custom built motorcycles, X Games competitor Drake McElroy is leaning on a display case. Drake says he can’t remember learning how to ride a bike but was surrounded by them since he can remember. His philosophy: stay open minded. “Look as wide as you can and that helps the good come in, you know?”

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In addition to See See’s, Drake McElroy works at Aces Tattoo.
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“Objects in mirror will soon disappear”

Outside near a row of picnic tables, customer and seasoned rider Christine Zajkowski shares her thoughts over a cup of coffee. “It’s a sense of freedom. You’re not tied to any devices. So I’m not tied to a computer. I’m not sitting at a desk. I don’t have to think about anything except for being in the moment and that’s what it’s all about.”

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“A dream bike? The one I’m on,” says Drake. “That’s always nice. Whatever’s putting the wind in your face and like taking you away from everything is the bike that’s f***ing sweet. Yeah, it’s part of ‘live now.’ Don’t worry about shit that happened or is going to happen. Right now is the important time, right? So the bike you’re on, that’s the good bike.”

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Drake’s been injured more times than he can count but has never lost his passion for riding.

Although the idea of a motor coffee shop might sound complex, to Victor it’s pretty simple.

“Motorcycles and beer and coffee. That’s the key.”

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Victor speaks highly of his manager’s attitude and the relaxed environment they’ve created. They believe in their product: Stumptown coffee.

For the Reynolds School of Journalism, I’m Dani DeRosa.

Fear and Math

Mikey Blane talks about the importance of being patient with yourself as you work through the challenges of math. Listen here:

Photo and story by Danielle DeRosa

Bel Binds Books

Meet Bel. Bel binds books. Bel can teach you how to bind books.

I met Bel through Inge Bruggeman’s book arts class at UNR where she crafted a Poet’s Gallery of Art, a pop up book designed to help kids learn about famous works of art.


“I think that as the world becomes more digital people crave things that are handmade and that they can hold in their hands. I don’t think we’re ever not going to need that anymore.”


“I really prefer teaching. Getting into assembly line production mode is difficult for me.. It’s more exciting for me to prepare for a class.”


“The functional cursive is going away but now we’re having a renewed appreciation for beautiful cursive, beautiful writing..”


“I feel really hopeful. I think there’s always going to be a place for them (books) because humans are tactile people… At the end of the day I want to come into this room and make something that I can hold. I think that sort feeds you a lot more than just the endless (digital) images.”

The Future is Now


Observe: a masterfully rendered illustration of Google’s self driving car. The photograph behind the drawing depicts where one visually impaired student in particular might be parking in the not so very distant future.

All assets of the composition are original and demonstrate a couple key skills learned this semester such as visual hierarchy and tonal adjustment. The gradient tool was used to fade the photo, focussing the viewer’s attention on the Google car.

Everything was created in Illustrator because it can do most of what Photoshop can do with an emphasis on drawing rather than photo manipulation. For example, you can adjust hue, saturation and make clipping paths in both programs but with Illustrator you can create vector graphics. “What’s a vector?” you may ask. Take David’s J108 class to find out the official answer.

The Process Behind the Genius:

Step 1: Find an article that is newsworthy. I chose: Blind man sets out alone in Google’s driverless car.

Step 2: Summon the Muse (article on this later) and draw something inspired. Inspired!

Step 3: Go for a walk and take a photo of the “cool kid” parking area. If you’re unsure of where your local “cool kid” parking area is located, you’re definitely beyond anyone’s help (advice article to follow.) 

Step 4: Email that photo to yourself and drag it into Illustrator.

Step 5: Do the rest of the stuff mentioned above and turn in the project.

Step 6: Give a small, audible “hurray,” and/or pat yourself on the back before going to work. 

Hex Color Code:

White #fcfafa

Grey #999999

Taillight #e0a3a3

Blue bar #4ee6f6

Black camera thing 000000