in my class on saturday we were discussing this article about using bacteria to create different sounds on a cd. this lead to my students asking what is glitch? how do you describe glitch? one of the students had a basic idea about it, but most of the students had never heard of it. i don't really have much glitch in my music collection. but i'll probably bring in some mouse on mars next week for them to get an idea of what glitch sounds like.
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Monday, September 29, 2003
yesterday i met up with my friend cindy to introduce her to a few of my favourite cd and dvd shops. i think it may be a bad thing for two self-confessing music addicts to go cd shopping together, as then there is no level headed party saying are you sure you should be spending so much money on those cds?
anyways, what i got:
- soul of hippopotamus ~ hi-posi
- break trough in grey room ~ william s. burroughs
- a groovy place ~ mike flowers pops
- teenagers film their own life ~ valvola
- best collection with original master(1) ~ hu mei-hong
the hi-posi is very different from the other stuff i've heard from them. a lot less electronic. they cover one of my favourite songs moon river sung in japanese here. on this disc they sound like the love child of kahimi karie and the pascales. it's a good thing.
the burroughs cd is pretty good. i think i prefer dead city radio, but very nice to hear him talking about how cut ups work. there have been a few people in my neighborhood i've been tempted to curse using the cut up method, but knowing my luck the curse would somehow come back at me.
the mike flowers pops is fabulous. i had thought originally that this may be more of a novelty record type release so didn't want it, but then i heard something off it and i realized it was much more. they do amazing cover versions of 1999 and light my fire as well as a velvet underground medley that makes me think of the monochrome set. i wish there were more bands reinventing pop songs from 20 or 30 years ago like this.
valvola i was expecting to sound more like raymond scott or hugo montenegro, but i find it reminds me of spacemen 3 or spiritualized. i rarely listen to those bands anymore, so i'm going to have to give it more time to see if i end up liking it, or just thinking it's ok.
hu mei-hong is an old taiwanese singer. both cindy and i were very excited to find that a bunch of her stuff has been released. this is one of 3 or 4 compilations of her work that has been re-issued. when i put it on initially i wasn't that impressed. i started to wonder if maybe i just wasn't in the mood to listen to it, but then a few songs later i was totally in love with it.
after the cd shops we went to a few dvd shops. at one cindy pulls out a dvd and says you need this. it was a dvd for a hk movie called our dream car. about a young couple and their struggle to buy a car. the most important thing about this film in my book is that it stars the old chinese singer grace ge lan chang. it doesn't look like she sings in this film(i haven't had the chance to watch it yet), like she does in mambo girl. if it would of been mambo girl, i would of bought it without thinking, but as it was a bit expensive by taiwan standards i wasn't sure. cindy of course kept egging me on to get it, and in the end how could i pass on a film starring ge lan? plus the back cover compares it to old doris day films. now i just need to make the time to sit down and watch it.
Posted by robot action boy at 3:30 PM
Friday, September 26, 2003
Thursday, September 25, 2003
when peter and i were in hualien, wherever we would go, people would stare at me. it was like i was a movie star or something. there are a lot less foreigners there, so i really stood out.
at the airport we sat in the seats in the open air just outside the main doors. we'd watch the parade of people catching flights and those that had just gotten off them, and they would in turn stare at me.
this one guy came out of the airport, stared, then walked a little way over from us to make a phone call and continued to stare. i hadn't noticed but peter said he was really staring, but really we should of been staring at him as it turned out he was one of the actors from the gay mini-series crystal boys(i wouldn't of recognized him if peter hadn't mentioned it though). i've blogged about the series before, the show was so popular that a commercial station here even showed it. and currently it's showing on the public television station again. now if only they'd release a dvd version with english subtitles.
oh, and more photos of the temple in hualien can be found here.
Posted by robot action boy at 11:55 AM
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
thanks to scrubbles, i've discovered another must have book: meet mr. product the art of the advertising character. so last night i stopped by eslite books to see if they had it. i was sure i would have to have them special order it for me, but to my great surprise they had it in stock. so i bought it on the spot. it makes a nice companion book to those icon books like krazy kids' food. the book is jam pack full of great mascots for various products.
the only problem i have with these sort of books is that sometimes it's hard to see the pictures because the images disappear into the binding. i hate this, especially when they decide it'll look really cool to spread one image over two pages. yes the image is bigger that way, but i'd rather see the complete image without a chunk of it disappearing into the binding.
after buying the book, i went into the basement to the eslite music store to have a look around, and found perfidia(the spanish album) by nat king cole. i didn't even know this had been re-issued on cd, so i bought it without hesitation and i'm very glad i did. i've wanted this album ever since hearing his songs in spanish on the in the mood for love ost.
