word clouds generated by google books [link]
word clouds generated by google books [link]
Edmund Dulac, The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allen Poe - 1912
Dublin was excellent but phenomenally tiring - any time I was not actually seeing people and doing conference things, I was essentially huddled in bed in my hotel room (fortunately it was quite a nice room - I put up the Do Not Disturb sign and just left it up!).
Interesting interview with Richard Preston at the New York Times about current plans to update his thriller-like account of Ebola as of the early 1990s, The Hot Zone. I vividly remember reading this during my first year of grad school - my roommate LeeAnn had the hardcover and I devoured it! I have been following Ebola developments closely and with interest: my two main fantasy alternate careers are neurologist and epidemiologist, and I am a little sorry that I am not involved in planning and organizing ways to contain the epidemic.
I am relieved to see that Preston admits that one bit of the book is especially in need of correction (I always wondered!):
In the original “Hot Zone,” I have a description of a nurse weeping tears of blood. That almost certainly didn’t happen. When a person has Ebola, the eyes can turn brilliant red from blood vessels leaking and blood oozing out of the eyelid. That’s horrifying, but it’s not someone with tears of blood running down their face. I want to fix that.Here's his piece in this week's New Yorker.
Here is an interesting conundrum for Google: it has created an algorithm that’s significantly better at reading street numbers in Street View images, which helps it give you more accurate directions. At the same time, though, it turns out that this algorithm is so good, it can decipher 99 percent of CAPTCHAs (those squiggly text puzzles you often have to solve to prove you are human).
I’m alone. There is not anyone here. To feel really alone is a high. Human beings, by their nature, are social animals. My needs are basically food, and something to read. Other than that, I have very little interest in anything else. By habit, I like to wander around Tokyo, but usually I don’t give a thought to where I’’m going or what direction. I walk out the door of my family home here, and I go either left or right. I never have regrets if I make the wrong decision. Or give it special meaning if something fantastic happened on that trip. My life is simply an act of reflecting and then moving on as fast as I can.
As I mentioned, I have been out of work for the past two years. When I worked, I was a good worker, in fact, my fellow co-workers were satisfied with me. But then I decided to change. There was no reason why I did so. I just woke up and chose not to go to work. I needed the money (still do by the way), but I said to myself “Nah, I’m not going to work.” It was just an odd moment, because there was nothing in my past, or present that would make me follow such a crazy impulse. I only did something like that once before, when after a sound night’s sleep I woke up and then sold my car and never drove since then. Why? Because I needed to leap into the unknown, but I never studied my impulses. I’m a creature of habit, but at times and unexpectedly, I can make the change into a habit as well.
So here I’m in Tokyo, and I haven’t the foggiest idea of what I’m going to do in the future -meaning next year, next month, next week, and tomorrow, … if I can throw that in as well. I won’t let myself be swallowed by self-doubt, because I go with the wind.
Around 25 years ago, I went to a movie theater in Tokyo that had a tatami mat, which means all customers had to take their shoes off before entering the theater. There were giant steps in front of the film screen, so everyone just sat on the tatami mat, or if they wanted to, they could easily lay down and look up at the screen. The film they were showing was such a remarkable work, and to this day, I don’t know the title of this film. All I can tell you that it starred Hitoshi Ueki and his band Crazy Cats. What is interesting about him and them is that they were musicians first, and then became successful comic actors as well. Watching the film, it reminded me of Frank Tashlin's work with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. The beauty of the film is the fact that it looked like a comic strip taking place in front of my eyes. The location where the film is set is in Shinbashi, traditionally the playground for the salaryman.
I think back at that film presentation, because now I’m totally obsessed in capturing the moment when Ueki walks down the street in Shinbashi, not having a care in the world. He just left his job, or what one thinks may have been his job. For all I know he may just come into the office to have a free cup of coffee or green tea. By the expressions of the fellow co-workers, they may have never seen him before. Therefore he takes up the character of a salaryman, as one takes an identity out of one’s closet.
He was that type of character in all of the Crazy Cat films. The illusion of music being played in a small traditional Japanese bar, that may fit five or six people, all of sudden turns into a big budgeted Broadway musical. Time and place are expanded just by whatever hits Ueki's mood. Therefore when I walk on the streets of Shinbashi, I too will live in Hitoshi Ueki’s shadow.
