Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

May 08 2008

Topics article, Speed Racer

AmCham’s TOPICS magazine has published an article by Steven Crook about English-language bloggers in Taiwan, including interviews with Michael Turton, Greg Talovich, Michael Turton, me, Jason Cox, Scott Sommers, Joanna Rees and Michael Turton. It’s an interesting article in that it seems bloggers sound different when they’re speaking to a reporter about their blogs than they do when they’re blogging. Perhaps this has something to do with being asked specific questions instead of just writing whatever comes to mind.

No deep revelations here, though. This account continues to be about trivial minutiae (and I’m sure there’s a blog out there with exactly that name; if there’s not, there should be), and I will prove it by telling you that I saw Speed Racer last night. I was a bit apprehensive, not only about the idea of making a feature-length movie about a 70’s cartoon that I remember enjoying as a child (my model Mach V was a favorite toy), but the potentially headache-inducing colors, especially in the LUX theater’s digital projection format. I needn’t have worried, however; Speed Racer is a fun, well-paced romp. ZenithSure, it’s a long cartoon, but I’d rather the Wachowskis stick with this level of storytelling than venture back into the pseudo-deep-thought morass of the Matrix trilogy. This is a much simpler thing, a return to a long Saturday morning, stretched out on the big rope rug in the family room gazing up at the huge, dusty Zenith, reveling in the power of its three clunky channels.

posted by Poagao at 10:17 pm  
Jul 06 2007

WLT magazine

World Literature TodayI made a trip to the post office today, something I do more rarely these days as email takes care of 99% of my communications. My great-aunt Eva is the only person I know who doesn’t use email, so we correspond the old-fashioned way, her in crazy handwritten notes and me with extra-large fonts. In addition to the multitude of letters from my alma mater asking for money, I found a copy of the July/August issue of World Literature Today. They’d asked me if they could use my photos a while ago, and I said ok as long as I got credit. I then forgot all about it.

My photography is on the front cover, on the inside flap, and sprinkled liberally throughout the rest of the magazine. They got my name and website correct on the first instance, but somehow changed it to “T.J.” and cited my film site in later references. I’m curious why so many people skip from TC to TJ so readily. It happens all the time, but I’m at a complete loss as to why.

In other news, I got together with Chalaw and Andrew at David’s last night for some extra rehearsal before Hohaiyan on Sunday. It’s going to be a long day; they’re picking me up at 6:15am so we can make it to Fulong for the sound check. We should be on stage a little after 6pm, until 7 something.

Andrew, whose slight figure makes me doubt that Dunkin’ Donuts paid his firm in actual donuts for its design of their website, turned me on to a brass-themed band called Beirut, which is headed up by a young trumpeter named Zach who was inspired by his travels throughout Europe. The music has a gypsy air to it, if Yann Tiersen were a gypsy. In any case, how could I not love this kind of music, especially with a line of trumpets playing with especially disconcerting vibrato?

posted by Poagao at 4:55 am  
Apr 10 2007


I was recently interviewed via email by a racy local art/design magazine called “X-CUP” (no, I don’t know what the name means). For some reason, they were interested in my High Speed Rail photography. It seems to me that I am involved in far more interesting things than HSR pictures, but that was what they were interested in. The topic was part of a series of interviews with foreign artists in Taiwan. I pointed out to them that, technically, I wasn’t actually a foreigner, but that didn’t seem to bother them. I think they found it quaint.

In any case, I was happy that among 16 individuals they only found me worthy of the much-coveted black background. Also, I managed to work in the Muddy Basin Ramblers as well as a reference to “The Age of Crap.” If you want to read the interview and my inane, random answers, you can download the .pdf of the interview here.

Actually, I’m glad I did the interview, because I am interested in getting to know more artists, even though I don’t think train photos are exactly the apex of my artistic abilities (or maybe they are. Lord what a depressing thought). The weekend after next I’ll be attending a film festival that will be showing Clay Soldiers. Hopefully other people will attend as well.

We had a four-day holiday last weekend, three and a half days I spent at home editing. It’s good weather for it, in any case: more-or-less constant rain. On Saturday I went up to a teahouse in the mountains above New Garden City where my friend Ray lives, along with Sandman and his relatives who are visiting from Scotland. We had a nice meal, took a lot of macro photographs of wet plants, and watched in horror as Sandman’s nephew took a nasty spill down the wet steps. Actually, I didn’t see it, but I did listen in horror to the thud as he hit the ground. He was ok, though. One of the benefits of being 17.

Mark has recently stirred a hornet’s nest by daring to express his preference for content quality over deliberately massaging a site’s code to garner the most hits. I can see where he’s coming from; obviously this site, which hasn’t really updated its design since 2001 and doesn’t have any of the traffic-gathering features that are de rigueur in these days of Google searches, is a testament to the low priority I place on getting millions of people to read my site. My trackbacks don’t work, I don’t know what pingbacks are, and I can’t even figure out how to get post titles to appear.

Still, I can see the benefit in getting a larger audience for your content, as long as such actions don’t supersede the content itself. For example, on flickr.com, submitting your photo to six million voting groups comes across as a bit desperate, but at least the content hasn’t been adversely affected by the effort, unlike, say, deliberately taking photos of nothing but scantily clad young women for photo hits. Of course, I respect most those who produce good content in an elegant fashion without feeling the need to compromise it in the name of making it popular. This, of course, is why I’ve made exactly $9.18 from my experiment with Google’s adsense over the past several years.

Ok, so the site needs a makeover. I’ll meet up with Mark sometime and we’ll see what we can do. I’m surprised the design has held up this long, actually.

posted by Poagao at 4:10 pm