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October 30, 2004

for others who were a bit dismayed...



Dear James,

Thanks for your email. We are sorry that we make such a big mistake in our
programme book. Please find the mark in the schedule which means 'no
English subtitles'. I'll appreciate very much if you can tell all your
friends about this info. We are really very sorry for the inconvenient.

Hope you can enjoy our festival.

Best Regards,

Weijan LIU

Posted by james at 10:49 PM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2004

this entry is kind of

this entry is kind of embarrassing. just problems. stuff that i just had to spit out. its not pretty, but if you really must look, you can find it here in rich text format.

i will soon replace most of this entry with pictures from tonight's 'growing garden school' halloween festival. stay 'tooned'.

Posted by james at 4:48 AM | Comments (4)

October 28, 2004

my cold feet




yek. the one thing i get disappointed eating in this country, are those mini moon/sun cake snacks, and how its still too hard for me to figure out if im going to bite into a rich nutty paste or a big round egg yolk. not that i don't like eggs, but i guess the american in me would rather have something just a bit closer to the creamy nugget fillings we are accustomed too.

so
john peel died the other day, quite a loss to the music industry indeed. not to mention all the poor bands that no longer have any chance of making it or breaking it on his show.



i still couldn't help laughing when i saw this picture though, it looks just like george!! i hope he considers making it his halloween costume this year. thank you momus for the lovely picture, i wonder if it came from his own wall. i'd certainly like to find one of my own, if anyone knows where i might find a copy.

hearing about this tragic news encouraged me to go on a bit of a internet scavenger hunt for hot 'peel' talk samples to make a little tribute song, and ended up stumbling across this site that has collected mp3's of every song he has recommended to listeners over the past few years. at this point i decided i would try to play ever single one of these songs at once, and record the result.... but i abandoned that idea when i realized my computer ceases to function after around 60 simultaneous quicktime movies. instead i am just going to enjoy the collection as a new playlist on itunes, and dream about what to do when my next music icon passes away. actually, i am really surprised at the diversity of great music peel played. i had no idea the likes of lightning bolt (RI), Schneider TM (with his lovely smiths cover), tarwater, and bobby conn graced his show. obviously i didn't listen to it enough then.



anyhow... bobby conn!? i love bobby conn... i didn't realize he had such international exposure. of course, the last time (and first time) i heard him was on the chic-a-go-go show in chicago where he lip-synced the words to his first hit 'never get ahead giving head to the man'. i highly recommend listening to him if you haven't, and if you are old enough, his music video. see what you can find on his website.



so, i had a lovely, almost relaxing weekend... despite the fact i completely missed otomo yoshihide at the weather brain noise and experimental film festival. actually, i cried a little for the first time in years when i realized the opportunities i missed there. oh well, i had a great time on sunday when peter and will joined yu-wen and I for some mahjong, donggua bing cha, dianxin, and tea.





we spent the half the afternoon and all of the evening playing mahjong, stuffing our faces with snacks, discussing music, and complaining about the lack of english subtitles on the golden horse film festival schedule. i'd really like to do that again, its probably the first time i felt at ease and could forget all of the business i have unfinished. also, as you can see in this small series of photos, we learned how much nicer will's camera is than mine. i really should have considered investing in a half decent camera, rather than buying the first little 4 megapixel camera that came my way.



anyhow, we managed to keep them much later than they had agreed because we discovered that evening that monday was a typhoon holiday due to the beast you see below's anticipated arrival.



fortunately for some it never arrived, im sure it would have done some major damage considering it is literally 5 times the size of taiwan, and called 'noch ten'. anything with the word 'noch anything-over-two' in its name scares me, unless it comes with shaving gel and three replacement razors.

oh yes, speaking of big things that scare me, if recently discovered that earthquakes scare the daylights out of me. i have asked all the earthquake veterans i know what you should do, and everyone has given me a different answer. 'don't stand under doors', 'stand under doors', 'run outside', 'run outside', shenma de. i guess it wouldn't really scare me if i knew what i should do, because then if i was squished under three concrete living-rooms it would simply be bad luck. but, its unsettling to know that if we where in an earthquake, i could croak due to my earthquake ignorance, or because i was running in and out of doors like a chicken with its head cut off.