Posted by robot action boy at 12:29 PM
Monday, September 22, 2003
pictures from hualien and taroko gorge.
two muoji store fronts. muoji is one of hualien's specialty foods. it's a sticky rice gelatin snack. sort of like taffy but not as hard and much stickier.
four shots of the taroko gorge. the mountains surrounding hualien are made of marble, as is the gorge.
the inside of one of the many temples in hualien.
the masked sculpture near li yu lake.
an old advertising on the side of a building. advertising the service of sewing students names and numbers onto their school uniforms.
the back of a truck advertising a steak house.
the back of another truck that appears to have kogepan advertising beer on it. i'm not sure what they are really advertising though.
part of a mural outside an elementary school about fire fighters.
more pictures(and of a larger size) will appear on photo action boy once i've had the chance to go through them and post them.
Posted by robot action boy at 12:49 PM
Sunday, September 21, 2003
Friday, September 19, 2003
i've had an evil cold for most of this week, and i haven't gone into work in days. this won't stop my plans to go to hualien and to taroko gorge tomorrow. i've been wanting to visit hualien for literally years, but everytime i try, something comes up to interfere with it. due to the trip, i probably won't be blogging again until sunday at the earliest.
Posted by robot action boy at 1:12 PM
Thursday, September 18, 2003
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
thunderbirds and friends a nifty site where you can watch clips from thunderbirds and captain scarlet(among others) hawking cereal, candy bars and other assorted health foods. and if that were not enough you can even see parts of the shows in german, french, japanese and hindi!
Posted by robot action boy at 4:54 PM
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
in taiwan geoscientists predict big eartquake in next six years and in japan a big earthquake has been predicted for tokyo this week. apparently it's earthquake prediction season around here.
Posted by robot action boy at 9:52 PM
Monday, September 15, 2003
on saturday, peter and i went to see down with love as it's just opened here. i really enjoyed it, the sets, the clothes, the music. the audience didn't seem to find it as funny as i did though. peter said that maybe they haven't seen as many old movies so they don't really get the jokes. that may be it, or the subtitles were just missing certain things. i suspect a little of both. despite the great sets and clothes, i wish the film would of had a better visual style to really show off those things. something along how i remember the visual style of parents being. but then those old doris day comedies, don't really have a style like that either.
Posted by robot action boy at 11:55 PM
i finally got around to adding an amazon wishlist to this blog. do people really send gifts to strangers from these things? while looking around amazon, i discovered some of my favourite films as a child have been released on dvd(the love god, the ghost and mr. chicken, escape to witch mountain,...). well, they are on my list in case some kind soul feels like spoiling me(and hey, this blog will be a year old on october third in case you need some sort of justification).
Posted by robot action boy at 2:40 PM
Sunday, September 14, 2003
near the taipei train station, there is what was supposed to be an underground mall. apparently they had some problems, so it was deemed unsafe for businesses to open shops there. but all the doors where the shops should of been have been painted with murals. above you can see one of kids letting lanterns go. there are more shots(and larger) here.
Posted by robot action boy at 1:10 PM
Saturday, September 13, 2003
Friday, September 12, 2003
Thursday, September 11, 2003
today is the mid-autumn festival(or moon festival). here in taiwan, people usually eat mooncakes and have barbecues as well as look at the moon on this date. in the past i've recieved lots of mooncakes, but the last couple of years i haven't recieved as many. it's a shame as i love mooncakes. my work is pretty cheap so they don't give out mooncakes. they give out gift certifcates to 7-11 instead. well, it's better than nothing, but i'd rather have the mooncakes. peter and i will be celebrating tonight by going to his mother's house for a barbecue with most of his family.
Posted by robot action boy at 1:16 PM
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
my fall back into the 80s continues...
- a broken frame - depeche mode
- fame - fun boy three
- sleeps with fishes - pieter nooten & michael brook
- the collection - terry hall
tower had a bunch of things on sale, so i managed to get all this at a cheap price. while i was there they were playing speak and spell by depeche mode. i tried to buy it but was told it was a personal copy of one of the clerks(it did have a price tag on it though). i've wanted the first 2 or 3 depeche mode albums for awhile, but most shops don't carry the older releases. of course i have them on vinyl, but that does me no good when they are sitting at my parents back in the states.
back when i had big hair, it was because i wanted to be terry hall not robert smith. sadly, the first colourfield album(virgins and philistines) has never been re-issued on cd. one of the few places to find songs from that album is on this terry hall collection. there are even a few post-colourfield songs on here which i have not heard and so i'm naturally curious about.
i originally went to tower in search of laibach, as the last time i was there they had this small subrosa section. i'd forgotten about that, until cindy mentioned picking up some laibach there. that section was gone tonight though, and no laibach was in sight.
