26 October 2015

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things

Listening to: Solange, “Losing You.” Yeah this song is old, but I’m just getting to it now and I’m obsessed. Of course it’s Dev Hynes produced, which is probably why I like the track so much. The video is great too. I’m convinced that Solange is 1000x cooler than Beyonce (and Drake) combined. Speaking of Drake, someone explain him to me. I don’t get it. [Edit: After a weekend of hearing "Hotline Bling" everywhere, I can't stop. Can. Not. Stop.]

Back in Taipei now, flew in on the heels of another super typhoon, Dujuan. When I arrived and went outside, all the motorcycles and bikes in the adjoining parking lot were flipped over on their sides. “Oh right, typhoon.” I’ve missed a number of bad weather situations of the years, mainly a byproduct of luck, or running off to warmer climates during winter. It always feels like I ditched everyone, like I ran for high ground while everyone else toughed it out. I would like to think I'm the type of person who would go down with the ship, but I'm thinking I'm probably the first one in the lifeboat kind of guy.

On my flight over, for all fifteen hours, I didn’t move. Like go to the bathroom, stretch, or anything. I slept most of time, but that was only ten hours or so. Either my body is getting really accustomed to flying or something is wrong with me. People should move on fifteen hour flights right?

Recently I’ve been meeting a crowd of people who fly all over the place. True jet setters. One of them told me, “The way to live is to be based in New York and go to <insert country> every six or eight weeks.” Sounds dreamy. That is a lot of flying though, but I wonder if that’s the answer. I’ve been thinking about if there are “perfect cities” that exist for people. How is it possible that most people don’t have a “perfect city.” Can it be that hard? My goal a few years ago was to flit around four cities, rotating as I saw fit. I was starting to think that was unviable, that maybe settling in one or two places was enough.

Now I met these people and they totally just go everywhere. If one has the means and nothing to tie you down, what’s the upside of staying put? If you can cobble together the perfect city from a few different ones, why wouldn’t you?

My perfect city requirements (ranked in order of importance): Weather, public transportation and/or walkable, late night dining options, art stuff to get into, somewhat English-speaking. Slowly sliding off that list are "proximity to beach" and "friends who reside there." Mainly because I've decided being close to a beach is too high an order, and with friends, well, you can always make friends anywhere.
While we were in Kaoshiung the other week, at Pier-2 Art Center, we got to visit some artists putting up their soon-to-open exhibits. The first piece was a giant globe built by Sudipta Das, here on artist residency from India. The artists came to Taiwan for a few weeks and from that experience created pieces to reflect that inspiration.

I am horrible at explaining things but the basic idea behind Sudipta's was one of migration and living in two worlds. I don't know exactly what books were used in its construction but do know that manga pages was included, because as Sudipta explained, the visual medium meant it was somewhat accessible to recent immigrants, even if they didn't fully understand the language.

The dark parts of Sudipta’s globe was dyed in coffee, giving it a wonderful smell. I want to live in that globe.

21 October 2015

Five Times Five

Once upon a time I did semi-weekly feature of five things I co-sign. I should bring that back actually. Anyway, here’s a short list of things I’ve been intaking, because making lists is the best way to feel productive.

Also, speaking of lists, I just found out about BJ Novak's (Ryan from The Office) iOS app, The List App. It's essentially a social network based around sharing lists. You can make lists about anything, and the blank prompts include "what I wanted to be growing up, chronologically," "my go-to karaoke songs," and "my favorite emojis and why." It's the non-generic lists that are really good though. Go download the app and take a look.

  • Food NewsFifteen minutes of news including a taste test to conclude each episode. Juliet and Jacoby have the best chemistry of any podcast hosts. Unfortunately, Juliet just resigned from Grantland so I think the show's over. The archives are worth digging through though. Come back Food News!
  • Explain Things to Me - Anna Akana and Brad Gage do interviews with people about their areas of expertise. I wish I had started this podcast... I wish I knew Anna Akana...
  • Dear Sugar - Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, the original Sugars, take reader submitted questions and offer their advice.
  • Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men - If you're into the X-Men (comics), this duo is going through back issues in-depth. I think they're up to when Storm takes over the Morlocks, so it's solidly when I was still an avid reader.
  • Pistol Shrimps Radio - The Pistol Shrimps are the "Hottest Pickup Basketball Team in America." And I wouldn't disagree. I've been following via every available platform for awhile now, and this podcast is captured live in-game. It's the most unbasketball basketball podcast around.

iOS Games
  • Neko Atsume - Kotaku called it "The Japanese Game That We Can't Stop Playing" and it's absolutely true. I got many people around me hooked on it and most of my spring/summer was spent taking care of digital cats.
  • Mitchiri Neko Mix 2 - If you like one Japanese cat game, why not two?! Mitchiri Neko isn't quite as addicting as Neko Atsume, but there's a fun Pokemon collection-like thrill in mixing two types of cats together to create another one. And this music video for the game, "Mitchiri Neko March," is all sorts of amazing. I bet you can't resist putting it on repeat. Guide to Mitchiri Neko 1 & 2.
  • Vainglory - I've never played a MOBA before. And now I play the shit out of this one. I started off using Hello Kitty Koshka, but now I'm a Krul guy through and through. I need to stop playing this game. If you play Vainglory, friend me! And if you need a good podcast about the game, may I suggest The Fold?
  • Fallout Shelter - A sort of Tiny Towers game but with far more interactivity. It's a post-apocalyptic world and you need to rescue dwellers from the wasteland and keep them healthy and alive. Plus armored. I got really really into this for a few weeks.
  • Dreeps - It's an "alarm playing game" where your character goes on an RPG-like adventure but all you do is set an alarm. I don't actually know what I'm doing yet but I love the art, music, and idea of the game. Also I like saying "dreep!"
  • Nightcrawler, “Road Blaster" - Found this under a YouTube channel called NewRetroWave. Sounds as enticing as it, well, sounds.
  • Passion Pit, “Where the Sky Hangs” - I forgot how much I like Passion Pit. And I kind of miss posting song's on AMR's music blog, The End Starts Today.
  • Miniature Tigers, “Oblivious” - The best part of a so-so movie, Sleeping with Other People. Also makes for a pretty good Spotify Radio lead track.
  • Justin Bieber, "What Do You Mean?” - The lyric video features skateboarding. Also, this song is undeniable. Don't deny it.
  • Phil Collins, “I Wish It Would Rain Down” - Someone made a rain inspired playlist on my Spotify and this track called out to me, from 1989.
My League Pass Teams
  • Boston Celtics - Duh!
  • Minnesota Timberwolves - I have both Ricky Rubio and #1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns on my fantasy team. I'm invested.
  • Los Angeles Clippers - Having Paul Pierce added on just makes this better. I want the Clips to win it all this year! But they probably won't...
  • Milwaukee Bucks - Long limbed weirdos at every position, plus great uniforms and court!
  • Sacramento Kings - Will Rondo add to the destruction? Or just keep Rondo-ing?
  • Brooklyn Nets - Actually I'm not really watching them, so much as waiting for them to lose so the Celtics can get their first round pick.