…make the world seem like a much better place.
I recently subscribed to the “fire” tag on Flickr, which means that every time someone tags a photo with the word “fire,” the photo shows up in my Bloglines feed account just like a post would. Every day over 100 photos show up in my fire-tag feed on bloglines. Today, this photo was among them, and it gave an otherwise dismally wretched day some light.
Good Link, Bad Link, Nertz!
Over the past week I have found myself spending sleepless nights searching the web for interesting websites or pictures in leu of laying in bed wishing I could sleep. Via endless google searches and link sharing with friends, I hereby present a small taste of the groovy and the not so much, the best and the worst:
NS TA2 KOLECTIV is a group of tattoo artists from San Jose, California. Their work is huge; it is some of the best tattoo art I have ever seen (especially the back pieces!). I met a former apprentice of Adrian Lee, one of the artists, through a friend last semester here in Japan. I googled Adrian Lee because I wanted to see some of his work, and here it is:
What happens when you do your tattoos yourself? Or maybe worse yet…when you let your friends do them? And when you let your friends do them drunk? And when you let your friends do them drunk and on crack? Ok maybe the people responsible for these tattoos were not on crack, but they came out with some pretty gnarly results. You’ve seen the best, so here are the worst:
Bad Tattoos dot Com
Moral of This Entry
Give these pages a good once over, at least, and remember:
If tattooing supplies show up in some-guy-you-kind-of-know’s autoclave-less dorm room on Tuesday, you’d better have warned your friends how rediculous a walking, googly-eyed blueberry would look on their ankles by Wednesday.
I only wish my friends had warned me.
Fresh Phrases That Are Difficult to Translate
Phrases that prove all too difficult to translate into Japanese:
When speaking about feeling full after a large dinner- “If I feel like fat would feel if it thought about its self” This phrase is translated into “Onaka ga ippai.” Which means “My stomache is full.”
When speaking about a car full of people - “This car is packed like a can of sardines” In order to be properly translated to a Japanese person, this phrase turns into “This is car is full like a can of small fish.”
While speaking to a Japanese friend who is driving and must get out of the car and go into a store to pick up a birthday cake - Jokingly: “I’ll drive and you can hop out and grab the cake” turns into “kagi o kudasai” which means “key, please” but never works.
For the past few months, I have been using MySpace, a “social networking” website to upload my songs for easy access by my friends and family. For musicians, MySpace is an exquisitly simple and low maintenence way to share original music. For most young people (and older people as well), however, it is a life-sucking, mind numbing, epic waste of time that turns perfectly ordinary people into digital-popularity-contest-obsessed egotists.
Blazing ahead, In a blog I found recently owned by a man called Rob - blogname: Demonbaby - the essence of the heinous myspace catastrophy is beautifully captured in his most recent entry from Monday, January 23rd, in something he calls
“The Second Annual MySpace Stupid Haircut Awards!”
Check it out.
Kyoto Transit vs. the MTA
One of the things that Japan seems to be very good at through the eyes of a foreigner is efficiency.
For example - having relied on the NYC public transit system as a main means of transportation for years, I am accustomed to surprise service changes in the trains that sometimes bring you in and out of boroughs you don’t need to pass through to get to your final destination, completely erratic bus service that has no relation to the charts posted at the bus stops, and sometimes waiting over an hour for a standard bus or train line to reach the stop or station.
In Japan, there is none of that. Trains arrive on schedule, busses have radio antennas sending signals to the signs at the most bus stops to say when the bus is two stops away, and then when it is one stop away, and then when it is approaching, and they are seldom more than a minute off. A little red marker pops up on the sign when the bus has stopped running for the night, and a little yellow one takes its place in the morning to signify working service.
Now I know that New York’s transit system is the largest in the world, followed by Tokyo, where I have not yet been (but I’m sure everything runs smoother there anyway), but I think it would do the MTA good to take an example from Kyoto, because New Yorkers don’t get shocked and amazed when things are not running smoothly as the Japanese often do, they just get pissed.
Mass Public transit is deffinetely one thing that Japan does right. Kudos to Japan.
All Things Bright and Beautiful
As I did not turn eighteen until two weeks after the last election (which you can imagine was somewhat infuriating), it hadn’t occured to me until today that I am not a registered voter in the US. It hit me earlier in the evening while I was reading a blog post by James Doolittle in which he says
“…in Japan you’re not a person until you’re 20. It’s a little unerving because in America, you get to be a person after being 18.”
In light of the frightening revelation that I have not yet taken full advantage of my becoming-a-real-person rights, I began to look for a way to register on-line, as I am currently residing in Japan. Of course, the first place I looked was the Whitehouse website, but when I got there, I easliy got sidetracked and forgot about my mission.
Apparently, throughout the last holiday season, the white house staff made a special effort to honor All Things Bright and Beautiful, as a hopeful distraction to the American people from the state of things like, oh, the armed conflict in Iraq, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Patriot Act. ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL. As if it could not be more insulting that this is what the good people of the American Government are concerned with in times like these, the main All Things Bright and Beautiful page donne’s this quote:
All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small;
All things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.
-Words: Cecil F. Alexander, Hymns for Little Children, 184
8. Music: “Royal Oak,” 17th Century English melody.
Our government does not even pretend to be secular. How embarassing.
Over the past few days, the idea of creating a podcast has absoluetly enthralled me. As a writer, a person must realize that her/his words will not always be read in exactly the way they were written, so it is quite empowering to broadcast words - sounds and intonations - rather than leaving them to the reader’s imagination.
I thought that my first podcast would be some sort of poetic rant, a passionate speech, or a slam poem. But when Aaron, the teacher of my web publishing class, introduced the audio editing program Audacity to the class last week, I found myself immediately recording music onto my computer with a low quality Labtec headset.
Though badly mixed and increadibly poor quality, I would like to share the product of my first experimentation with Audacity as a music editing program - a remix of song I wrote recently called Losing Face.
I recorded six different tracks for this song - the first two are the basic guitar and vocals, and the other four are small vocal tracks added throughout various parts of the song. I took the opportunity to play around with the program and try out the echo, wah wah, and fade effects.
Though I’m not so happy with the end quality, it was an interesting experience, and I look forward to working more with this program - hopefully with a better quality microphone in the future.