Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Sep 21 2007

This and That

It’s Friday, the eighth anniversary of the big quake of ’99, and our fair island is about to embark on a four-day holiday for the Mid-Autumn Festival, which, considering the weather, will probably involve a lot of wet barbecuing going on under flimsy yellow plastic raincoats bought from 7-Eleven. I have no plans, really, other than lying low and getting a few things done. Oh, and playing at a wedding on Saturday up in Waishuangxi. Hopefully it will go better than the last wedding.

I finally finished uploading the photos from the Okinawa trip. I pretty much have the trip vidlet done, but I want to add some Okinawan music to the background, so I have to wait until I can get my hands on some of David’s Takashi CDs to use for that. It’s about 15 minutes long. No real plot or serious thought went into the editing, as usual. Just stuff I took on the trip, lots of windy noise and walking around.

Real events have recaptured my thoughts, which were dislocated for a time by the small-scale voyage, though lingering doubts about the certainly of my ideas may end up bearing fruit eventually. Someday, perhaps, I’ll look back and say, “Yes, now that I think about it, it was that cruise to Japan that started it all.”

Or not. Sorry to be so vague, but that’s all I have to give you for now.

Today before work I took 12 of my printed photos to a shop located in a triangular shanty with a corrugated tin roof on Heping East Road to get them framed for exhibition here and there, possibly including at Bobwundaye. The owner said I should be able to pick them up on Wednesday, after the holiday. Hopefully around that time or not long afterwards I will also receive a new mobile phone my friend Victor is sending me from Hong Kong.

I finished Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys, which is a delightful read in the tradition of American Gods, and started on The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. While Gaiman is immediately entertaining, Chabon, like Irving, takes a while to get into, at least for me. This is annoying, but hopefully has more to do with my current mood than his writing. Subjectivity and all that.

On an completely unrelated note, I was listening to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue on the radio today (the slow, plodding harmonica version), and, not for the first time, wondered why the theme is played differently today than it was in the 1945 movie of the same name, which is billed as being quite authoritative on the subject, having been made only a few years after Gershwin’s death in 1937. The piece is played in the movie by Oscar Levant, renowned interpreter and virtuoso performer of Gershwin’s music. And it’s different, jarringly different. The 1945 version is jazzier, swingier and more engaging, and the modern version seems dumbed down in comparison. Who made the change and why? Which one is the original?

Finally, I had to laugh at a story on a pro-independence group criticizing Annette Lu’s latest comments. From this story:

On Wednesday, Lu said the logo of the UN campaign “looked like a pig snout.”

The group said that even if the logo did look like a pig snout, there was no need for Lu to criticize it publicly.

posted by Poagao at 5:59 am  


  1. Well, I don’t know much about Gershwin, but I’d have to assume that Levant’s interpretation is the more correct. Especially considering you describe more modern versions as “dumbed-down”.

    Comment by chriswaugh_bj — September 21, 2007 @ 8:40 am

  2. “A pig snout” That’s classic. That’s exactly what it looks like.


    Comment by Michael Turton — September 22, 2007 @ 2:20 am

  3. Gaiman rocks. I loved his collection of short stories Fragile Things. I’ve been reading Orson Scott Card because of Mu from Taoyuan Nights. I’m enjoying it.

    Comment by range — September 22, 2007 @ 10:31 am

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