tv on the radio [video]

did you know that tv on the radio had such a sense of humor? because i didn't.

sleeper train to malaysia [photography]

on the subway i realized i'd forgotten my toothbrush. by the time i was gaping at the ochre stained glass panels in cavernous hua lumphang station, i'd forgotten what i'd forgotten.
reading on the train, murakami said, "...metaphors eliminate what separates you and me." can we believe that?
later, a monk shared my compartment. he had a cell phone, smoked, and farted discreetly but not silently; 3 surprises. thais consider it disrespectful to drink in front of monks, which was really ok with me because i needed to get up and walk around anyways.
first thought on being woken by rough and tumble coupling at the border crossing: it is strange when a thing - even a thing as typecast as a sleeper car - turns out to be just exactly as you imagined it would be.
every stop for the last 3 hours was interchangeable: a dozen or so mossy colonial buildings, a pile of impatient scooters waiting at the nearest crossing, a few cacti, red clay.

DOWNLOAD: train to chicago (live) - mike doughty [mp3]

michael jordan, 1983 [photography]

click for a great set of candid photos of michael jordan as a college student in 1983.

red dust [books]

from the new york times, 09.28.09:
BEIJING — Domesticated pigeons of this city, take note: Until Oct. 1, you are prohibited by government edict from flying over the center of China’s capital.

Do not take it personally, however. The government is preparing to observe the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China with a parade that will make 76 trombones look like a child’s plastic kazoo. And nothing — not unauthorized window-peeping, nor marchers’ mental health, nor even the chance that pigeons might muck up displays of aerial might — is being left to chance.

China’s government at times resembles an exasperated parent trying to rein in a pack of rebellious children. Its edicts are persistently flouted by censor-dodging Internet users, wayward local officials and rioting Uighurs.

But when it comes to the impending National Day celebration in Beijing, the government appears fully in control. When swarms of soldiers, throngs of tanks and flocks of floats roll past Tiananmen Square on Thursday, 10,000 police officers and security guards will monitor Beijing street corners and checkpoints for evidence of potential party-spoilers. As many as 800,000 volunteers have also been enlisted to help maintain security.

Knife sales have been banned in at least some stores. Beijing’s international airport will be closed Thursday for three hours. Along the parade route, the authorities have forbidden parade-watchers from opening windows or standing on balconies.

Three journalists from the Japanese Kyodo news agency said that when they stood on a hotel balcony to cover a Sept. 18 parade rehearsal, the authorities stormed into the room and assaulted them.
(continue reading)

ma jian, from the guardian, 06.02.09:
Two thousand years ago, contemplating the relentless flow of time, Confucius gazed down at a river and sighed, "What passes is just like this, never ceasing day or night ..." In China, time can feel both frozen and unstoppable at the same time. The Tiananmen massacre that 20 years ago ravaged Beijing, killed thousands of unarmed citizens, and altered the lives of millions, seems now to be locked in the 20th century, forgotten or ignored, as China continues to hurtle blindly towards its future. (continue reading)
this makes me wonder about change. and fear. and control. reading ma jian's red dust: a path through china this past week i couldn't help feeling vicariously stifled by the impositions of the chinese government upon its citizens in the 1980s (in addition to what we hear about today). ma writes in such a way that i felt as if my own inherent-feeling freedoms were being manacled, and yet i exalted with the freedom and transience that ma created for himself as he wandered through cities, villages and wilderness, alternating between such diametrics as honored guest, fugitive and foreigner in his homeland. red dust is blue highways with lunatic stubbornness. having cast off not only his job and home, but also refusing to turn back when he is utterly without money, food, or contacts, ma becomes a modern nomad. despite often lamenting that he must keep going because he (his life) doesn't have a destination, ma attains freedom by thinking and choosing for himself - acts that single him out as a threat to the perceived harmony of new communism. by simply wandering across his home country, ma was revolting against the strongholds of tradition, conservativism, and leadership-imposed fear. it's unfortunate, though not surprising, that ma's books are banned in china today.

from red dust:
i leave the asphalt road and turn left down a dusty track that takes me through rolling sand dunes. a few hours later, the sun starts to sink and i realize that i might not make it to anxi before dark. i see a water tower near the horizon, and a ragged line of roofs. trucks move like boats across the heat haze behind. as the sun sinks lower, everything glows with a golden light. i drop my bag and lie down on my back in the sand. no wonder horses roll to the ground when they are tired. i feel better with my hooves in the air. i kick off my shoes and let my steaming toes suck the wind. then i open my bottle, drink some water and splash some onto my face. my mind turns yellow. i hear a ringing in my ears - perhaps it is the noise of the sunlight, or the desert wind blowing through the telegraph wire. the water i swallowed charges through my veins. eighty percent of my body is water. my cells float in a sea. i am floating, too, but my ocean is larger than theirs. i have the sky. i have freedom.
i jump to my feet, check my compass and continue west, chanting a verse from
leaves of grass.

allons! to that which is endless as it was beginningless,
to undergo much, tramps of days, rests of nights,
to merge all in the travel they tend to, and the days and nights they tend to,
again to merge them in the start of superior journeys...

allons, ma jian, allons.

