Sunday, November 30, 2003

warren ellis takes a somewhat scathing look at the state of pop music today. his comments on things like american idol seem dead on(and don't even get me started on things like those morons chip and reichen(and their idoiotic worshippers) or the stupidity of terms like meterosexual(a term that reinforces old stereotypes that all gay men are good dressers and that straight men can't possibly be good dressers)).

his criticism of bands like the vines makes me think of the fact that they are being pushed on television here much in the same way that linkin park and avril lavigne were in the past. maybe it's just me, but i tend to be rather suspect of bands being pushed by major labels on television.

it does often seem that there isn't much good new music being made, but it's there. you just have to look a little harder. i'm thinking in particular of the siesta label which has brought us lots of good music, or the lo-fi sounds of the pancakes from hong kong, or bands like don tiki, tipsy, twink, not to mention momus or sketch show. via die puny humans.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

this week's photofriday challenge is foreign.

a woman with cartoon eyes qualifies as foreign in my book. this is an advertisement for instant noodles that i found in one taipei's underground malls.

it's nice to see a more versatile challenge for a change. seems like the latests challenges haven't been that inspiring. but there are lots of interesting shots being submitted for this one.

Friday, November 28, 2003

as you can see from the button on the sidebar, i've become a secret santa. you can become one too. it's quite simple. and who doesn't love getting gifts? all you need to participate is a website, email address and an amazon wishlist(and something on that wishlist that isn't too expensive(ie under u.s.$20)). then on december 10th they'll email you with the info on who you are buying for. this of course means ideally someone else will be buying for you too.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

the onion av club interviews burt bacharach. were oasis really so important in the re-evaluation of burt bacharach? i guess my newfound respect for him came more through exposure to pizzicato five(and everything they referenced) than some hyped uk rock band. via the exoticalist.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

this week's photofriday challenge is gatherings.

a gathering of manicans. i haven't done a photofriday in awhile mainly because the challenges haven't interested me very much. when i did try either my shots didn't turn out(ie really out of focus) or lack of time just made it impossible to get them done. hopefully i'll be back on scheldule now though.

also there are photos up on photo action boy of kaoshiung from the few hours we killed there before flying home after being in kenting.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

the gallery of monster toys. i just wish their photos weren't so grainy and sometimes unclear. but still pretty cool. via irregular orbit.

oh, and i've posted volume one of my goodbye tower series at art of the mix.

Monday, November 24, 2003

last night i spent some time over at photoblogs checking out the photoblogs listed there. i came across a few interesting ones. i really like the icelandic shots on misc photography and there are some nice shots on dupe as well.

i also found this write up about transferring photos to canvas. it sounds like a cool idea. i may try it, or maybe just to t-shirts. i'm not sure if i can find all the materials needed here, but i'd still like to try.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

yesterday i met up with my friend sem who is visiting from osaka. i asked him to pick up some things for me from osaka, among those things were five packages of glico chocolate. in japan it's quite common to have little toys sold with chocolate. instead of a toy these each come with a 3" cd single(one song only) re-issue. the majority of these are rather uninteresting, but i was lucky. out of the five one was a ymo single(right picture) and one was a tigers single(left picture). the ymo one was what i was really after, but i'm very happy to have both of these even if i ended up with three that are not very interesting.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

when did genesis p-orridge get breasts? oh my. via die puny humans.

Friday, November 21, 2003

i've posted my first mix to the art of the mix site. it's all old chinese and taiwanese singers. basically music from the 40s-70s. i love seeing what people put on their mixes. sometimes you can tell a lot about a person by what they put on a mix, it's like looking through a person's music collection or the books on their shelves.

also i finally got more pictures up on photo action boy of that taoist/buddhist parade as well as the trip to kenting.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

yesterday i discovered that the two towers 4 disc set has been released here. so i bought it(the clerk made a point of telling me it was region three, and i told him i knew). last night we sat down and watched the extended director's cut. i'd forgotten how much i'd enjoyed this film. nice to see something good again after the disappointing kill bill and matrix movies. i once told a friend that i thought the lord of the rings series of films were this generation's star wars. i'm not sure how accurate that is. i mean are there kids going around pretending they are frodo or gandalf or gollum? maybe it's just when i watch lord of the rings it reminds me of how i felt when i watched the star wars movies. of course lord of the rings has a superior director(not to mention the books it's based on), so that may have something to do with it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

here's something i could really use the next time i go to the movies: the cell phone jammer. doesn't look like it'd silence everyone in the theater but it may silence those close to me...via j-walk.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

tonight on the taxi ride home, on the radio they played rem's radio free europe. i was a bit surprised to hear them playing that, if it had been a huge hit like shiny happy people i wouldn't have been surprised, but regardless i was happy to hear it as i've always had a soft spot for early rem.

this makes me think of the songs and odd places i have heard music.

in one of taipei's underground malls, i once heard kate bush. i was surprised to hear kate bush at all, but this wasn't one of her super huge hits like running up that hill but something less well known, maybe sat in your lap.

in this same mall i once heard the smiths. if they would have been playing how soon is now? it wouldn't have been so odd, as a cover version of that song was used as the theme for charmed, which was quite popular here. but this was something else, but i forget which song. if you would have told me when i was a smiths obsessed teenager that in 15 years i'd be hearing them in a mall in asia i would've thought you had gone mad. unexpectedly hearing the smiths or kate bush does put me in quite a good mood though.

one time i heard pizzicato five in the post office. when it first came on i wasn't even sure what it was. i just knew i knew it. once i realized it was pizzicato five i had to control my enthusiasm so the clerks wouldn't think i had lost my mind. i promptly ran home to figure out which song it was. it turned out to be something off their self-titled album.