so...
i bring this up because its a full moon tonight, and earthquakes (at least the bigger ones) usually fall on full moons due to the effects of the tidal waves and gravity of when lat skaaqweewwedifs whatever... i don't really know why. but, anyhow, my roommate told me the story of the man who forecasted the 921 earthquake back in '99 that really messed up taiwan, and i still see plenty of evidence of today. it was a 7.6 on the Richter scale and an estimate of 2,400 people died as a result. well, earth quakes like that usually only come about every 40 years or so, but that doesn't mean we still can't get one. actually, i just read here that the earthquake i felt the other week that knocked off my miniature egg toys, was a 7.1 on the Richter scale! and was the biggest since 921! some other interesting facts... it shakes the earth with the force of 16 atomic bombs, and..... no, i need to stop reading these. anyhow, this one went all the way over to japan and reached a pretty sizable death toll. i guess here it just started some fires, collapsed a few 'already earthquake damaged' abandoned buildings, and stopped the elevators at taipei 101 for a few minutes. im rather glad i live undergrouns. anyhow... read more on it for a better account of what happened, im afraid it will make me a bit woozy.

anyhow... this one man (i don't know anything about him other than he's suppose to be old and lives somewhere in taiwan)... this man, he claims he can hear the vibrations in the earth, and tries to warn people when he hears an earthquake coming. one or two days before 921 hit, he called the weather bureau and told them to evacuate all the large buildings because taiwan was about to be hit by a huge earthquake. well, of course they just figured him a bit of a nut and didn't pay any heed. i don't blame them, their are enough 'oracles' and 'soothsayers' 'palm readers' and 'marriage counselors' in taiwan, and they are probably accustomed to such predictions, but this guy was right on. anyhow, the next two times he 'heard the vibrations coming' was the day before the last two earth quakes. he was right on both times. anyhow, just a few days ago he said that the day of or after this full moon will witness the worst earthquake yet, maybe even bigger than the one in 1935 (not that i am anything close to educated on the subject, or for that matter is he), and my roommate claims that while taiwan continues to ignore him (well, not so much as before the last three he predicted), it was significant and legit enough that CNN and BBC (or others of the like, i can't actually find these yet) reported on it.

so, i guess if i don't update my journal or call home by november 7th for my mother's birthday, you know what happened to me. actually, this has to be my most anticipated birthday telephone call for either one of my parents yet. usually their birthdays pop into my head miraculously the week of, but for some reason i've been thinking of my mothers birthday almost every week since i've come here. maybe thats because her birthday is 11-7, and i only see around a hundred 7-11's here a day. i was going to send her a nice little canvas bag from nushu dian (yu-wen's feminist bookstore, the first in east asia), but then the one i bought got soiled with pen ink, and i spent my monthly 'post-office' allowance on mailing that application to germany anyhow. so, i guess it will be another friendly phone call again this year. i still can't figure out how old she is, all i know is she isn't 37 anymore, because thats what i was told she was for just about every year of my life until i was old enough to know better (like last year). ha, my roommates 37. its still hard for me to believe people have families at that age. biological reasons aside, children should be prohibited from anyone under 60 years old. unless of course your a fairmen, voges, queen, or kirchgessener (why do i still miss spell that?), in which case all your children are bound to be as gorgeous and happy as these two...

(yikes, please mentally project the picture of my two lovely young nieces whose pictures i just received in the mail but have misplaced somewhere between the pages of film festival programs on my bookshelf...)

sappiness aside...




the blow, Y.A.C.H.T. (who's name is a pain to type, but worth it), and dear nora are easily 3 of my top ten favorite bands, and are on a tour right now that will be stopping at the daac november next-thursdayth. i am very jealous, and hope everyone in west michigan attends so that i can at least say 'i would have been trampled to death at the door anyways'.

i liked the internet single release of poor aim: love songs by the blow so much that i accidently put it on three tracks of the rushed mix cd i made for william. oh well, at least its a good song. which i almost mentioned already once in this entry when i mentioned 'light 3000' smiths cover by sch TM. i guess this means i've been typing for two long. oops... too long. no, maybe two long was right, two hours two long. bye bye.




shoot...


i nearly forgot to mention my pleasant reunion with old chinese class pal david from the states a couple weeks back. it was a perfect excuse to dine on all the fine taiwanese original treats at shilin night market, sample all the sweet street-side snacks, and chew on a box of betel-nuts. im glad i got to share that with him, he is one of few people i know that can appreciate these things as much as i do. it was good to have him in town, even if it was only for a few days. for those that know him, here is a short video clip i captured of me sneaking up on him at our ximen ding rendezvous.

ok... im done.