BLAST [literature]

// vorticism.


london fgss [bikes]

the other day i got an email from londonfgss.com, about 2 accidents in london involving cyclists. in short, the email was to inform riders that 1) the accidents had occurred, and 2) that the site was organizing some action groups to make a respectful and responsible showing (ghost bikes, etc.) by involved cyclists who care about bicycle safety. since i live in bangkok, it would be easy to write this off as being far off and not my concern. but what got me about this email was the reminder of how great it is that this cycling community is actually involved and responsible. as an online hub, of course the messageboards are full of banter and cajoling and one-up-manship, but the activity of so many members and the willingness to lend a helping hand - whether offering a first time rider mechanical tips or extending a public show of solidarity in support of the families and friends of victims of accidents - are inviting. but the fact that these people get off the internet and organize rides and races and really look out for one another is what makes this a great community of cyclists. anyways, this is a shout to the great people over at londonfgss.com. they're doing it right and any city would be lucky to have such a knowledgeable, tight-knit community.

no impact man [film]

a couple of years ago i ran across the beginnings of author colin beavan's then-new project/blog 'no impact man.' as i followed the blog and learned about the mostly insane concept - an attempt by one family of 3 to exist for one year in new york city without making a carbon footprint - i became more and more intrigued. over time, my following of the blog flagged, and now the release of beavan's documentary has snuck up on me. jeremy saw the thing and said his feelings about it match pretty closely with the review from the av club below.
Being a conscientious consumer in the modern world means being made acutely aware, time and again, of your own hypocrisy. You can use paper instead of plastic, dutifully maintain your recycling bin, buy organic and locally produced foods when possible, replace all the bulbs in your house with energy-efficient fluorescents, and still leave a massive carbon footprint from food packaging, new clothes, diapers, electricity, paper, transportation, and the hundreds of pounds of trash every person generates annually. The value of No Impact Man, a compelling and suitably exasperating documentary about one family’s attempt to not harm the environment for a year, is that it forces viewers to reflect on their own casual consumption and waste. The experiment is inevitably compromised—and as a self-promotional venture, it just spreads more waste—but that only makes the film more engaging and provocative.

Like a literary Morgan Spurlock, author Colin Beavan devised his “No Impact Man” persona as a high-concept hook for a blog and a book about his family’s attempt at spartan living in the middle of New York City. (full article)

link: the book
link: "the year without toilet paper" (nytimes, 2007)


siggi eggertson [illustration]

400 pieces layered together. a little hard to watch, but at the same time it's fun.

link: from before


lumpini monitor [monsters // bangkok]

it was a sunday in bangkok like any other sunday bangkok. and then. when we were walking in the park. a monster came out of one of the ponds (see borrowed photo above, i was without camera). we were, like, totally enthralled. and then. it ate a snake. a red snake. and the snake was biting the monitor's face but he totally didn't even care. it's true.

turns out the old lumpini monitor is harmless to humans and the name in thai used to be a word that is (still) a shocking insult but the current name means "silver and gold". the one we saw was probably 7 feet long, nose to tail. they really look like dinosaurs. i'm failing at this post.

LINK: learn more



click it. thanks to eric for the link. and for being my brother.

2666 [books]

you can't believe the rain we're having. lightning like the sun shorting out and our soi (lane) a shin-deep canal of guttural [sic] backwash for days. what better reason for two people to stay in and share the three volume edition of roberto bolano's 2666? excerpt and links below.
It was raining in the quadrangle, and the quadrangular sky looked like the grimace of a robot or a god made in our own likeness. The oblique drops of rain slid down the blades of grass in the park, but it would have made no difference if they had slid up. Then the oblique (drops) turned round (drops), swallowed up by the earth underpinning the grass, and the grass and the earth seemed to talk, no, not talk, argue, their incomprehensible words like crystallized spiderwebs or the briefest crystallized vomitings, a barely audible rustling, as if instead of drinking tea that afternoon, Norton had drunk a steaming cup of peyote.

