Archive for the ‘Links’ Category

Good habits lost

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Tonight, I browsed through a few artists’ blogs. This was something I used to do daily in my high school years when I came home from school. Nowadays, that habit seems to have given way to flipping through hundreds of photos of Facebook people I never talk to or whom I’ve never met. The former is undoubtedly better for my soul. I will have to keep that in mind.

This paragraph details my journey: I started at YellowGoat’s blog, which led me to Devon Smith’s Flickr photostream. Somebody who had commented on one of her drawings drew my attention; she has an intriguing minty hair color. I’ve never seen mint green look so natural on a person. After flipping through all of her facebook profile pictures, I realized I was being a little creepy and stepped away momentarily to draw.

Anyway, the drawing is hideous. When I drew the first few lines, I thought it was the ugliest thing ever and wanted to trash it right away. Then, I colored it to see if my mind would change. It is merely a concept, and a start. Or maybe not a start, but a rare, isolated drawing incident.

Systematic Music Discovery

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

I’m finally starting up a systematic process to discover and acquire new music. This was a long process in the making, and began about a year ago when I started weeding through my entire iTunes library and deleting and categorizing the music I already have. Now I am ready to start building on it.

I have several tools to help me remember what pieces I like best:

  • 1. Notebook. I always carry it with me, and quickly jot down the name of the piece.
  • 2. tobedownloaded.txt – A text file where I maintain a list of songs I like for downloading later. This is usually when I’m listening to online radios at home and the information is readily available.
  • 3. Shazam (iPhone app). This one is awesome when I’m in a public place, like a coffeeshop or restaurant, because I can take out my phone and send a little snippet of the music to retrieve the title and artist (if it’s in the database). The best part is that the app can identify the song despite background noise, like people talking loudly in a restaurant.
  • 4. Nabbit (iPhone app). This app is great for when I’m listening to the radio and want to make note of a song I’m listening to. I use this mainly when I’m listening to KJazz while I drive to and from work. My jazz collection is quite small, so I wish to expand it.

I then consolidate all my findings in tobedownloaded.txt and buy them off of iTunes.

Jazz is my main focus of the musical discovery efforts, but I will share my jazz findings in a later post. Today, I will talk of new pieces I’ve bought to add to my “chill” playlist – yes, you guessed it: a playlist of downbeat electronic music.

  • Keston and Westdal – Vaccine: I admit it, I’m a sucker for string instruments in “songs.” This one has a light feel to it and makes me think of lemon sorbet.
  • Xela – Japanese Whispers: This one reminds me of Pattern’s Patterns by Paul Lansky and granular synthesis methods I learned in electronic music class in college. I love how cleanly the phonemes are dissected out.
  • Plaid – Light Rain: I like the little sounds in this one.
  • Zero 7 – Destiny: I still can’t remember if I Shazam’d this track because I wanted it, or because I was testing out Shazam. Generic downbeat electronica chord progressions and sound. However, I kind of like the melodic line. After I bought the song, I was repulsed by a section of parallel fifths towards the end. Many of my favorite composers would have turned in their graves. Too bad I can’t get a refund, so I might as well keep it. It does fit in nicely with the playlist.
  • Jon Hassell – Last Night the Moon Came: I Shazam’d this song during a modern dance performance I went to last night. The artist’s name sounded familiar. I then remembered that I saw Jon Hassell in concert in February 2009 in an electronic music concert. This fact was confirmed by taking a peek in my concert program collection; I’ve been saving programs from all the concerts I’ve gone to in the past decade in my file cabinet. HAH! See? I knew it’d be useful someday.

On another vein, I also recently downloaded Roy Harris’s Piano Quintet. I heard this on KUSC (our local classical music radio) on the way home from work on a rainy afternoon. I liked it so much that I sat in my car for fifteen minutes, waiting for it to finish so I could turn off the car and go home. This piece has just the kind of sonority that I like in modern chamber music.

There you go. Expert musical criticism from a person with a music major degree. Seriously, though, this is just a start. I’ll have more substantial musical purchases to blog about in future posts.

Blogs that inspired me to blog again

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

There are two kinds of blogs out there: Ones where almost all content is original by the writer, and ones that are solely dedicated to referring the reader to other content on the web.

The latter kind of blog owners post their findings (articles, YouTube videos, funny pictures) on the web to gloat about how good they are at browsing the web all day. Some even write commentary about other people’s work to give themselves a false sense of productivity. Judging from this mini-tirade, it may be obvious that these are not the kind of blogs I prefer to follow.

The blogs I like the most are usually kept by artists who mostly post their creative work, but they might, at times, link to something that inspires them. The entry lengths are not so long that you need to scroll three pages to read through. I find that I’m drawn to ones with pictures – but not blogs where each entry has a picture in it just for the sake of having a picture. Design is important, too; I’m immediately turned off from blogs with the generic Blogger template, but I’ll give them a chance. They don’t need to update every day; just enough for me to keep checking back. Correct spelling and grammar are, of course, a given. Not cluttered with ads.