Posted by james at 3:57 PM | Comments (2)

October 22, 2004

so. today was a



so. today was a fine enough day. it will be a nice relaxing weekend. i am seeing Italiensk for Begyndere, the 12th Dogma 95 film, at the women make waves festival this evening. also, i've found my days are a lot less stressful if i take the time to walk home from work (a veritable 4-5 km trip) rather than riding a jam-packed bus. not only does it relieve some stress, but it slows down my day and gives my body a little bit of much needed activity. this also happens to be the same time in which the road i travel picks up trash, which has led me to a series of jolly little discoveries. in the last few days i have found a beautiful old chinese acoustic guitar with all its original strings, a flawless black female mannequin with a coat hanger for a head, a full sized sliding glass door, and several curious cupboard doors that i will soon be painting. today i found a plant pot stand that is the perfect height to sport a 15-inch powerbook at performances. what luck!


also, i've found the bus ride to work to be rather pleasant as its much less busy and i can have a seat. they have recently installed wide/flat-screen televisions in all the busses, and regularly broadcast 'bee tv', a mysterious television network for the public transit system that boasts several series of short animated sketches from various artists. now, this didn't come as a surprise thanks to william's early warning, but i am still a bit bewildered by the content of these programs. while i am still entertained watching the claymations featuring a 'chaplin-esque' penguin and his curious iceberg adventures, the other animations are a bit unusual and i wonder what the average taiwanese commuter thinks about it. for instance, yesterday i saw a short animation featuring an older japanese man, another man, a fat boy, and a chubby younger brother. im not sure what the context was, but i think they were brainstorming what to wear for halloween. anyhow, the older one appears in a donkey outfit, or rather a mask. so the second boy gets the smart idea to dress up as a donkeys rear end. rather entertaining. so, the fat boy disappears, and comes back as a giant peice of donkey poop, complete with real flies circling the mound. of course i am entertained by potty humor such as this and am not that surprised to see it on television, but then i was a bit surprised to see the younger brother dive into the poop, and dress up as a maggot swimming in it, and then have the short end with him, still as a maggot, relaxing on a beach on-top of a mound of feces. of course, it sounds a bit more graphic than it actually was, but... ha. i don't know. this is a public bus... well.... i don't' know. apparently they have a very specific target market in mind. anyhow, today they was another equally toilet-bowl oriented animation that instigated me to write this entry. a man is standing at a urinal preparing to pee when he spies a fly at the bottom and a menacing look crosses his face. so, he pees on the fly. assuming he has killed the fly, the man begins starts laughing victoriously and the fly lifts his urine-heavy body out of the urinal and slowly flys right down the mans throat. and, that was it. again, it made me laugh, but it was an uncomfortable laugh. its something i'd only expect to watch when browsing crude but entertaining websites like 'happy tree friends' or what ever its called.

so. there was an earthquake the other day. and just as well, because i had slept through my chinese class by accident, and it woke me up just in time for my guzheng lesson. see, we sort of had a crazy cat abandoned at our house, and we had to keep him in my room that evening and he had kept me up till 6 in the morning cry and tearing things apart. so things started crashing and the walls began thundering and shaking, i slowly got up and reached for something to throw at the cat. when it ended it got a bit frightened and sort of ran around the house trying to figurer out what had happened and asses the damages. ha. the only thing upset in my room was my collection of vending machine toys that rolled off my shelf and spilled out of their plastic egg containers...



i hate these vending machines, they are devilish little machines. i don't know how they do it, but i can't pass by even one without stopping and checking out the selection. the other day, i only had 100NT left to my name and was saving it for a nice ramen supper, when a YUJIN machine coerced me into going home with a little plastic replica of one instead. its horrible. i thought i could resist all the silly little cellphone decorations and robotic mickey mouse figurines, but when i started noticing models of japanese and chinese cuisine...


so, i've started another collection i guess, food related vending machine toys. i did a bit of research to decide whether it was a feasible goal to collect all of them considering my income, and discovered some interesting things about the vending machine phenomenon in japan. this website reports on an portion of japans variety of vending machine, most interesting for me was the video game vending machines and the sub marine catcher where you can take home live lobsters rather than hello kitty teddy bears.