But the truth is that she had only had tea to drink and she felt overwhelmed, as if a voice were repeating a terrible prayer in her ear, the words of which blurred as she walked away from the college, and the rain wetted her gray skirt and bony knees and pretty ankles and little else, because before Liz Norton went running through the park, she hadn’t forgotten to pick up her umbrella.


waltz with bashir [film // animation]

maybe you've seen this because it came out last year. half way around the world it's hard to keep up. if you need persuading, it was nominated for best foreign film. click here if the streaming video above doesn't work. i need to learn more about beirut.


dumpling week 2009 [food // taiwan]

in an effort to commemorate and, in some sense, memorialize my time in taiwan coming to an end, i decided to stage dumpling week 2009 both as a sendoff to myself and as a gastronomic homage to my favorite taiwanese food: the dumpling. the festivities (meals, to the layperson) took place between the end of july and the first few days of august 2009 in various cities and locations in taiwan, and included dumplings of varied fillings and preparations. despite that i was negligent in photographing most of my meals, i have to consider this years dumpling week a resounding success, and i look forward to future fests. full report after the jump.

saturday, july 25
as a kickoff to the week, i ate a meal of boiled pork and cabbage dumplings (shway jiao), dredged sweet potato leaves, and spicy cucumber salad with mauriah at a restaurant with pictures of the beatles on the walls. this move could be considered risky, since this is my favorite dumpling shop and i've chosen to eat here first. i'm thinking high-risk, high-reward. as usual, the dumplings were perfectly cooked and delectable; bonus points for sweet potato leaves (hua yeh tsai), also a favorite.

sunday, july 26
off day due to previously arranged thai dinner with friends.

monday, july 27
boiled pork dumplings and dry tofu at 88. 88 is an excellent cold-weather eatery for spicy soups and can be counted on for consistently good dumplings, but i think their dumplings would be better with a thinner noodle.

tuesday, july 28
pork and chive dumplings in spicy beef broth (neo-roh tang jiao) and spicy cucumber salad at hope noodle, a small local chain. dumplings in soup is a top 5 rainy day comfort food. ignoring that fact, i stepped into a location of hope noodle that i've never been to before on a sweltering july evening. with a sweat-pocked brow, i slurped this classic and it was well worth it. great remedy for evening grumpiness between tutoring appointments.

wednesday, july 29
hump day double-up! my first dumplings of the day were boiled vegetarian dumplings at a family-owned vegetarian shop, name unknown, with mauriah. these guys were joined on the table by various steamed vegetables and some fried noodles. i actually love these dumplings for their inconsistencies. sometimes they blast you with fresh ginger, but today they were earthy. bonus points for being pocketbook friendly.

second dumpling pitstop: previously unknown shop, with mauriah. i ate one bamboo steamer tray of steamed pork soup dumplings (xiao long bao) and drank water, mauriah had a taiwan beer. this style of dumpling - with a bit of soup inside the noodle - is traditionally eaten with fresh ginger soaked in rice wine vinegar, and the shop-owner's spread was spot-on. these slightly oily, hardier dumplings were a surprise treat on a long late night walk.

thursday, july 30
boiled pork dumplings and tofu at a nondescript place near my former night job. always good, but rarely cooked perfectly, these were true to form; nostalgia helped buoy this unremarkable meal.

friday, july 31
denied! a favorite spot which makes very rare pan-fried pork dumplings would not sell them to me to go. *note: said dumplings would have joined us for a burner between the uni/7-11 lions and the la new bears in which the reigning champion lions held off a late bears rally for a 6-4 win.

saturday, august 1
pork soup dumplings at my favorite breakfast shop. i rarely eat breakfast, but this was my farewell meal, eaten on the hsinchu train platform with spicy soy sauce. a-mazing. i almost had to choke out the cleaning lady when she tried to "clean up" my unfinished dumplings.

sunday, august 2
in hualien, having just spent a great day at taroko gorge, we made a short pilgrimage to a dumpling shop we noticed the night before with a ridiculously long line. after some mumbo-jumbo from this impatient guy behind us, a former co-worker randomly came out of the crowd. after catching up, i was able to order a few steamed, especially bready pork dumplings [bao-dz']. believe the hype. these bao-dz' (pictured above) were so delicious that after eating i spilled my lemonade in rejoice. mauriah and some old taiwanese guy laughed about it at length. i wasn't even mad.

thus closed dumpling week. it was epic. i think i gained weight. i haven't eaten that much meat in one stretch since i was a regular for tailgating at miller park. i hope for more chances of this unnecessarily idiotic nature in the future.

sentencelessness + bangkok

the lights are back on at sentencelessness, and homebase has moved to bangkok. above are photos mauriah and i took while adrift [more here]. there are new things, and it might take some shaking to get the dust off 'em, but i'll work on it. for now, what's important is that this is happening again. and mauriah takes a boat to work, which is its own thing.