I had been thinking about what to do with this blog, which I’d been keeping since 2000, and the blogs below were the ones solely responsible for inspiring me to start again:

  • Songs without Words – kept by my good friend Justin from college. His posts are always meaningful and display all kinds of creative work: writings, drawings, music, cooking, photography, other creative projects, or sometimes just a glimpse into his thoughts about other aspects of his life.
  • Phosphene – Fashion blog written by a medical student. There are many fashion blogs out there, but I only liked this one enough to follow it daily. I like the minimalistic design of the website, and I adore the photography she puts up of herself where she models her creations in front of lovely urban backgrounds.
  • Katie De Sousa paints stuff. – An art blog kept by an amazing digital painter. She explains some of the creative thought process behind her paintings and posts pictures of the works in progress.
  • Art blog of Lisa Falzon – Here is a blog by another great digital artist. Her paintings are beautiful, and I also like reading about her life in Cork, too.
  • – I’d been waiting for Clare to start her personal website for the past three years. So far, it has been well worth the wait!
  • – Okay, so this is the only blog that doesn’t fit my description of the ideal blog above, but I could safely say that this is the blog that made me decide to blog again. The blog, which has a very simple and elegant design, catalogues things that inspire the writer. I like her taste!

As for me, I need to find some time to sort through nine years of archives, screen some entries, and fix broken links as necessary. You don’t get to see the archives until then.

some links

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

Today I went to Diesel Sweeties, and was surprised to see that a photo I had sent in two or three years ago is on the main page! I’m flattered, because this is the only webcomic that I keep up with nowadays.

While I’m in a link-giving mood, I’ll direct you to some other sites that I like.

I’m not a big fan of reading blogs of people I don’t know, but I make a few exceptions. I really like Lisa Wray‘s website, especially the blog. I had met her at MIT a few years ago. Other than that, I found a short story blog called The Collective Lens. I’m usually not too interested in reading a lot of creative writing, but these writings are so captivating and humorous. They’re also short enough that you can devour one after the other like small pieces of candy.

I also go on DeviantART from time to time to see if I’ll find any interesting artists. I heard about “philip surrender” because his account had been banned; to understand why, I went through every single drawing in his gallery and ended up being in awe with him. He’s really skilled at expressing his feelings through his drawings, and I felt like I got to know a lot about him just because every drawing feels so autobiographical. There is a lot of blood, but if you’re not bothered by that stuff, you should take a look. This drawing is one of my favorites, but of course there are many more that I really love.

I also found Katie De Sousa, who is extraordinarily talented for her age (she’s only eightteen!). This is the most recent drawing she’s posted, and she calls it a “sketch.” Her art is so delightful.

Finally, I stumbled upon this photographer on deviantART, and later on found out that he’s Turkish. I’m a big fan of fashion photography, so his work appealed to me. I really like his vision and his use of color.

I’ll be adding these links to my favorite links page.

how to eat sushi

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

The coordinator of MIT’s summer Japan program forwarded us a link to a video that’s a parody of how to properly eat sushi. (Don’t worry, not all of it is true.) Click here to see it!

it’s the beginning

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

My friends and I are now at the ages of 20 and 21, and some people I know from high school have already begun establishing their professional artistic careers. I think this is an amazing and inspiring thing.

Sophie has been working on a comic book this entire summer; I hope to be one of the first people to buy it once it’s published. Chelsea, an aspiring jazz singer, was my best friend in 6th grade. James and his friend make music together and host two open mics every week; they’ve recently recorded a CD. I didn’t know Tim very well, but he was a top choir student, and he already had fans by the time he was in 11th grade. I’ve been in some of the same classes with these guys since middle school, and it turns out that they just put out a CD, too. I’m sure that there are more, but these are the ones I heard about this summer.

These endeavors must be really exciting, but a lot of hard work. Sometimes I wonder where I would be if I had focused on my artistic talents instead of science classes. I think by now, I’d be busy refining my portfolio (either of compositions or of some sort of visual art) and exhibiting my work in galleries or concert venues.. Haha! It seems so difficult to imagine.

justin’s site

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

My friend Justin just put up his new site, and it looks great! Click here to see it.

Justin lives on the same floor as I do, so we often talk about drawing and music. He’s such an inspiration to me, because he’s always doing something artistic. It’s about time he put all that stuff up on a website!

cat and bunny

Friday, March 11th, 2005

Have you seen this yet?

I registered.

Monday, January 31st, 2005

Here are the classes I’m taking this semester:

10.301 – Fluid Mechanics

10.702 – Introductory Experimental Biology and Communication

21M.340 – Jazz Harmony and Arranging

21F.502 – Beginning Japanese II

21M.405 – Chamber Chorus

Also, I discovered a webcomic called Reman Mythology today. I was skeptical about it for the first few pages, but then I realized how detailed and beautiful the backgrounds was, and how well the story was told. And before I knew it, I fell in love with it. Now I feel weird after having read it. Like, my mind’s still in that world.. I love it when that happens.


Saturday, December 11th, 2004

I saw Hero last night and I’m in love with it! Ugh!! It was awesome. This is the biggest screenshot gallery I could find. I downloaded dozens of pictures from here!

More later.