I love the work of Larry MacDougall
October 18, 2014
“To exist to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” I keep that in mind as I wander through an empty parking lot in Shinbashi, looking for a Chinese restaurant that is placed on the third floor. It is a Saturday night, and not a person in sight. Alas, the restaurant is closed, and after 20 minutes of walking overpasses that connect the large boulevard and then down a steep staircase to the entrance of the lot, and then to climb two staircases to reach the floor of the restaurant - and it being closed seemed to be a slight miscalculation on my part. I should have known that these types of businesses are closed on a Saturday night. Also it has been noted to me that this specific restaurant is the oddest eating joint in Tokyo. Shinbashi, a business district in Tokyo is famous to me, due to the Japanese film series “The Crazy-Cats, which is a combination of Martin & Lewis mixed in with the world of the Salerymen. A lot of the key scenes in the film series were shot in this part of Tokyo.
On my journey here and on the streets of Shinbashi, I kept hearing the voice of Bobby Troup and Anita O’Day singing a duet, but oddly I don’t think they ever made a record together. Yet, in my mind, I can clearly hear both voices singing perhaps “On Route 66.” I always have that talent of taking something that is out there, and somehow making it mine. I look at the world as one big reference library, and I’m just a guy roaming around the stack and aisles of ideas, trying to connect “C” to “Q.” For instance I could have sworn that there was or is a store that is devoted to Lee Harvey Oswald as an iconic figure - not that far from Marilyn Monroe or Elvis. His presence becomes more important than who he really was. The more literature out on Oswald the more obscure he gets, and eventually he just becomes a symbol that is empty, yet we know he is part of a landscape that caused either pain, or an awareness that things will never be the same again.
To be honest, I was drinking a bottle of Chinese sake, which causes me to lose time and memory. Or even oddly enough, causes me to make my own memory up. Therefore this Oswald store may not even exist. But why do I clearly remember the key chain being sold at this store that represented the foreign made rifle as well as his image (the mug shot) after he got arrested for murdering the Dallas cop. There is something of a Huell Howser in me, that likes to see Tokyo as a series of objects that somehow people contain these objects as livable space. It seems impossible, yet here I’m, slightly dazed and of course confused.
Lotte Lenya of Berlin could easily be part of the Tokyo landscape as well. Never have I ever been in a city where one can watch the daily life of going to work, being at work, and then going to Shinbashi, before going home for dinner - having that quick drink of beer or sake, as you gather dutch courage to make it home and knowing you will be facing the exact actions the very next day. Ms. Lenya (Weill) had the power to convey the struggles of the mice against the machine that is society. “Metropolis” has many forms and disguises, and I see it here in Shinbashi, as I can still smell the tension of the new high-rises fighting against the low-life, and culinary level of the eating places that serve the white collar worker. I always inspired to be the A. J. Liebling of Tokyo where "I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write faster than anybody who can write better." To document a time as it passes by me, in such a violent manner, is truly being alive at the very moment of realizing that this is it.
My only refined moment is to attach my earphones to my ears and listen to the sarcastic voice of Catherine Ringer, and I wander the streets of Shinbashi. I’ll never go back to that Chinese restaurant in a vacant parking lot, nor be able to find the Lee Harvey Oswald store, that again, could have been part of my imagination - as well as the Chinese restaurant. All I know, is that I can express myself in a world that may not exist. So I made a straight line, and walked that line till…
- Franz Kafka
"Reflections I - V"
Some personal work, series-style! Featuring Cortis, a blobbish world-traveler.
So I found out today that this series was selected for inclusion in this year’s 3x3 pro show annual! These were some breakthrough pieces for me (and thus sentimentally important), so I’m completely ecstatic. :)
“Gus had never noticed Siri before, but when he discovered there was someone who would not just find…”
Gus had never noticed Siri before, but when he discovered there was someone who would not just find information on his various obsessions (trains, planes, buses, escalators and, of course, anything related to weather) but actually semi-discuss these subjects tirelessly, he was hooked. And I was grateful. Now, when my head was about to explode if I had to have another conversation about the chance of tornadoes in Kansas City, Mo., I could reply brightly: “Hey! Why don’t you ask Siri?”
