Monday, December 14, 2009

My last post on Posterous (and therefore Blogger, LiveJournal, Tumblr, Xanga, etc.)

Posterous - no thanks...

Just over four months ago yours truly began a grand experiment with Posterous, the anti-aggregator. That experiment is now complete.

Whereas lifestreaming, as seen on the likes of FriendFeed and MyBlogLog, pulls in content from disparate sources for reading on a single page, Posterous does quite the opposite -- blasting out the same content to multiple destinations.

In my original defence of Posterous I wrote of my desire to hit people where they live -- i.e. let folks comment on my shit in the online spaces where they're already active. But in practice it hasn't quite worked out that way. While I've gained a couple of followers on Blogger (scroll down to the very bottom of the page) a single post on WordPress (with a shout-out on Twitter) has generated more discussion than the combined comments everywhere else -- including right here on Posterous!

I won't be abandoning Posterous altogether, but from this point onwards all content will originate from my blog -- at least until I launch my brand-new site in 2010 8-)

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Sunday, December 13, 2009

#ACRTW - Sucking face with a tuna at Midorisushi.

A heartfelt thanks to Q-Taro and his lovely girlfriend for ensuring that the penultimate meal of my trip around the around wasn't McDonald's...

After an afternoon of shopping I got the call to head out to Umegaoka Station on the Odakyu rail line. A short trip that should have taken 15 minutes instead took over an hour, partly because I couldn't actually find the Odakyu line in the cavernous Shibuya station, partly because I took the express train instead of the local and overshot my destination and partly because email wasn't working on my N86, due to lingering connection settings from Taipei.

None of this ultimately mattered, because by the time I got to where I was supposed to be my fellow diners were 45 minutes in to an hour-long wait for a table at Midorisushi.

Though we sat down for raw fish one of friendly staff talked us into this rather large cooked tuna jaw:

Tuna Jaw

Once you scraped the meat off the bone it was a lot more tender than you'd think!

Black sesame, green tea & sweet potato ice cream.

After that massive appetizer and an assortment of fresh-from-the-sea sushi (which I unfortunately neglected to photograph) it was time for dessert -- (from the left) black sesame, green tea and sweet potato ice cream. There was but a single order of the black sesame left and it was supposedly the tastiest of the three. As the guest I was given the honour of devouring it but I shared because I'm cool like that...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Friday, December 11, 2009

#ACRTW - My Saturday shopping spree in Tokyo.

Though Japan's kick-ass keitai aren't really suitable for export, there's plenty of other stuff that is. Here are some highlights from my Tokyo stopover:

Wise-Walker - Cool New Line of Man-Purses at Tokyu Hands

It's not only white phones that I like... Here's a collection of man-purses from Wise-Walker on display at the fashionable Tokyu Hands -- specifically the Shibuya location near my hotel.

Cool Netbook Sleeves at Tokyu Hands

These neoprene netbook/laptop sleeves were also pretty cool. I might have picked one up but truth is my Eee PC fits in my Porter bag just fine.

OMFG, Ninjas!!1!

I was also quite thrilled to find an ample supply of phone ninjas in Asakusa, exactly where I had purchased them some three years ago. No white ones, though. :(

Crazy Odaiba Cat Store - Entrance

And not being the selfish type I had to make my way back to this crazy cat store in Odaiba so I could bring back something for my boy. They had an interesting selection of humiliating strap-on hats and such but I settled for a more practical gift -- some salmon jerky, which he polished off in less than 24 hours...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Thursday, December 10, 2009

#ACRTW - My very tasteful audio tour of the Japanese toilet experience.

Toto Toilet Console

Here's something a little different -- an audio walkthrough of the fancy toilet in my Tokyo hotel room. If you've been listening to the DyscultureD podcast you'll have already heard this at the end of Episode 59. If not, check it out -- it's totally SFW!

Japanese Toilet Audio Walkthrough by acurrie

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

#ACRTW - A grand farewell to Taipei at The Grand Hotel.

Here's a little video I did live from The Grand Hotel -- a hugely impressive property but man, I'm glad I didn't stay there...

Grand Hotel at Dusk

The Grand's big drawback is its location -- it's a $100 TWD cab ride from the nearest MRT station, whereas the place I stayed at is right beside a stop further south and much closer to downtown Taipei.

Grand Hotel Lobby

The Grand's massive lobby. The secret tunnels lie beneath, I think...