Monday, November 17, 2003

what could be finer than bobbing headed sherman and mr. peabody toys? but where is the bobbing way back machine? via everlasting bort.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

tonight peter and i went to see matrix revolutions. when it started i thought maybe it would turn out not to be bad, but sadly that was not to be the case. still, i think i liked it more than matrix reloaded. the story was ok, but there was too much bad dialogue(and not cheesy good dialogue, but cheesy bad dialogue where i just wish they'd finish saying whatever they were trying to say). one thing i did like about the film was how multi-ethnic the cast was. it's nice to see a film that isn't completely wonder bread.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

commercials of the brothers quay. oddly, they are referred to as the quay brothers on this site. i don't recall seeing any of these commercials before, though i'm quite familiar with their shorts. according to this page, they have done commercials for coca-cola, slurpee, as well as nikon. i'd love to see some of those. they seem like such an odd choice to do commercials, especially considering how dark most of their own work is. via scrubbles.

Friday, November 14, 2003

after splurging on all those cds yesterday, it got me to wondering - what do normal(if there is such a thing) people spend their extra cash on? just about everyone i know is music obsessed to a certain degree, but there must be people out there that aren't obsessed with collecting something, so what do they spend their money on? cars? their kids? their house? prostitutes? or do they just put it in their mattress and sleep on it?

Thursday, November 13, 2003

this afternoon i discovered the tower records in hsiminting is going under. everything in the store is on sale for 50% off. i bought a ton of stuff in the afternoon, and then went back in the evening to help cindy splurge, and of course splurged a bunch more myself. apparently i have no self control. i mainly picked up old favourites such as fad gadget, siouxsie, sisters of mercy, cocteau twins, gary numan, madness... i even managed to score a cornelius ep i was missing that i have been trying to find at a decent price for years. and now i have it. oh happy day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

i recently finished the first lemoney snicket book which i quite enjoyed. cheshire dave has a review of the cover here. he liked the cover but complains about the font. i guess designers are really picky about fonts, because if he hadn't mentioned that it was the same font as used for les miserables i would of never noticed. does familiarity with a font automatically make it useless in other settings? i guess when i look at a font i'm more interested in if it fits in well with the theme or context of how it is used. i don't sit there thinking oh no, such and such used this font. so i cannot touch that one. of course maybe that is why i am not a designer. i do wish the cover of the book didn't imitate a cloth cover but was actually a cloth cover. but oh well.

this reminds me of the schocken classic franz kafka books that came out in the 80s. the whole series has nice covers with woodblock prints as the illustrations. i really loved the feel and design of those books. they seemed to really suit the kafka stories, but later i discovered other books using the same design. i was really disappointed as it rendered the kafka covers less unique. maybe schocken saw it as the style for their whole classic series, but i would of rather seen each author given a unique style. of course it could be that kafka wasn't even the first in this style, but just the first one i saw. regardless, i was disappointed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

well, no trip is without its problems, and this trip to kenting was no different. this time the major problem was one night when we were walking past the police station and a police car decided it would be good fun to back over me! i was pulled out of the way, but did the cop stop to see if i was all right? well, no. he was too busy talking on his cellphone while driving. urgh.

in this one area of kenting, there is a place where natural gas has reached the surface and so continual fires burn. apparently it's better to see during the winter and drier seasons as the fires are bigger. during the day you can buy eggs that have been cooked(still in their shells) . outside the grounds are several vendors selling fireworks as well as popcorn(just like jiffypop!) for you to cook or set off near and around the fires. i think this vendor was a little annoyed at me for taking this picture and interrupting her task of rearranging the popcorn.

i was pretty surprised to find a snoopyland in kenting. on my first trip to tokyo i stumbled upon the one in harajuku. that one even has a lifesize peanuts school bus inside. this one has nothing quite as exciting on the inside. lots of expensive snoopy stuff though. i think i'll stick to buying peanuts stuff for my friends at the cheaper shops in taipei thank you.

we saw three kinds of beaches in kenting. sand, rock and coral. these are a couple of shots at one of the rock beaches. the top one looks like some sort of honeycomb spacerock. the other one is what we like to call tofu rock. as it looks like tofu. you can't really tell in these poor pictures, but the rocks are really odd looking. do other beaches have rocks like this? i'm not that much of a beach person, so i've only seen rock formations like this here in taiwan. i wonder if they have similiar formations in japan?

this is a shot of the shallow bathtub in the hotel we stayed in. since it is off season, our hotel was dirt cheap. 800 nt(about u.s. $23) for a saturday night(sunday the prices went even lower). the hotel wasn't super nice, but it had some nifty things, like the bathtub, and the fact that on the ceiling were pasted glow in the dark stars. the window in the bathroom door was also nice(pictured below).