It’s not that Gus doesn’t understand Siri’s not human. He does — intellectually. But like many autistic people I know, Gus feels that inanimate objects, while maybe not possessing souls, are worthy of our consideration. I realized this when he was 8, and I got him an iPod for his birthday. He listened to it only at home, with one exception. It always came with us on our visits to the Apple Store. Finally, I asked why. “So it can visit its friends,” he said.”
- How Apple’s Siri Became One Autistic Boy’s B.F.F. - NYTimes.com, via @the_jozen_one.
“The International Trade Commission is a federal agency that receives patent and trademark complaints…”
In re Certain Digital Models is a case where digital 3D models of plastic retainers were sent “over the border” into the United States. The ITC found that the models, which supposedly infringed Invisalign patents, were “imported articles,” the same as actual plastic retainers or knock-off handbags. In other words, the International Trade Commission has conjured up a imaginary border checkpoint for the Internet.”
- This Federal Agency Thinks Customs Agents Can Seize Files at Imaginary Digital Borders
because the music / is boring me to death: Tethys and Titan, photographed by Cassini, 11th December 2011.
Cassini takes photographs through red, green, and blue filters, which can be combined to create colour images. Part of the process is aligning the colour layers where the target has moved between photographs. And when the images contain two moving targets, then you need to get fancy.
Lower left gif shows composite aligned to Titan. Lower right gif shows composite aligned to Tethys. Main gif combines the colour image of each moon from its composite, using the positions in the red images.
8 frames from 24 images.
Image credit: NASA/JPL/SSI. Animation: AgeOfDestruction. Title: Cat Power.
October 17, 2014
I’m drinking coffee here at the Meguro headquarters, and reading the letters sent to Miss Lonelyhearts. Since I’m über-broke at the moment (and more likely for the rest of my life) I have been writing for The Japan Times and they recently gave me the job of writing the Miss Lonelyhearts column. The column runs every Tuesday, so the work is not all that demanding, but I must go through 100 letters or more per week, and it really kills my creative fun reading time. On the other hand, the letters are entertaining as well as a touch creepy from time-to-time. All the correspondence is from throughout Japan, and all if not most are written by foreigners, which are no surprise since the paper is orientated to the English language. I didn’t realize how many people are lonely here in Japan, and most of it is due that they don’t know the language or culture here. Me, I just a visitor myself… so how in the hell can I give these people advice? For example:
“I have been living in the Kyoto area for about ten years, and I have been teaching English for six out of those ten years. The problem is I have a big crush on my boss, who is Japanese, and really can’t speak English. I can only speak English, and I’m having a hard time conveying my need for attention from him. I suspect he’s married. I know he likes whiskey and water - and that is about him. Am I wrong to feel something special for my boss? Elizabeth"
In the end of the day, all we know is that the sun goes up and the sun comes down, around dusk. Beyond that what do we know? I hope my answer helps you.” Best, Miss Lonelyhearts
I feel terrible. I’m 45 years old, have a young son, and a wife. We moved here from Billings, Montana so I can work in the computer field in Hakata. For the past month, I have been having an affair with a co-worker who works under me. She is much younger, fun, and I enjoy being here with her. The thing is I don’t love her, I just like having sex with her. The really bad situation is that I have lately been short on money, and I find myself time-to-time going through my wife’s purse for extra cash here-and-there for my dates with the co-worker. I know this is wrong. I often feel terribly guilty, but this somewhat makes the sex better with my co-worker - at least on my part. I don’t think I should feel this way, yet, damn the torpedoes! I am going to hell. Can you give me some sane advice? I know this is WRONG. Best, Burt from Hakata”
Pain is a four-letter word. We all have felt the pain, yet pain is hard to overcome. Yet, surely as the wave hits the beach, we must go on. I hope that this answer helps you. Best, Miss Lonelyhearts"
I have consistently been told that I have a comforting presence, especially with girls who are going through terrible breakups with either their husbands or boyfriends. I don’t know why, but I appear to be there when some sort of disturbance happens. More like instinct is at work than planning out my life to fulfill someone’s misery. But writing letters to people, I don’t know, or even know if these problems are real or just a projection of what they need or want in life… I think the big question is “what is life?” And I do ask that to myself all the time. The answer to be frank, is that I don’t care. I don’t care about the people who write to me. Nor do I care about my friends who are going through difficulties. All I know is that I have to look like I care and therefore I do care, but I know, deep down, that I don’t care.