Posted by robot action boy at 11:26 PM
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Monday, September 08, 2003
over the weekend there were several rallies. one for calling taiwan taiwan and scrapping the name republic of china. and two more for remaining the republic of china or reuniting with china. i walked through a crowd of people for the call taiwan taiwan rally on my way to work on saturday. they all seemed rather excited and peaceful. there were a lot of students gone at the school that day too. i'm not sure if that was just a coincidence or if they were at the rally. the people calling for reunification with china seem rather frightening to me though.
Posted by robot action boy at 1:32 PM
Sunday, September 07, 2003
some days i think it's wiser if i never step foot into second hand cd shops. i stopped by one today thinking i'd only buy one or two things and ended up buying entirely more than i planned to:
- chat chat - takako minekawa
- the age of consent - bronski beat
- one more time - nancy sinatra
- tin drum - japan
- gentlemen take polaroids - japan
- be gentle with my heart - roger nichols and a circle of friends
- gluon - hi-posi
i've been in a bit of an 80s mood lately. hence the japan and bronski beat cds. the bronski beat cd i actually picked up more for the extra track of their version of i feel love done with marc almond. the liner notes are interesting, but i wish they would of included the lyrics. i seem to recall hearing that the original pressing of this on vinyl came with an inner sleeve listing the age of consent in different countries. nothing like that is included with this, and i'm starting to wonder if it was just a rumour. the nancy sinatra disc is apparently a country album, but it includes a version of nights in white satin so we'll see how country it really is, after i get a chance to listen to it.
Posted by robot action boy at 12:37 AM
Friday, September 05, 2003
last night the public television station here had a show on old taiwanese 78s. a few things i learned from this show:
- in 1914 the first taiwanese recordings were released in japan. these recordings were of hakka origin.
- in 1928 the first japanese recordings were released in taiwan.
- in the 1930s the most popular recordings in taiwan were of taiwanese opera. the government(read:the japanese) were not so happy about this, as apparently it was in these songs that people expressed their disatisfaction with things.
- taiwanese opera is from ilan and grew out of a local song tradition. when the taiwanese opera recordings were first played for the people of ilan, some of them didn't believe it was possible, and the record player had to be taken apart to prove that there were no drums hidden within.
- in 1928 western music was introduced to taiwan and dances such as the fox trot became all the rage.
after seeing this program, i stumbled upon this page on the history of taiwanese pop music. they even have mp3s of some of the songs they talk about. the information on this page seems to be a little different from the show i'd seen, and oddly enough they don't mention nagashi. nagashi is basically a taiwanese version of japanese enka music. but to my ears much more interesting than the japanese or korean enka i have heard. i've been led to believe that nagashi is a style of music, but maybe it's not known widely by that name and some of the music written about on that page is indeed nagashi.
Posted by robot action boy at 11:46 PM
Thursday, September 04, 2003
it's been awhile since i've done a photo friday. but i'm trying to get back into the swing of things. this week's challenge(set to end tomorrow) is neighborhood.
so here's a shot of a building not far from my house. i'm fascinated by these old doors i see around taipei, but they seem to lose something when viewed at a smaller size.
Posted by robot action boy at 1:45 PM
when i was walking home last night, i passed this sars poster. a lot of the sars posters are gone now, but there are still a few around.
Posted by robot action boy at 11:30 AM
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
yesterday i got two books by kyoichi tsuzuki from amazon.co.jp. the books are roadside japan and satellite of love. i've wanted roadside japan since i read about it, but i heard it was out of print, so i took a chance when i saw it on amazon. unfortunately, this is a pocketsize edition with no english in it. i was hoping for more of a coffee size table book so that the pictures would be larger. despite its small size, i'm happy to have it to thumb through and discover these odd places in japan. the other book is larger, and is chock full of photos of various japanese love hotels. i like it, but for some reason in my imagination i expected this to be even more wild than it is. some are, but i guess i expected more.
Posted by robot action boy at 3:53 PM
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
the still under construction 101 building, the tallest building in the world for the time being. recently some of my students were telling me that this building is destined for bad luck as the ground it is built on is where the japanese used to execute people during the japanese occupation. the building has already had its share of bad luck. near this building is a hyatt hotel, which i've been told is also built on unlucky ground, so they've had a tibetan monk come and do some ceremony to purify it. apparently, in the lobby hangs special calligraphy to ward off bad luck. i've no idea if the 101 plans to do something similiar or if this is all merely hearsay.
Posted by robot action boy at 2:06 PM