Monday, November 10, 2003

well, we are back. above is just one of the many sites we saw down in kenting. more details about the trip will be blogged about tomorrow or sometime this week.

before we left, i received a very nice email from david chin asking me if i'd like to participate in this project he has called a picture's worth. this is his site where he invites photographers to submit a photo and to write a short essay on what that photograph means to them. i shot him a quick email before we left telling him i'd have to think about it. at first i didn't think i'd have much to write about. i mean taking a photo is much easier than writing about what it means to you. but after giving it more thought i'm prettty certain i will do it. just a matter of sitting down and selecting the photo and writing the brief essay.

Friday, November 07, 2003

tomorrow peter and i are flying down to kaoshiung, and from there we'll take a bus to kenting. won't be back until monday night. so there'll be no new entries until monday at the earliest.

tomorrow is also my 36th birthday. so today i opened the presents i had here. my parents sent me some legendary pink dots cds and my friend paul sent me the first two lemony snicket books. peter gave me a new md player which i've been using for about a week(he gave it to me early), and will come in handy on the bus ride tomorrow.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

today i got a set of copyleft artist trading cards in the mail. just earlier today i was thinking that i should send another set in, when i get mine from the last set i contributed to. i guess i'll have to compile a new set to send in now. in each set there are usually some cards i don't care for, and this set seemed to have a few more i didn't care for than usual. but i like this one pictured, even if it reminds me a lot of a real baseball card.

also in the mail i got a birthday package of cds from my parents. i'm not sure what they are as i haven't opened it yet. i was really hoping for dvds, but they thought i couldn't play region one discs. which of course i can.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

as if i didn't i have enough dvds to watch, the golden horse film festival is about to start. this is the biggest film festival in taiwan. it looks like there are lots of interesting things playing this year, but i need to check my scheldule to see what i can see.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

apparently since taiwan joined the WTO some dvd and cd releases that were previously legal are soon not to be. so some shops are selling off the cheapo dvds they still have in stock at wonderfully cheap prices. these are mostly old movies(often times dubbed from vhs copies i believe) of varying qualities. so i bought up a bunch in the last couple of days:

  • the prize
  • the hunchback of notre dame
  • the lost weekend
  • it happened one night
  • pygmalion
  • marty
  • the third man
  • the wizard of oz
  • the diary of anne frank

now i just need to find the time to sit down and watch some of these.

Monday, November 03, 2003

two zombies later is a double cd compilation of music created by members of the exoticalist. the only way to get it is to download it. some famous people/bands(tipsy, brother cleve, don tiki, der plan,...) and not so famous people are on this compilation. i've downloaded it but haven't given it a listen yet.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

this week's photofriday challenge is night.

this is the first photo friday i've done since i've gotten my nikon coolpix 5400 which i'm quickly falling in love with. i'm still learning to use the features on this camera, so the pictures i'm taking these days aren't the greatest. this shot is of some sort of amusement center in hsiminting. the ground floor has mainly those machines filled with different objects of desire where you use a claw to try to obtain them. i think the higher floors contain different kinds of photo sticker machines, as those are still quite popular here.

the last couple of photofriday themes haven't appealed to me that much. my sister commented recently that the notables for the body theme looked like they had just been chosen at random. it always seems to be a mystery as to how they go about picking what they consider a notable. i'll often see a picture that is visually interesting and fits the theme well, and think this'll definately be a notable just to see it passed by for something oftentimes less interesting or less original. but then i don't envy the person who has to sift through some 200 + pictures to pick the ones they feel are notable.

back to the fifties room. this almost looks more like a store than a just a room. makes me miss wandering through thrift stores in search of that long forgotten curiousity from the 20th century.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

today there was a gay pride march in taipei. i saw some of the participants as i walked from the mrt to work this afternoon. such queer visiblity is rather rare in taiwan, so such an event is a good thing(especially if participants are made up of more than your typical butch lesbian and flaming gay man). it'll be even better if the human rights bill that inlcudes a clause for leagalizing gay marriage is passed. it could happen, as taiwan wants to be seen as a progressive and modern society. but when it comes to things like this i'll believe it when it happens.

today after work peter and i went to guang hua to buy my new camera. my old canon seems almost primitive after playing with this nikon. one feature i really like about the nikon is that it has a usb connection that will download pictures directly to a hard drive. so there's no need for seperate software. this makes it much more convenient if i want to take pictures while travelling, especially if i want to leave the pictures with people i'm taking them of. the focus also is much much sharper than my little canon. tomorrow i plan on giving it a proper test run.