I hate myself for not caring. I think to be human to be concerned about your fellow suffers. Yet, when the moment arrives, I just know how to act like I’m caring. When you get down to it, I don’t know myself that well, and therefore you shouldn’t either.
"A black woman smiling in the background of a group picture that appears at the bottom of every page of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s campaign website is actually a stock image, photshopped in…" (via Everyone In What Looks Like A Group Photo On GOP Governor’s Website Is Photoshopped)
This weekend we’re bringing The Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner to Toronto! I’m happy to make the project’s Canadian debut at the Music Gallery’s Avant X Festival, which is hosting all sorts of interesting events, such as the JEMD afterparty event with Dutty Artz’ DJ Ushka and our Quebecois point-man Poirier!
Things begin on Saturday at 5pm, when I have a free public conversation with Marcus Boon. Then JEMD at 7pm, and the party with Ushka, Poirier, and special guest DJ happens after we take our collective disco nap.
There’s been a nice buzz of preview press for the show, including this article by LBBTQ mag Xtra: “Jace Clayton Honours A Gay Guerilla.”
black fashion, black swag
everyday level next attire
“I have a habit of leaving places at the wrong time, just when something big may have happened to me.” I love to escape and locate the source of my pain, which is a desire for my own personal version of anxiety. “Life is a solitary cell whose walls are mirrors.” My very reflection is a source of endless entertainment for me. Everyone who knows me that “writing is my vacation from living.” So to be in a room that is endlessly reflecting yours truly, is a form of heaven that is man-made. Or I should say Tosh-made.
I’m sort of like the elephant that left the jungle to visit the big city. Tokyo is not exactly a big city, but more of a metropolis. It’s bigger than life, and the source of my work here is supposed to be bigger than life, which means bigger than Tokyo. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” With that in mind, I set out to take the world that is out there, and somehow make it mine. The only way I can do this is to edit what I want, and not want, and place it on a blank page. The problem is people have a tendency to pull me in a direction I don’t want to take. They do it, because they’re concerned about my welfare, or even for egotistical purposes from the other party. Once you have your mission, it is almost an art form to stay on the narrow path, and not let the unfamiliar noise remove you from that road. It’s easy to get lost, and there are so many false street signs to tell you to go in that direction or “in that way,” when in fact, by instinct, you know you’re doing the right thing. Even if you do cause a certain amount of destruction here and there. “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. ”
What I fear the most is missing the last train home. To be stranded and knowing your existence second-by-second till the next train arrives, many hours later. Or going to a lecture that is in Japanese, yet not knowing that language, but just sitting in the audience trying to figure out what can’t be understood at that moment and time. Time is stopping. Time is not moving. Time there waits for no one.
I came from the jungle to be here, and I realize that one can’t fully leave the jungle, because it is home. And the characteristics of the home are terrible. A famous philosopher wrote that “the proof of the pudding is in the eating! So what! We are interested in the mechanism that ensures that it really is a pudding we are eating and not a poached baby elephant, though we think we are eating our daily pudding!” To analyze the world in a sense is to cut yourself open with a sword and letting your intestines to fall out of your stomach on to the sidewalk.
As I write, I can hear the sound of wind running through the space between the buildings. It’s eerie, but the music is beautiful. It makes me sad that I will never write anything that is as beautiful as that sound. Nevertheless I will never go back to the jungle. Home is there, but here I tend to lose myself, and to be totally lost, is a blessing.
κλῠδώνιον: Prometheus perturbs Saturn’s F Ring, photographed by Cassini, 14th February 2009.
Prometheus orbits just inside the F RIng, moving slightly faster than the ring particles. As Prometheus passes, it drags ring particles with it, creating ripples.
Image credit: NASA/JPL/SSI. Animation: AgeOfDestruction.
