Summary of New Years break

This years holiday was quite lengthy clocking in at 9.5 days. It was busy and restful. The busy part mostly getting out and doing some photo shoots and processing and uploading those images. Please note some of these below.

Flowery fieldSuch beautiful flowers. I found out later that these are grown from government provided seed. Farmers can also claim a stipend for growing them, this way the government ensures that farmers will rest the field from rice planting and not deplete the soil of it's nutrients. These will be ground into mulch for the next rice planting. Beautiful ephemera.

King holding court...Pauper or king is irrelevant, it's how you carry yourself. This guy seems to be very at peace in his element and clearly he's on his throne.

Saying, What is crazy? Absurd? Macabre? These are all relative concepts like: pristine, demure,rational... This lady was into selling her blessings out by the Matsu Temple in Fengyuan, Taiwan. She was certainly a  bella figura that day.

Lantern seaRed lanterns always draw my eye like floating candy apples suspended in the air. This was one of the better groupings I've captured so far (in the main entrance tot he Matsu Temple in Fengyuan). Matsu is the local goddess of mercy and the patron saint of fishermen in Taiwan and southern Fujian, China.

SANY0027Jean Marais-better known as: Moshang, the Sound Jeweler is a figment of both his and my imaginations. However his chillout music isn't fictional. It is real and quite soothing on the ears. Jean likes some of my photos so I got the idea to do a photo shoot with him. The rest of the images are here. This shot taken at the Martyr's Shrine in Taichung.

Doing I continue to love Lukang and visit it and share it with friends and visitors whenever I can. This time it was with John (pictured in his 6'9" self walking away)and Carrie, and David and Katherine. There are always plenty of people around and the place is just such a great backdrop and oozing with Taiwanese history and culture. Were those folks along the wall the ultimate in nonchalance or what?

This lady was all decked out in her New Year's hawtness. She seemed very enrapt in her conversation, oblivious to the whole world walking past her. Detachment is an artform...

Festival of Lights (Diwali)

Festival of lights round the corner
Very thought of it peps up the fervor
Everywhere ambiance is full of glitter
Victory of good over evil is the day’s flavor 

Children of *Sivakasi huddled in dark environ
Squadrons of masters in rapt supervision
Speed of the nimble fingers the criterion
Sparkling crackers packed with sweat of the human

Spare a thought for these less-privileged
Score a win over the oppression unbridled
Arouse public opinion on their miseries untold
Amelioration at once the hour’s need indeed

Festival of lights round the corner
Very thought of it peps up the fervor
Everywhere ambiance is full of glitter
Victory of good over evil is the day’s flavor

*Sivakasi (Tamil: ச ி வ க ா ச ி ;) is a city and a municipality in Virudhunagar district in the State of Tamil Nadu, South India, India.The town is famous all over India for its fireworks and matches factories. 

Rangarajan Kazhiyur Mannar

Ox Year Grazing…

Wanton goodness

Holidays are always a time for more eating and often a lot more junk. While I'm not going to lie and say that I haven't had my share of locally produced nougat candy I've also had some killer nutritious meals. This one was prepared by my wife Anne. The wontons are made fresh and have shrimp and pork filling. The noodles from my favorite noodle factory-Mr. Jiang. We combined and added some fish balls( a fish meal meatball), fresh cabbage, some dried brine shrimp and fresh ground pepper. Do I have to add it was teh awesome?

Crossroads lead to BBluesman

Many don't know that the BBluesman moniker came from Brooklyn Bluesman. Where did Brooklyn Bluesman come from? Well it was a "play" on Ralph Machio's "bluesman from Long Island representation" in Crossroads. This scene is one of my favorites,certainly from about any music-themed movie. The playing by both Steve Vai and Ry Cooder (the guitarist playing all of Ralph's parts) was stellar and this was some of the best guitar duel footage from the big screen.

This movie was my introduction to Steve Vai who happens to be from Long Island, although not truly a bluesman. he was oneof the early adopters of the rack-style rig with overblown sound that you can hear in the video above. He played for Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth and regularly toured as part of G3 with friend and mentor Joe Satriani, in addition to many solo projects.

Ry Cooder has done many soundtracks and is a true musical chameleon stylistically, having recorded guitar music of many genres and with many great musicians: David Lindley and Ali Farka Toure  to name a couple. I've even heard the term ethno-musicologist used in talking about Ry. He certainly is a distinctive slide guitarist and has great control continually making great eclectic music.

As for me-well I still play guitar some but spend more time listening to music,shooting photographs, and blogging than I do playing guitar. Now my son Kevin wants to take guitar lessons so maybe someday he'll be a "bluesman from Taiwan", wouldn't that be something?

Things I viewed recently…

While out randomly cruising around last Saturday I managed to get a few interesting shots. The place I wanted to shoot ended up being a "no go" so I just shifted gears and headed to the northeast side of town which gets up into the foothills of Dong Shan.
Looking churchly...

This Catholic Church building had caught my eye before. It is on Taichung's Double 10 Rd. going downtown towards the Confucius Temple.

Lanterns strung up 

I've always got my eye out for lanterns. I really liked the lengthy linear string grouping here. It was also nicely contrasted by the green lamp posts on the bridge. Kind of Christmas-like in a way.

Next stop-the roof! 

Ths one really caught my eye. Lo and behold a railroad car on a roof. Funky architectural hackng by some taiwanese business people. KTV is a karaoke bar where every party gets there own room with karaoke set up.

Waiting for opportunity 

Paper machiere dragon taking a break before the big hoiday(Chinese New Year) next week. Great colors-dragons always catch my eye as well.

Among the rays of hope 

This tower of modern style lanterns was one of many at this hillside center for handicapped youth. Never knew it existed. Nicely located up by the old Encore gardens park.

Bright mural 

Some murals by the students on the winding drive up to the property. I love getting out exploring. I never know what I'll find to shoot.

Wandering Guy
  So there's this guy...
Day and night likes to wander
Goes up over hills
and in valleys down yonder 

But this guy feels stronger
Stronger than the guy who does not wander
He can do anything 'cause he is stronger.
His choice to wander made him stronger.


Mark Stevens 

Everything except duck soup…

I have 2 different streams of separate but related (in my eclectic mind anyway) thought to share. First, the discovery that Peking Duck Pizza is now being served at our local Costco. My first thoughts were: I like Peking Duck and I like pizza, but will I like Peking Duck Pizza. Ok for roughly $8 I told the son, "let's try it." When we got it home and opened-lo and behold it was Peking Duck Pizza. However, it was more Peking Duck than pizza on one crucial point-no tomato sauce! Shrieks, gasps whatever sounds you deem appropriate just fill in here_______________________. In place of the pizza defining seasoned tomato sauce it had Hoisin Sauce the semi-sweet sauce that is derigeur for Peking Duck. In fairness it wasn't bad as a food item but failed as pizza. The main reason was since it had left being a real pizza territory when it substituted sauces, the combination of melted cheese with the oily duck meat was a little too rich and not that appetizing. Not horrible mind you but let's just say we won't be experimenting with this one again.

Now on that inappropriateness of cheese point let's jump over here. Like Jason Jones said in the video below, "It's like cheese is delicious on Italian food, but when you melt it on Chinese food it's disgusting." Now if only Jason were at Costco with me yesterday...

Finally, in maintaining faithfulness with the blog title inspiration:

Get your free music sampler here….

  Get your free !K7 Sampler here  

Matthew Herbert big Band






K7 records offering another free sampler. Some eclectic mix of tunes including:

  1. Hot Chip
    My Piano (dub)
    "My Piano" appears on "Hot Chip DJ-Kicks"
  2. Carl Craig
    Brainfreeze (edit)
    "Brainfreeze" taken from Carl Craig's "Sessions"
  3. Quiet Village
    Circus of Horror
    "Circus Of Horror" taken from the album "Silent Movie"
  4. The Herbaliser
    You're not all that
    "You're Not All That" taken from the album "Same As It Never Was"
  5. Milosh
    Awful Game
    "Awful Game" taken from the album "iii"
  6. Bomb The Bass
    So Special
    "So Special" taken from the album "Future Chaos"
  7. The Matthew Herbert Big Band
    The Story (edit)
    "The Story" appears on "There's Me And There's You"
  8. Circlesquare
    Dancers (edit)
    "Dancers" appears on the upcoming album "Songs About Dancing And Drugs"
  9. Boozoo Bajou
    Flickers (edit)

Just go here and fill in in your info for download link. Let me know which ones you like.


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Among the Vouchered set…

Here in Taiwan the government has deemed that in order to help stimulate the local economy they'll issue vouchers of NT$3600 (around US$120) to all citizens and spouses of ROC (Republic of China is Taiwan's official name) citizens which I happen to be. This is right before the Chinese New year holiday which begins next weekend.














I was one of the first in line at 7:20AM. In my queue I was the third person. Once the disbursement proceedings began at 8:00AM promptly I might add I was vouchered and out the door by 8:15. Now what to spend it on. Any ideas? :D

Stiff Little Fingers

This is one of those back in the day nostalgia kind of posts, and not. I don't believe a genuine connection can ever be resigned to nostalgia or have to be apologized for. I have no regrets growing up when new record albums and music magazines domestic (US) and British offered all kinds of new discovery-new bands, new singles, new albums much of it good. This was still before MTV came along to pwn the party and punk the music with it's obsession with eye candy first and music second. Stiff Little Fingers was punk-the good kind. Tons of attitude and a message. Just the name of the band, the poignancy of their music the bittersweet legacy of being from Northern Ireland a land divided, torn in fact over religious and political divisions . Forgot where I first heard about them-NME, Melody Maker, Trouser Press? I can't forget the first time I heard them though. Inflammable material planted in my head, there's a suspect device left 2,000 dead... Chainsaw guitar, really tight and so urgent.It was in fact a musical, even a sonic suspect device of explosive nature. Not only did I dance my ass off I felt like running over there and screaming. Sure part of it was the times, my age-probably 19 or so but the vitality of the music and the sincerity were infectious and undeniable.Here's to passionate and sincere music.Tags: , ,

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Marketing:Telling stories

Ladies gabbingWell this meme has been percolating in my head (hate to be the one that has to clean that filter) for the last few days and even a lifetime if you want to get technical. I have been engaged in sales and marketing for over 30 years. There are all kinds of sales and marketing people from the sublime to the sub-slime. The reason marketing is so successful is because people like to hear stories:  myths, legends, theory, epics, philosophy, religious, science, blarney, etc. Sometimes separately sometimes in tandem. Often the storyteller is not aware where the fact ends or the fiction begins (due to matters of the sub-conscious) and vice verse .

Personally, I love good marketing stories-those that indicate to me what the product or service strengths or benefits are. Do you need to filter? Let me first ask you-do you need to filter any communication? Your spouse, parents, tire salesmen, preacher, guy down the street? I think your getting my point. We all filter as we are filtered. People you trust and hold in higher regard will naturally be filtered less than people you aren't that well acquainted with or view with suspicion. What I really dislike is pure lying but even worse is the jargon gimmick. Lying is inherently more honest in my book than using jargon to leverage the readers ignorance of the topic. Don't you just love those marketers that spin a fart into a temporal convective inversion of malodorous origin?? What the??

Why do I say lying is more honest? Well at least it is a straight up confidence maneuver, no other pretensions. If you missed it liar gets a free pass but is usually found out in the short term. Don't misunderstand me , I'm not in favor of lying. I'm a strong proponent of integrity and decent service. I too greatly appreciate when someone deals with me in a respectful and dignified manner. I could be wrong but it seems like the latest jargon-fest gold rush is in the social media space. Many of these people hurriedly throwing up their WordPress-themed blogs and portending knowledge on the deeper truths such as  blogging, Twitter, Facebook, Ning, etc. I mean come on-what is really needed is people that can talk well and clearly to others, not someone to charge a lot of money to sell these free web 2.0 widgets to ignorant customers that don't get it. It wouldn't be so bad if the Social Media marketing expert got it himself and really could aid with the communication rather than throwing blustery jargon around in an exercise of smoke and mirrors.

The Mainstream media is not much better. Every time I hear Larry King talk about the "blog" it makes me grimace. Especially the other day when he pointed out how the blog was on the road?? I mean come on Larry do you really want to battle former Senator Ted Stevens for ignorance on the Internet and related terminology? Blogs are great vehicles for people to express themselves with others and for the writers own benefit. Yes, there is something therapeutic about fleshing out your thoughts and committing them to paper or cyberspace in the case of blogs. If someone else reads it and comments all the better. I guess in the Social Media space it's just a carry over from the technorati-technology is king, content is...what's content or substance?

I'll end on this note because Steve Jobs is the big tech news today for reasons of personal health and being at the helm of Apple Computer: one of the greatest technology companies in the last 2 centuries. He hired some people at Chiat/Day who in turn hired Ridley Scott(of BladeRunner and Alien fame) to tell a great story on a big stage and only once. It was a story told during the broadcast of the SuperBowl in 1984 in commercial form. Yes, that very iconic year that George Orwell used to contain his vision of a brave new world gone very much awry.

In closing, I'm not so naive as to think people are always aware of their motives and methods. If they were clergy and psychiatrists would have been put out of business long ago. My point is as much as you are aware, show some respect for the person you are talking to. Try to tell an interesting story but more importantly a story that has a happy ending. Namely, that you can deliver the goods promised in the tale.