Thursday, July 31, 2003

i've no idea who this person is, but i really like their art. via everlasting blort.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

my latest order from cdbaby has arrived. a few reasons i like to shop at cdbaby:

We only sell CDs that come directly from the musicians. No distributors. Musicians send us CDs. We warehouse them, sell them to you, and pay the musicians directly.

Cool thing: in a regular record deal or distribution deal, musicians only make $1-$2 per CD, if they ever get paid by their label. When selling through CD Baby, musicians make $6-$12 per CD, and get paid weekly.

this time around i bought:

magical moods of the theremin - project: pimento
prozak for lovers
the amazing spider-band - volume
tiki moon - kenny sasaki & the tiki boys

project:pimento is great. i'd put it up there with pink martini or don tiki for modern day exotica bands. who knew that the theme to star trek had lyrics? prozak for lovers is ez versions of classic songs like love will tear us apart, london calling, rebel rebel, ... well, you get the picture. quite nice too. it makes me want to hear the originals even more. the amazing spider-band i picked up on a whim. it's re-recordings of the music from the old spiderman cartoon. i like the theme alot, but i'm not sure if i'm loving the complete soundtrack quite as much. kenny sasaki i'm still a bit undecided on. initially i thought the first track on the album was the stand out, and the rest didn't seem to live up to the promise of that track. but i'm finding the more i listen to it, the more i like it. my initial impressions to things are often wrong so we'll see.

since i was a returning customer to cdbaby, they sent me this comp called soundtrack for world travel. it's not as bad as i thought it would be. and i quite liked keme bourema by fula flute on first listen. i may have to investigate them some more.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

this is the cover to a double disc set by yao su-rong that i picked up this last weekend. there is a whole series of old chinese/taiwanese singers sets like this. i picked this one based on the cover. i figured how could i go wrong with a psychedelic cover like this? it's been said yao su-rong's songs were so sad that no one else could really do them. i didn't find the songs that sad, but there is one song where she wails jia zai taipei over and over again which i find to be quite wonderful.

also this last weekend i went back and picked up volume 2 of the superman cartoons. i'm still working my way through the first set. i also picked up the world of suzie wong, and lars von trier's the kingdom II. i finished watching the kingdom yesterday and i'm really confused. is it supposed to end so abruptly? i feel like i'm missing a chapter in the film as the film ends with the old lady trapped in the elevator, and judith screaming for the devil to bring her baby back to life and a head on car crash. is this how it really ends?

Monday, July 28, 2003

this is a blind er hu playing busker in taipei mainstation. there are different buskers here on different days, but the er hu player is by far my favourite. he usually plays old chinese songs. if i could find a release of burt bacharach er hu i'd buy it on the spot. but somehow i think such a thing doesn't exist. of course if this guy had a cd out i'd probably buy it as well. it always surprises me that a lot of the songs he plays i recognize. i mean i do have a small collection of old chinese music, but in a situation like this it just goes to show i know more than i thought i did.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

yesterday after class i stopped by a 69 dollar store(sort of like a dollar store in the states or a 100 yen shop in japan). i went mainly to checkout cheapo dvds. one of the things i picked up on a whim was this disc of old superman cartoons. for some reason i was thinking these cartoons were from the 60s, but it appears they are actually from the 40s. i love the style of animation, the way the evil robots look, the way the buildings and cars look.

i'm not sure if i've ever seen these cartoons before. i think i surely must of, but watching them doesn't really give me a sense of nostalgia in the way seeing marine boy again would. are there super hero cartoons being made like this today? with such a rich visual style? the only thing that comes to mind is the power puff girls, but they are more, well, i'm not sure exactly what. they just seem more safe or normal.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

this week's photofriday theme is mechanism.

so i bring you a snapshot of the rather large emergency stop button located at the mrt(subway) station near my house.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

i don't know what's scarier about this. the fact that the fbi is investigating what people read, or that someone felt it was important enough to report what was being read to the fbi. articles like this continue to make me wary of returning to the states even for a visit(via consumptive).

it all reminds me of william s. burroughs:

thanks for a country where nobody's allowed to mind his own business.
thanks for a nation of finks.