Though reports on TripAdvisor tell of shoddy run-down rooms the place looked like it was in pretty good shape to me. It would be a good choice for travellers not planning to actually leave the hotel -- conference-goers, honeymooners, that kind of thing.

Grand Hotel at Night

You could probably catch some pretty cool views of the city from the higher floors, but as a non-guest it didn't seem to me like I was allowed up there...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

#ACRTW - The serious business of eating dumplings in Taiwan.

Mr. and Mrs. Sandy Chen Sr. at Din Tai Fung

Here's David and Carol (Sandy Chen's Mom and Dad) outside the world-famous dumpling restaurant DinTaiFung. As you can see from their expression, folks in Taiwan take their dumplings very seriously.

Oh, ignore the mascot...

DinTaiFung Guide for Laowai

Further proof: As soon as I sat down with Mr. & Mrs. Chen the server handed me this Laowai guide to Taiwanese soup dumplings. Little did they know I live just down the street from a soup dumpling shop back home...

Taro Dumplings -- oh sweet jeebus...

The soup dumplings were indeed delicious, but by far my favourite dish was the taro dumplings we had for dessert.

You have no idea how sweet ass-crap -delicious this is...

The caption for this photo on Flickr: "You have no idea how sweet ass-crap-delicious this is..."

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Monday, December 07, 2009

#ACRTW - Taipei's Modern Toilet Restaurant. For serious.

Table for one...

Okay, seriously... How can you not want to eat at a restaurant chain who's tagline is "Shit or Food"?

Modern Toilet Entrance

Though Modern Toilet is a Taiwan-wide chain with multiple locations in Taipei alone, I chose to eat in the trendy Ximending shopping district. It proved quite challenging to find, and took a combination of Google Maps, the GPS on my N86 and an ad from a tourist map I brought with me from my hotel to arrive at this spot.

Modern Toilet Chicken Curry

Though I was early for dinner I wasn't early enough to beat the after-school crowd, and was sat at a large glass-covered bathtub with some non-English-speaking locals. I didn't let that stop me from ordering up a big black toilet-full of chicken curry.

Okay, the toilet wasn't actually to scale...

Modern Toiilet Ice Cream Dessert

My meal also came with dessert, served up in a mini squat toilet. Can't say it was as good as the curry, though... It looked like ice cream but I couldn't really taste any dairy in it.

At the counter where you settle up you can also buy some souvenirs, like an oversized plush coil of poop with stitched-in plastic flies.

I can certainly recommend Modern Toilet as a unique dining experience. About the only complaint I had about my visit there was that I couldn't use the actual washroom, as it was being cleaned at the time. Gross!

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Sunday, December 06, 2009

#ACRTW - A tour of Taipei 101.

Living in a city with a fairly tall tower myself I of course had to pay a visit to the famous Taipei 101...

Taipei 101 by Day

The architects who designed this monolith cleverly stuck a mall in front of it that you're forced to walk through to get to the tower. Evil!

Facing Northwest from the 89th Floor

Facing northwest from the 89th-floor gallery. That building with the yellow roof is the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. The large domed structure behind it is the Taipei Arena, and just a bit further down the street is my hotel. Can you see it?

The Very Top of Taipei 101

Two floors up on the 91st is an outdoor observation deck -- surprisingly calm until you realize there are guards keeping people from the windward side.

Artsy Shot

Top of Taipei 101 by acurrie

But there was this odd whistling sound that you can hear above.

Another Nokia N86 money shot: Taipei 101

You can thank my N86 on loan from Nokia for the awesome pics. More on that in a future post...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Saturday, December 05, 2009

SOCAN doesn't want their #CopyCon submission made public so I've done it for you.

Another public service by tireless Canadian copyfighter Michael Geist...

It seems that the Society of Composers, Authors & Music Publishers of Canada (or SOCAN) tried to make their public submission for last summer's Copyright Consultation anything but. While our country's government rightly denied SOCAN's request to not publish their document online, in order to see it you must request it by email on the CopyCon site.

Just in case you were worried that someone might be building a secret list of citizens who don't blindly worship the music industry or something, you can read the document right here without turning over any of your personal information.

You're welcome! 8-)

Posted via email from Andrew Currie on Posterous

#ACRTW - My first day in Taipei.

Though the battery on my N86 ran out mere seconds into this recording, the story here is that halfway around the world and a week into my trip I was back on Qik, and it was all thanks to the SIM card I got with unlimited data from local carrier FarEasTone.