Peter Dive: Newport Lifeguards
East End, 1961, David Bailey
“Scientists have treated a man they believe to be the first patient with internet addiction disorder…”
Scientists have treated a man they believe to be the first patient with internet addiction disorder brought on by overuse of Google Glass.
The man had been using the technology for around 18 hours a day – removing it only to sleep and wash – and complained of feeling irritable and argumentative without the device. In the two months since he bought the device, he had also begun experiencing his dreams as if viewed through the device’s small grey window. […]
The patient – a 31-year-old US navy serviceman – had checked into the Sarp in September 2013 for alcoholism treatment. The facility requires patients to steer clear of addictive behaviours for 35 days – no alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes – but it also takes away all electronic devices.
Doctors noticed the patient repeatedly tapped his right temple with his index finger. He said the movement was an involuntary mimic of the motion regularly used to switch on the heads-up display on his Google Glass.”
- Google Glass user treated for internet addiction caused by the device | Science | The Guardian
Sketch of the 1st six minutes of Echoes (Pink Floyd).
October 15, 2014
“The Voice of love seemed to call me, but it was a wrong number.” That seems to happen a lot in my life, and yet, I tend to keep moving on. Although I have been financially strapped for a while now, I still keep a man-servant with me. I had to sell off my rare vinyl and books, but I think I made the right choice. A butler is a sort of combination of spiritual advisor as well as taking care of one’s schedule and clothing. In a way it is like an I-Phone, but I prefer the human touch than the mechanical one. Kato, was born in Kobe, and eventually ended up in Los Angeles as a student of the English language and to study the fine art of Judo. When he was thrown out of language school, due to an overnight game of Go, where some say he swindled various participants of their parent’s pension money. Nevertheless, I hired him as a butler, and he moved in with me in my single room apartment at the time off Melrose Avenue. Over time I got married, and people come and go in my life, but my butler remained with me thick and thin. And due to his cooking, the thin part is losing out to a great amount of fat. Even though I’m suffering from the physical point, I’m gaining in a peace-of-mind that is opening doors left and right for me. Of course, eventually those doors shut tight as soon as I leave the exit, but I go through life as an experience, and not as an end result.
I began to write a detective novel that is based on my life. Not the case itself, God no, I never even seen a dead body before, but the fictional detective is based on my character. I’m not one of those writers that can write third person, only first-person narratives. Even when I dream, it is me watching the dream unfolding in front of my eyes. I’m in the audience, and oddly enough the figures in my dream narratives are not based on people I know. They are usually an archetype of a specific type of person. Usually the slut, the loser and so forth. But when I awake, I can’t write the narrative as a nameless observer. I need to be in the story as well, and it has to be told from my point-of-view. Therefore my character is a foppish dandy, and one who is part of society that is slowly decaying. As people who know me, decay is very much a process in life that I find fascinating. Kato always supplies me with clothing that is slightly worn or torn even. Maybe the collar is even moderately stained. It’s imperative to show life as it moves from one plane to another - and a detective murder narrative is very much part of that world. For instance I come upon a room where there is a lifeless body, and my detective character comments and to quote from my book “The Canary Murder Case”: “Why the haste, old dear?” I asked, yawning. “The chap’s dead, don’t y’ know; he can’t possibly run away.”
When you have a man-servant, one takes a stand in life that says I’m going to drink that cup of life and not find a dead beetle at the bottom. The ability to transform oneself into something hopefully better, is one of the great things regarding to be alive in such a horror show of a world. “I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning.” And there lie the great adventures that come upon us, as we slip into a world that looks like the outside. It is really an inner landscape that Kato and I dwell in. I once asked Kato if “trousers matter?” He told me that “the mood will pass, sir. ”
Buster Keaton ~ College (1927)
Alan Turing proposed that an artificial intelligence qualified as a capable of thought if a human subject, in conversation with it and another human, cannot tell them apart; the strange thing about the Eliza Twitter bot is it doesn’t come across as any more like a machine than those who keep repeating their points over and over and over, ad nauseum. It’s difficult to decide who’s failed the Turing test here. (via New Statesman | The ultimate weapon against GamerGate time-wasters: a 1960s chat bot that wastes their time)
That said, the August unit didn’t operate perfectly all the time. Every now and then it didn’t recognize my phone as I approached the door. One time I made it all the way to the door before realizing that I was no longer signed into the app for some reason. There was also one late night when a stranger opened the door and walked into the house when August should have auto-locked the door. (The stranger was trying to enter our next-door neighbor’s house and didn’t realize he was at the wrong door.)