so far, photomann seems to have the most complete and 'hyper-linked-to' collection, including the only photo i have been able to find of the infamous 'used schoolgirl panties' vending machine that is currently under public scrutiny and liable for charges of 'unlicensed antique dealing'. (sorry, i can't find the link to the newspaper article i originally read this in). apparently that is the closest thing to a crime they could charge the proprietors with, besides public lewdness which the pornography vending machines have cleverly avoided with automated curtains that shield the selections in the day time. ha. for those not into used undergarments, you can also find clean underwear in vending machines nearest hotels.

so far the most interesting ones i have seen are the 'mage knights' and 'warhammer' machines i see outside a few role-playing stores that made me wish my brother was with me. i myself am going to stick to food, but i stretched my boundaries a little bit the other day when i purchased an egg from the "anime pirates eating ramen" series in hope of getting the pirate captain/ramen stand action figurer. for more, check out YUJIN and BAN DAI's websites.



also...




the other day i was exploring my new trial version of adobe aftereffects using some footage i shot that day in the zhongxiao fuxing MRT station. I ended up with a nice little 58 second quicktime movie of people walking down the platform, the first draft of which i'll post here as soon as i can figurer out if my bandwidth will afford it.


im now rather fond of after effects and will be sad to have it expire after 30 days, so if anyone knows where i can find a registration number... that would be very fine indeed! i could really use it next month when editing.




anyhow...




the exact moment i was rendering it, yu-wen MSN'd me and asked if i was interested in going to Germany.

"The Berlin International Film Festival invites 500 young filmmakers from all over the world to attend workshops, share ideas and mingle with international stars and colleagues during the Berlinale Talent Campus Week February 12-17, 2005.

Make connections with a global filmmaking community and get inspired. A six-day programme will touch on the essential issues of filmmaking: the latest technical developments, creative tools, stylistic trends, new markets and philosophical perspectives.

Or apply for the Working Campus and enjoy exciting opportunities to show your skills in several special programmes running parallel to the Campus programme.

The Campus enters its third year under the motto "Designing Your Future" focussing on production design and the "look" of a film. The programme of the workshops, screenings and discussion forums follows the five stages of film-making: philosophy, pre-production, production, post-production and promotion.

Young producers, cinematographers, directors, script writers, actors and actresses, film editors, production designers, art directors, film composers and sound designers can apply. Participants from abroad will receive free accommodation and part of their travel expenses will be met." !!!

i think it may have been fate, considering the application requires a 1-minute long cinematic piece, and that was exactly what finished rendering the moment i read this. so, this got me a bit excited and i have all weekend to work on the application and touch up the short peice for submission. It would really be nice to take a week vacation in berlin...





so, i guess thats it. a rather lengthy entry, i hope you could endure. i didn't mean to spend so much time on it, that was one hour i could have easily spent doing something productive, but... well... i've been more than productive all week so i deserve the break. anyhow, those were some things i was afraid that if i didn't post soon, they'd end up somewhere around all those 'film critiques', 'film festival reports', and 'significant current events in james' personal life' that never quite made it here.
and...
yikes...

im running late for the movie bye

Posted by james at 10:58 PM | Comments (7)

October 21, 2004

laptop love



sure i have plenty to say...

but i am doing the responsible thing and studying instead.

thanks mom and dad for the package!
just in time...

Posted by james at 1:31 AM | Comments (1)

October 14, 2004

dirty shoes






















also... "puppy love" cafe, the goat farm, and a really keen marriage dance from the philippines. we have 50% off tickets for the museum right now. at the moment its like a "matrimony world" or "nuptail island" out of a taiwanese disneyland. its a nice trip. 200$ train ticket, 500$ scooter rental, 100$ ticket to the cultural museum, 10$ to feed goats at goat world, 100$ goat milk pancake meal, and 90$ on several bottles of pocari sweat, and you have yourself a nice 1,000$ day trip.

Posted by james at 10:42 AM | Comments (2)

jayou! jayou!



Posted by james at 10:26 AM | Comments (3)

October 11, 2004

I Lan was fun

for the most part.





more when i shouldn't be sleeping.

Posted by james at 1:15 AM | Comments (4)

October 4, 2004

who are you today?






Posted by james at 11:42 PM | Comments (1)