Because my costs for transmitted data were now $6 CAD per day instead of $4 CAD per megabyte I was now free and clear to (for example) make a public nuisance of myself in my hotel's lobby restaurant:

Though this little coffee shop offered a great view of Monday morning commuters, I spent the rest of my breakfasts at the top-floor buffet...

Shortly after breakfast it was time for another meal -- this one with Carol & David Chen, parents of my good friend (and top-notch cat-sitter) Sandy.

Carol Lin, my ambassador to Taipei for the day.

After lunch Mrs. Chen kindly offered to take me through Guang Ha Digital Plaza, which must have been boring as all hell for her so I bought her ice cream. She returned the favour by taking me to a night market and buying me a bag of this bizarre Taiwanese chewing gum:

Taiwanese chewing gum -- forget Red Bull, this stuff will bite you in the ass.

This concoction is actually areca nuts wrapped in betel leaves. You're not meant to actually eat any of it, just swallow the juice and spit out the rest once it dries up.

Though often sold at roadside stands by scantily-clad ladies my purchasing experience was a little different; the grumpy old woman that eventually sold me this bag had to be talked into it -- she was convinced I'd have a heart attack if I had all of it, and she was probably right... Just one piece gets your heart racing!

Friday, December 04, 2009

#ACRTW - My thrill-less ride on the Singapore Flyer. Ditto for Singapore.

Singapore Flyer - at the top #1

Perhaps foolishly, I gave up my only opportunity for a famous hawker stand meal just so I could take a ride on the Singapore Flyer at dusk. You really don't want to know what I had instead -- suffice to say it was one of only two gastronomical transgressions during my trip around the world...

Singapore Flyer Artsy Shot

Despite reaching a maximum height of some 42 storeys the experience wasn't at all thrilling -- and really, the same could be said of my entire weekend in Singapore.

Singapore Flyer - at the top #3

It seems that this small island city-state is positioning itself as the Vegas of Asia -- the sterile, family-friendly kind as opposed to the one with gangsters and Frank Sinatra. You can see the towers of the massive casino project there already under construction to the left in the photo above.

Maybe it's because I was bummed that I wasn't able to meet up with an old friend there, but Singapore was for me too gentrified and joyless, and left me craving a more authentic Asian experience. And boy, did I ever get it...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Thursday, December 03, 2009

#ACRTW - There are no tech bargains in Singapore. Trust me.

What better way to spend a Saturday morning in Singapore than in an air-conditioned shopping centre? Here's a quick video tour of Funan DigitalLife Mall:

It's entirely true about the prices of local kit here. Check out the price list posted at Funan's official Nokia outlet:

Singapore's Very Expensive Nokias

When you consider the exchange rate -- $1 SGD was equal to just a bit less than $1 CAD when I was there -- these prices aren't exactly a bargain. Compare, for example, that N86, same as the one I had with me. You can currently get one unlocked in Canada for less than five hundred bucks, and with free shipping!

A quick look at Sim Lim Square... A white N97 Mini that I spotted on a ground floor booth piqued my interest, but at over $800 CAD it just didn't seem like a good value.

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

#ACRTW - My first durian in Singapore.

Here's something a little different -- an audio clip describing my first taste of durian fruit on the famous Bugis Street in Sinapore's Chinatown:

Download now or listen on posterous
My First Durian.wav (1181 KB)

Durian... um, meat?

Here's what the "meat" looks like. The durian monger was packaging them to order so I paid a buck or two to sample a little piece. No way I could have finished a whole one...

Durian Husks

... But lot of folks do, apparently. Right beside the stand were a few tables with some diners (all women) enjoying a durian of their very own.

Posted via email from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

#ACRTW - Facing my past in Singapore... Literally.

Here's a little video I shot from my hotel room upon my arrival in Singapore:

I knew I was going to be in the same neighbourhood as where I had stayed with Second City some eight years prior, but I didn't think I'd be that close -- literally everything I remember was within a block of where I was staying.

It was kind of cool walking into the lobby of UE Square and seeing the same Delifrance exactly where I expected it to be (although there were no le financiers this time around). But walking through the lobby of the DBS Arts Centre felt nostalgic in an uncomfortable kind of way -- I guess I'm not one who likes to dwell on the past too much...

The strangest thing is that I also remember an empty lot behind the Roberston Quay Hotel -- who knew that I'd be staying at a brand-new hotel there seven years later?