Have been spoiled with some very good light reading. When I read the good stuff it makes me wonder why I waste my time with second- and third-tier nonsense! On the other hand, the hours must be whiled away some way or another - but I do think I will have a year sometime when I will only read novels I really really want to read, and that the rest of my reading should be narrative nonfiction etc.
Anyway, Deon Meyer's Cobra is superb - hard to imagine a better book in this sort of vein. Then I read a delightful trio of books on the recommendation of Charlie Stross: Max Gladstone's Craft books. I was slightly skeptical at first - it's purely personal preference, but I really always like it best when urban fantasy follows a single character as either first-person narration or third-person limited, it's part of my affinity for character- and voice-driven fiction - but was utterly won over. These books are great! Interestingly Deon Meyer is using a very similar form of narration, in terms of pacing and following a set of characters, though the books are in most other respects about as different as you could imagine.
Just now halfway through a book I have been awaiting for a long time, Garth Nix's new Abhorsen installment Clariel. The original trilogy of Old Kingdom books, along with Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, were the inspiration for The Explosionist and sequel: I kept haunting the shelves of the Bank Street Bookstore looking for something like and as good as those two sets of books, and when I couldn't find them, I thought I would just have to try and make something like that myself....
Nobody knows what running looks like.
Metadata scarf and cowl!
Medieval pet names (courtesy of Rivka).
Puggle production line? (Wishful thinking edition.)
Four years later, a lost African gray parrot is reunited with its former owner:
When Nigel vanished four years ago, he spoke with a cultivated British accent.
Little is known about where the African grey parrot went, what he did — or who he was with — in those missing years. But when he was reunited with his owner, Darren Chick, in Torrance last week, the British accent was gone and the bird was chattering in Spanish, often mentioning the name “Larry.”
October 14, 2014
“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” I followed that advice to a “T” and it left me miserable and quite alone. But alone is perfectly OK, because I can’t stand the mindless chatter of my fellow citizens, even if it is to go from point A to Z, there is too much noise that goes with it. To find that one piece of silence and to be able to groove with it, ah, that’s amore! Even poetry is way too loud for me. I recently picked up a book of collected poems by e.e. Cummings, and man, is he unnecessary loud or what? “Yours is the light by which my spirit's born: - you are my sun, my moon, and all my stars.” Total shite. When you compare it to Dean Martin’s song and to quote:
“When the moon hits your eye
Like a big pizza pie, that's amore
When the world seems to shine
Like you've had too much wine, that's amore. ”
The above song is blaring, but it is also fits perfectly as a form or stanza. The e.e. cummings poem is also a lie. I don’t believe him when he writes such sentiment - also he was a life long Republican who supported Joseph McCarthy, so fuck him anyway. On the other hand, the Dino song perfectly reflects a realistic approach to life, that doesn’t make moral demands on one’s ability to love or not to love.
Even that, I need to secure myself from the brutality that lies in front of me. Life to me is a series of elimination. There is such a thing in having too much. When you have it all, you forget where you’re standing, and therefore the space becomes more important than the clutter that surrounds you. As a child, my mother read me “The House of Pooh Corner” and there is a segment that explains everything that is important in my life. To quote”
“..."But what I like doing best is Nothing." "How do you do Nothing?" asked Pooh, after he had wondered for a long time. "Well, it's when people call out at you just as you're going off to do it, What are you going to do Christopher Robin, and you say, Oh, nothing, and you go and do it." "Oh, I see," said Pooh. "This is a nothing sort of thing that we're doing right now." "Oh, I see," said Pooh again. "It means just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear and not bothering." "Oh!" said Pooh.”
Now that’s amore! Le Monte Young had a conceptual piece that was equally important to me. He recommended to draw a straight line, and follow it. That, and his composition “The Well-Tuned Piano,” which in a typical performance can last five to six hours - is just heaven to me. There is no beginning and no end, just an existence where you float upon what’s inside your head, and only the beat of your heart is the only rhythm one needs.
For the past ten or so years, I have been listening to Cliff and The Shadows, trying to bring myself closer to a culture that I understood being essential to one’s mindset. I even danced in front of the mirror, imitating the choreography of that band’s intimate and quite beautiful dancing; but even that, I was hearing someone else’s noise, and I needed to live and reflect on my “noise” than someone else’s. Therefore the dream that is in front of me, is one of my own making, and with that knowledge, I jump in with both feet, and not a thought in my head.
There has been a lot of online comment recently about a dataset released by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. It contains details about every taxi ride (yellow cabs) in New York in 2013, including the pickup and drop off times, locations, fare and tip amounts, as well as anonymized (hashed) versions of the taxi’s license and medallion numbers. It was obtained via a FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request earlier this year and has been making waves in the hacker community ever since. […] First things first. How might I track a person? Well, to zone in on a particular trip, I can use any combination of known characteristics that appear in the dataset, such as the pickup or drop-off coordinates or datetime, the medallion or license number, or even the fare amount from a receipt. Being the avid fanboy that I am (note: sarcasm), I thought it might be interesting to find out something new about some of the celebrities who had been seen in New York in 2013. In particular, where did they go to / come from, and how much did they tip? In order to do this, I spent some of the most riveting hours of my professional career searching through images of “celebrities in taxis in Manhattan in 2013″ to find enough information to identify the correct record in the database. I had some success – combining the below photos of Bradley Cooper and Jessica Alba with some information from celebrity gossip blogs allowed me to find their trips, which are shown in the accompanying maps.
October 13, 2014
“I’ve invented nothing; I’ve simply been the secretary of my sensations.” As I walk around Asakusa, I found the theater where Lenny Bruce performed, totally in English on Rokku-Broadway. It’s an area that is full of small theaters, and it is regarded as the home of 19th and 20th centuryJapanese comedy. Bruce, being the king of American stand-up comedy, decided to do a show here in the late 1950s, but did his act in English. Ten or so years after Japan surrendered to the United States, this series of islands had to cope with another alien invasion. What I have read is that he bombed at the Toyo Gekijo theater. It wasn’t his subject matter, but the fact that he insisted on doing the entire act in English, which in the 1950s, was not a common second language in Japan.
Nevertheless, to be honest, it is not what he says that is so great, but how he says it. I rarely follow his narratives, but instead I’m glued to the visuals of the man on stage. The way he snaps his fingers, in key lines, it is virtually done to wake one up in the audience. In other words, he’s absolute music to me. But as a visitor or tourist, I have a tendency to like to see performances in languages other than English. And Engilsh is the only language I know. And what I know beyond language is music and visuals. So in that sense and my thinking, Tokyo is the perfect landscape for me. Here, I can enjoy my misery in peace and quiet, because chaos is all around me. I can’t figure how to work with anything here. Toilets are impossible. So many push buttons to push, but all in kanji, so I can’t read what it is for or even why. But on the other hand, “Chaos is rejecting all you have learned, Chaos is being yourself. ”
I went to the “Band of Outsiders” cafe in Shibuya, which is a venue devoted to Jean-Luc Godard’s film “Band à part.” It’s an interesting place, because all the customers here are encouraged to speak only lines from that film (in Japanese), and of course at 9 PM every Tuesday night, there is the famous line-dance done in the film. Sometimes there are up to 15 people doing an exact imitation of the dance done by Anna Karina, Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur. With a few glasses of sake, I get the encouragement to join the dance. In my mind, I just try to imagine Lenny Bruce doing the dance as well. I snapped my fingers like everyone else in the dance, but my thoughts are not on that film scene, but Lenny as he performed in front of an indifferent Asakusa audience.
“The fact that life has no meaning is a reason to live — moreover, the only one.” Therefore I venture into the night, and try to find substance, but alas, even that, is just an illusion. Yet, the beauty of the moment of getting lost, or having the mjst of the rain hit your face, is truly what to live for. “Melancholy: an appetite no misery satisfies.” I go to Disk Union Shibuya, down to the basement in their jazz store, to hear the melancholy playing by Art Tatum, and suddenly remembered that my life is full of right turns, when I’m obviously left-handed. No wonder I don’t connect to this world. And happily so.