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