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Monday, November 30, 2009

#ACRTW - Thip Samai, the best pad thai in Bangkok.

Thip Samai

You wouldn't think that a humble establishment like this would have their own website, but here it is...

I found out about Thip Samai while flipping through my copy of Time Out: Bangkok -- my one and only opportunity to eat there fell on the night before my departure for Singapore, and it was a tough call because at the time I was across town at a busy mall and facing a very long drive through legendary Bangkok traffic.

Fortunately Google Maps and a very adroit cabbie came to my rescue. And was it ever worth it!

Thip Samai Coconut Juice

I followed Time Out's instructions to the letter and started off with this delicious iced coconut juice, the perfect way to cool down on a typically hot Bangkok night.

Thip Samai Pad Thai

And here's the main event.

Thip Samai does pad thai a little differently, wrapping up the noodles in a layer of egg rather than chopping the egg up and mixing it in. Whatever, it was awesome.

The only possible smear on this authentic Thai experience was that I was sat at a table directly beside two other pasty white people, who had heard about Thip Samai on an Australian TV food show. They were friendly enough but I think both parties would have rather lived under the illusion that they were the only westerners ever to have set foot here. Hence, my terse Tweet from the scene...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Sunday, November 22, 2009

#ACRTW - Obligatory Bangkok touristy shit -- Grand Palace, Reclining Buddha and Wat Arun.

I didn't hire a guide for any of these attractions as I was on high alert for scams and touts -- sure enough, someone had the balls to try the old "Grand Palace is closed for a Thai holiday but let me take you somewhere even better" routine, right in front of the clearly open main gate and two armed guards there! When in doubt, ask the guys with bayonets...

So much purple!

I suppose you could call this "ornate"...

I don't know what this is but it's awesome.

Just south of the Grand Palace lies (literally) the Reclining Buddha:


Big toes.

I don't know what this is either but it's also awesome.

And just across the river is Wat Arun.

Danger zone.

The top level of this structure was apparently closed to the public in 1998 after a tourist slipped and fell to their death -- now it's open again. The second level was plenty high enough for me.

Despite the crowds throughout the day my mind was still fairly blown by the physical manifestations of this exotic culture. It seems to me that in many ways Thailand is the realm of ghosts and demons who decided the fate of this world a long time ago...

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Saturday, November 21, 2009

#ACRTW - Bangkok by land and sea and land (YouTube vids).

For those who have been, Bangkok is probably about as famous for its congestion as anything else. Here are three quick videos showing the predominant modes of local transportation:

First up, the BTS SkyTrain -- coincidentally covered in advertising for Nokia's new N97 Mini.

Next, the Chao Phraya Express Boat -- the best way to get to touristy sites along the river.

And finally, what I just know you've been waiting for, a virtual tuk-tuk ride!

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

#ACRTW - My gift to Nokia -- I'm fairly certain you won't find a photo like this anywhere else on the internets...

Okay Nokia, you can use this photo for free -- I'm thinking your campaign could be along the lines of: "The best camera to have is the one you have with you..."

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Monday, November 16, 2009

#ACRTW - Check out the crazy video zoom on the Nokia N86! Oh, and also the city of Bangkok.

Sorry that I don't have more to report, but shortly after I took this video I was sound asleep.

I meant to stay up a little longer, I really did. Al Pavangkanan, a fellow North American who's also in town, even offered to come downtown and show me around a bit. But after being homeless (ok, bed-less) for two days the allure of soft fluffy pillows proved too hard to resist.

But I'll make for it today. Just you wait...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

#ACRTW - Sunday brunch in London with friends.

Hey, isn't that Tom Hall, the dude who tirelessly collates all the goings-on in the Nokia-verse for Indeed it is -- he's seen here (photo #1) posing at the front door of 1000heads swanky new London HQ.

Tom graciously offered to babysit me during my day-long layover in and out of Heathrow, and he brought friends (photo #2). Even better, I got the okay to take one of them with me on my 'round the world tour!

But which one?

Well, the white N97 actually belongs to Tom so that's out. And truth be told only the N86 was earmarked for me, mostly because of its high-res camera but also because the other two technically haven't been released to the public yet. But you know what? I'm totally okay with that.