a nation of finks indeed.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

a new cd by martin denny has been issued called baked alaska, a live concert recorded in alaska. i believe this is the first time this has been released. i stopped by eslite a few days ago to see if they could special order this as well as dorothy ashby's afro-harping. but they said it would be very difficult and they probably couldn't get them(couldn't special order verve?? how difficult could that possibly be?). so i'm going to have to mail order them. i just hope someone gets in the martin denny aside from collector's choice, as i'm not willing to pay $11.50 in postage for a single cd. how can a single cd possibly be that much to send? are they packaging it with a boulder attached? sheesh.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

block the riaa! the people at techfocus are tired of the riaa quoting them out of context, so now have devised a way to block their ip addresses from accessing their sites. they reccomend others do the same as well. there are some interesting things written in the comments too, especially about how the riaa doesn't do its research before harassing innocent people. via everlasting blort.

Monday, July 21, 2003

the postcard project. an ongoing project collecting one of a kind handmade postcards. i'll be sending one in for sure. via iconomy.

the other night, the public television station here showed tsai ming-liang's the river. no english subtitles of course, but since there isn't that much dialogue, and i've seen it before it, it wasn't too much of a problem. i only caught the last part of the film, but the odd thing i noticed was that when the film was over, all the credits were in english. there were no chinese characters at all. peter said that was because it was made for foreigners, not for taiwanese to see. he's fond of saying that taiwanese art house films are made for westerner's or just for money because if they win an award overseas the government here will pay them some sort of cash reward as well. i disagree of course. i don't think it's a given that anyone can win awards overseas at film festivals and the such. and to bank on such money would be rather foolish.

taiwanese films tend to be a bit more personal and less commercial. and so the audience here would for the most part reject them just because of that. taiwanese tend to like things that are commercial or succesful in other countries. it's almost like they need the validation of someone else saying its good for them to admit they like it. i've been told by some of my students that some people have this condition where they think anything foreign or western is better than what they can produce themselves. i think this can be extended to local cinema as well.

when peter and i went to pick up that record we'd bought for george, the man told us that most of the people who'd bought things were from outside of taiwan, that taiwanese aren't interested in those old things. he asked why we'd picked it up, or why we like these old singers, and peter said that they're more interesting, that the new singers all sound like western or japanese bands but not nearly as good.

there's a weird attitude that some people here have about music. a taiwanese friend of mine told me that in the west it is common to trade live recordings of various bands among the fans. but here in taiwan, if there is a live recording someone did of a show in taiwan, they might trade that show with people in the west, but they wouldn't trade it with other taiwanese here. i'm not exactly sure why. does it make it more special if you have something your neighbors don't have? there is a singer that was popular about 20 years ago that peter really likes. her music hasn't been re-issued, nor has it been bootlegged. but you'll see people selling her cd for 100 or 200 u.s. dollars. i think if this was the same case in the west, someone would of bootlegged it or you'd be able to find it for download on some ftp or p2p network. but here no such thing. i don't really understand this attitude, i like to be exposed to new music, and i like to share new music with my friends. when i discover some new band, often the first thing i want to do is share it with other people. not horde it to myself so others can't hear it.

Sunday, July 20, 2003


classic good girl and romance comic book covers. is it just me or does the cover of ideal romance look a bit creepy? via gordon.coale.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

this week's photofriday theme is identity.

it seems that the photos for this theme i've seen posted aren't as strong as some of the past themes(not that my entry is any better for that matter). a lot of people seem to have taken the theme personally as in your identity, or simply taken self portraits. i tried to find something that was about identity, but not so much about my identity. so here you have a shot of a wig store in hsiminting. a bit more reflection off the window than i would of liked but oh well.

also i've added another shot to the series of sars posters i've been working on over at photo action boy.

Friday, July 18, 2003

my friend george recently asked me to help him buy this record off of it has been bought but not picked up yet. but looking through all the old chinese vinyl for sale on is making me want to pick up stuff even before i have gotten a turntable. i'm especially curious what this record sounds like:

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

a sars poster found on the door of a real estate office. there are a few more sars posters up on photo action boy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

the internet museum of flexi/cardboard/oddity records. some nifty things on this site. i was especially happy to see that they have the psychedelic furs' dumb waiters single here, as well as some sort of flexi by the plastics. no mention of the cornelius set of flexi's i picked up on my last trip to japan that came with a book and a cardboard record player though. via j-walk.

Monday, July 14, 2003

the queerness of harry potter. the author seems to go a bit overboard on his reading of harry in terms of gay culture, but i suspect that he's dead on that the celebration of not being normal is what makes some people hate these books so much. that, and racial themes in the books(pureblood or mixedblood) which really doesn't seem to get much play in the press. most reports seem to be on how kids and adults adore the books, or conservative christians up in arms about it teaching kids witchcraft, but not much in depth analysis of the themes presented in the books.

speaking of harry, i broke down this last weekend and bought harry potter and the order of the phoenix(interestingly enough that link has a different cover than the one i have, maybe because mine is the uk version?). almost 200 pages until we even get to hogwarts. but i'm enjoying it so far. the new defense against the dark arts teacher reminds me of some of the more moronic teachers i've had in the past.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

this week's photofriday theme is symmetry:

once again taken at chiang kai-shek memorial hall. there are lots of great shots being posted for this theme. i've just begun to look through the links posted, but a few that have caught my eye so far are this, this, this, this, this, and this one.

i'm also quite fond of this one as it brings back fond memories of going to the pacific science center in the 70s.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

it looks like the u.s. is trying to strongarm the taiwan government into doing what it wants on the isssue of intellectual property rights again. at the same time the person in charge of ipr in taiwan doesn't seem that concerned, conisdering that the statistics on what taiwan is doing come from last year, and the copyright law here has since been changed some. but once again an article states statistics that i would like to know how they got:

Since 1997, the nation's music industry has seen its income drop by two thirds. Last year, 16.6 million legal CDs were sold, compared with 41.5 million in 1997, IFPI figures show. Almost one in every two music discs bought in the country is a fake.

how do they know one in every two discs are fake? what if a disc is independantly produced and not part of the ipr? would they still be considered in these statistics? they may suspect one in every two discs are fake, but i don't see how they can say a blanket statement like that and have anyone with half a brain believe it.

surprisingly, there are voices of reason out there:

Instead of pointing the finger at the government, one IPR expert said, the music industry needs to start paying attention to its customers.

"This is a wake-up call for the music industry to start selling music in the format that people want," said John Eastwood, a lawyer at Winkler Partners and co-chairman of the Intellectual Property Committee of the European Chamber of Commerce Taipei.

Consumers are tired of paying NT$400 to NT$600 for one good song on a 12-track disc, he said.

cd prices here have increased, and you are getting less and less for that money. instead of treating their customers like criminals, the labels should work on ways to make their releases more special. finally re-issuing a lot of what is in their vaults at a decent price would be a step in the right direction.

Friday, July 11, 2003

one of the branches of fnac is closing here. so some of the stuff is marked down alot. so over the last couple of days i've been picking up way too much:

  • jubilee ost(adam and the ants, wayne county, brian eno...)
  • word processing(the remix project) - anne clark
  • psychometry - anne clark
  • fuego del ande - yma sumac
  • wonderful - madness
  • portfolio - grace jones
  • bubblegum classics vol. 3 (the archies, bobby sherman, the cowsills, banana splits, ...)
  • george and james - the residents
  • easy tempo vol. 7 & 9(italian film music comps)
  • doctor head's world tower - flipper's guitar
  • tokyo rose - van dyke parks

    i also picked up a couple of dvds:

  • attack of the puppet people
  • the angry red planet

i'm still working my way through the cds. i've listened to psychometry which is live and quite good. they even do a version of windmillls of your mind which surprised me as it's not something i would expect anne clark to do. the grace jones was disappointingly commercial and uninteresting. madness was pretty good, but then i have a soft spot for them as at one time they were my favourite band. i'm listening to the flipper's guitar now and its really good. this is the band that cornelius was in before he went solo.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

remembering george maciunas:

I remember visiting George with my dad and being
flabbergasted by his projects. Some of my favorites
were the suicide kits and feces kits that he sold. The
suicide kit consisted of small compartmentalized clear plastic
boxes that contained the necessary tools to do yourself
in. This kit did not include instructions so you had to get
creative with some of the objects. One was a fish hook on a string
that George pointed out. The hook would be swallowed
then by pulling up the on string you would get to your maker.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

the crispin hellion glover resource center. recently, crispin glover came up in one of my classes. so i decided to do a search and see if i could find a crispin site to end all crispin sites. the site above is the closest i could find. i've always wanted one of the crispin books. years ago when they were easy to get i didn't have the money for them, now when i could afford them, i hardly know where to begin to look. that means i should probably look on ebay. in my search to find the crispin site to end all crispin sites i came across this crispin quiz page what crispin glover character hair-do are you?. i really hate these sort of quizzes, but still they said i'm rubin farr. can't complain about that.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

a very nice photo site here. i'm especially fond of the black and white pictures, but some of the colour ones are nice too. via iconomy.

some of the unused photos i took for the photo friday solitude challenge are now up on photo action boy.

Monday, July 07, 2003

not too long ago i posted this picture of a gas station, and now thanks to coudal partners i've discovered this site devoted to gas station signs.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

today peter and i went to the multimedia show at the taipei world trade center. i had read that there would be some nice discounts on digital cameras at the show. it was pretty crowded and the exhibition was a bit small. not sure if that was because of sars or what. i wish they would of spread the space out some more. we didn't really see any exceptionally good deals so left shortly after arriving.

after the trade show we went to chang an to find my friend eric a late birthday gift. on our way home from there we walked though one of the underground malls, and i couldn't resist this toy:

their heads bob and they remind me of the hawaiian punch guy. apparently they are from an old taiwanese comic called xiao dou dou(little bean bean). i want to try to find one of the comics now to see what it's like. i have the toy, why not the comic? (on further inspection, peter isn't positive these are the same characters from xiao dou dou. we'll have to track down the comic to know for sure.)

Saturday, July 05, 2003

this week's photo friday theme is solitude. i bring you a shot taken tonight at chiang kai-shek memorial hall.

there are lots of nice photos for this theme. i'm quite fond of this, this and this.

this is a portion of a picture i took of the window display of a shop on chang an road. i like to call this shop the afroken shop. i'm not sure what the real name of the place is, but this is where i often go to buy afroken stuff to give to my friends. there are more shop pictures up on on photo action boy(in the 6/29 archives).

Friday, July 04, 2003

the art of scott radke. whenever i see great sites like this, i wish they'd have a book of their art for sale. seeing things on the web is nice, but when it comes to art, if i can't see it in a gallery or a museum, i'd like to have something i can touch. a book of reproductions is the next best thing to seeing the work in person. via dublog.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

my favourite songs of the last 25 years(via coudal partners). a response to the vh-1 list of the top 100 songs. several people have compiled lists of their top 20 from the last 25 years. i tend to have a love/hate relationship with these sort of lists. i can't resist reading them, and find myself disappointed in what always seems to be missing. of course they are someone else's favourites, so why should i be disappointed? a few people have listed the go-go's version of our lips are sealed, am i the only one that prefers the fun boy three version? most of the bands listed seem to be american bands too, but then i guess you have to draw the line somewhere. hmm, maybe i should compile my own list.

speaking of music, here's a list of songs about libraries and librarians(via quiddity). nice to see coil wasn't overlooked. for some reason i expected to see the smiths in that list, maybe it just seems like they should of written a song about a library, but never did.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003


yesterday i went to moca to see their latest show. they had works by the chinese artist feng mengbo. he manipulates video game images to create his art. a few of the pieces are playable, there's even a warped version of ddr(dance dance revolution) for you to play. the museum also had works on display by the video artist gary hill. since a lot of his work is language based, i think most taiwanese wouldn't understand it unless their english is exceptional. i know there are translations in the literature available at the museum, but it's just not the same thing. i thought i knew the name gary hill, and i realized that one of the pieces on display here(tall ships) i had seen a few years ago in seattle with my friend alyssa.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

the 26 things photo scavenger hunt list is out. i was hoping for some more unusual themes, these seem a bit general and less like the scavenger hunt i'd imagined. i'll probably still participate, but my enthusiasm doesn't seem as strong as when i first heard about it.