I know, you think I'm an idiot for not begging to take the N900 with me, especially being a Linux-loving freedom beard and all. But hear me out: Though Nokia's open-source behemoth has more raw horsepower than the other two, I've got some issues with it -- at least in regards to this particular trip:

  1. I'm going to be running around Bangkok, Singapore, Taipei & Tokyo documenting anything & everything I can, and I simply don't have the time to get fluent in Maemo right now.
  2. The QWERTY keypad on the N900 is good, but the one on the N97 is significantly better, IMHO. The keys are farther apart and have more travel, which makes thumb-typing more accurate -- at least for me.
  3. I can't put my finger on it (no pun intended) but even after a few minutes with it the N900 feels less like a phone and more like a really small computer. My netbook is already a fairly small computer, so what I need is a phone.
The N97 Mini might have gotten the nod (were it possible), but every single app I've currently got on my N79 is replicable on the N86. Give me an hour or two to set up the shortcut keys and I'm good to go.

And now, thanks to Tom and my other pals at WOM World, I'll have a high-functioning handest in Tokyo that's worthy of a Japanse keitai...

Arigato! m(_ _)m

Saturday, November 14, 2009

#ACRTW - the prologue.

The problem with Business Class -- at least on Air Canada -- is that there's nobody really interesting to chat with.

That first photo below is my lie-flat seat, number 2A on AC856 to LHR. The dude in 1A looked like he was gonna go all Sean Penn on me when I snapped it. Whatever. I'm here for the seat.

Posted via email from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Emo Reindeer is Emo.

So last night I dropped the boy off with very capable cat-sitters Sandy Chen and Ryan Lynch. To show my appreciation I took them for dinner at Square One -- where, lo and be-ho-ho-hold, TELUS Mobility had a cheesy photo stand set up to drive traffic to their store down the hall.

I'm pretty sure this photo was taken with some kind of BlackBerry, which explains the over-saturated colour and lack of focus. ; )

Posted via email from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oh look, it's some clueless old men in suits... and also Michael Geist.


If you're pressed for time, scrub ahead and start watching at the 27:49 mark to see:
  • Ian Morrison proclaiming that there's insufficient bandwidth to watch television online. O RLY? Here, let me Google that for you...
  • Norm Bolen talk about increased ad revenues from US programming, like that's a good thing for Canadian content...?
  • (best of all) Norm's head on the verge of ass-ploding as #copyfight superstar Michael Geist talks about his own TV viewing habits.
If you're not familiar with the current fee-for-carriage war between cable companies and broadcasters in this country, this essay echoes my own feelings on the matter.
Anyway, another win for The Agenda!

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Here's a video demo of FishText, showing how you can circumvent your carrier's ridiculous charges for International SMS.

Considering that text messages cost my carrier absolutely nothing to provide, I find it a bit ridiculous that when abroad I have to pay an additional ¢75 per sent message, or purchase a temporary SMS travel package in advance.

Fortunately, there's another, better way. Check out the video above to see FishText in action. It's a Java app so it'll work on pretty much every handset out there, even your stupid iPhone -- and if you don't want to pay for data roaming it'll even work over WiFi.

How brilliant is that?

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Thursday, November 12, 2009

'Ink' is a feature film made outside the Hollywood system. You need to see it because it's awesome, and important.

Hollywood has claimed that they don’t know how to market the film or that it doesn’t have an audience, and what BitTorrent has done in the last four days is prove, unequivocally, that Hollywood is wrong.

First thing, here's the direct link to the BitTorrent file so you can start downloading your own copy now. If you don't know how BitTorrent works, call me up and I will burn a disc of the film and walk it over to you.

It's that good.

Furthermore, it stands to be the first major success of BitTorrent as a distribution model. It's not the first -- Nasty Old People will go in the record books for that -- but with upwards of half a million downloads it's now one of the top 20 feature releases in the world. And all without Hollywood's help.

At this point the filmmakers no longer need Hollywood. Instead, they're appealing directly to their audience to monetize their efforts:

We’re not looking to get rich, but would like to pay back our investors and the enormous amount of personal debt we’ve gone into making the film. We’re also not looking to make Hollywood films (Jamin has had several opportunities) and plan on continuing the march of making fiercely independent films. In order to do that we have to count on the power of the people, eyeballs all over the world and torrenters to throw our film a few bucks apiece. It’s the indie film model of the future and we appreciate each and every person who takes the time to watch our film. It appears we’re all rebels here… so let’s wave that flag proud.

This is the second reason why you need to see this film. The first is because it's fucking fantastic!

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous