News: I’m going to be blogging once a week!

December 31, 2010

Hello!

Image source: flickr.com/photos/fil/

Image source: flickr.com/photos/fil/

Because I’ve been so super slack at posting on this blog in the last half of 2010 I’ve decided to sign up to be part of WordPress’ PostAWeek 2011 challenge. Yes, they sent me an email and I spontaneously decided to join in.

I think it’s a really great way to inspire me to post regularly on all the little things I make and buy and all the restaurants and places of interest I stumble across during my time in Taiwan with, of course, a focus on what’s going on here in Taichung.

Oh, and I’ll be posting more on contemporary art in Taiwan. I’ll talk about the interviews I undertake and the galleries I visit. And about my job with Art Radar Asia. And…

If you want to join in, too, then here’s the instructions as written by WordPress. They’re running a post-daily challenge, too.

How to Join:

Signing up is simple – do the following:

  1. Post on your blog, right now, that you’re participating
  2. (You can grab a sample post from dailypost.wordpress.com)
  3. Use the tag postaday2011 or postaweek2011 in your posts (tips on tagging here)
  4. Go to dailypost.wordpress.com
  5. Subscribe to dailypost.wordpress.com– you’ll get reminders and inspirations every day to help you bring your full potential to your WordPress blog!

So, stay tuned for heaps more content from this little blog. And happy New Year!

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reads: mollie’s used books live underground in taichung

October 18, 2010

Friends of ours have been staying with us on their way from Southeast Asia to India. I was out and about with them on Saturday, checking out the early hours of the opening of this year’s Taichung Jazz Festival, and stumbled across this haven of the printed word on Gongyi Road, right next to the 7/11 near the People’s Park.

Mollie Used Books has a good feel to it. Located at basement level it is was a bit of a struggle to find the entrance until we noticed the not-so-clear sign on the glass shopfront pointing it out. It has a cafe with some pretty good-looking food and a decent and varied selection of English books. Of course, if you can read Chinese there’s an enormous selection of books printed in this language. Adding to the excitement there’s also an exhibition space, currently showing photography.

Here are some pics so you can get a feel for the place:

Inside Mollie Used Books, a new second-hand bookstore in Taichung City, Taiwan.

A view of the Mollie Used Books cafe area. The second-hand bookstore chain has just opened a new store in Taichung City, Taiwan.

I bought three books that day. Martin Amis: The Essential Guide (Reynolds and Noakes, NTD80), Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck, NTD60), and The Dharma Bums (Kerouac, NTD150).

Books bought from Mollie Used Books, a new second-hand bookstore that has just opened in Taichung City.

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JoB likes: HAND-MADE WEDDINGS

September 12, 2010

My fiance and I recently spent about five hours hand-crafting a large number of invites to give out to our guests for our slightly off-beat Taiwanese wedding. (We are both New Zealanders but are getting married here in Taichung.)

I’ve written up a how-to after the pics and will post on how we organised our (very) low-budget event after it’s all over. Only two weeks to go!

The first stage - stamping 40 or so pieces of cardboard.

Production line crafting - stamping 40 or so pieces of cardboard. There were a couple more colors - maroon, green, yellow.

Next: hand-stamping 40 or so brown envelopes.

Next: hand-stamping 40 or so brown envelopes.

The stamps - bought from a shop in Chung Yo department store here in Taichung.

The stamps - bought from a shop in Chung Yo department store here in Taichung.

The finished product. 1: invite card with party details. 2: Cat Lair business card, map to Cat Lair and drink card attached together with wool.

The finished product. 1: invite card with party details. 2: Cat Lair business card, map to Cat Lair and drink card tied together with wool.

Here’s how:

1. Buy two contrasting kinds of cardboard. We used corrugated cardboard as the backing card and a lighter polka dot card as the base card. You’ll also need some plain white heavy printer paper to print out the event details. While you’re at the stationers’/craft shop pick up some double-sided tape dispensers (better than glue because it doesn’t set all lumpy), some wool or string, a fine black marker or two, some rubber stamps, stamp ink in black, a craft knife, a cutting board, a strong ruler, some large-sized envelopes and a hole punch.

2. Measure and cut all the card to the size you want it. Remember that the base card needs to be a bit smaller than the backing card so it will fit inside it.

3. Stamp the base card with your chosen stamp and attach with double-sided tape to the backing card.

4. Type out the party details and print onto heavy white printer paper. Cut these out and attach with the tape to the cardboard. While you on the computer make a Google (or other) map to the venue and print this out on the heavy paper. Cut it out also. We needed to make a drink card for our wedding so we created and printed that at the same time.

5. We used some of the card leftover from the invite to make the “dog tags”. It was already cut to size. Just attach the map to some and any other materials you need to include to the rest. We included a business card from the venue in this set. Hole punch a corner of each card and then tie them all together with the string or wool.

6. Stamp all the envelopes with a stamp of your choice. We then typed and printed out addresses/names of guests and sender addresses onto the heavy white printer paper. We cut these out and attached them to the envelopes with the tape.

Notes: It’s a good idea to create a dummy copy of the invite before you go out and buy a whole lot of unnecessary stuff that you won’t use. Oh, and buy tons of tape – it goes really fast.

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finds: new taichung food and art places | part three: vintage shopping

August 8, 2010

Here’s some pics of the little vintage shop, nestled amongst the artist studios in the old market art area by Taichung’s art museum.

I bundled up a great plastic blue 80s handbag, an old Taiwanese movie poster and a couple of old paper advertisements. There’s more than a ton of other things I want.

Peering through the door of the little vintage place of heaven.

Peering through the door of the little vintage place of heaven.

Handmade paper "stained glass" windows outside vintage shop.

Handmade paper "stained glass" windows outside vintage shop.

The vintage shop. Lamps.

The vintage shop. Lamps.

The vintage shop. Odds and ends.

The vintage shop. Glass.

The vintage shop. Jewellery.

The vintage shop. Jewellery.

The vintage shop. Frames.

The vintage shop. Frames.

Address: I’m not going to tell you. Part of the fun of this place is trying to hunt it down. I will say, however, that it’s somewhere near the corner of the art museum parkway (beside the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts) and Wuquan Street. Bring a fan with you as the whole place is unbelievably hot in summer.

Read part one of this series
Read part two of this series

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finds: new taichung food and art places | part two: z gallery

August 8, 2010

Part two of a three part series of images, in this post you can explore the inside of Z Gallery. The gallery is located in an old covered market that independents are slowly converting into a series of artist spaces and shops.

At the moment there are five establishments nestled under the corrugated iron roof of the market: a contemporary art gallery, an independent film production studio and screening room, what looks like a literary space for writers, a vintage shop and a contemporary photography gallery and studio. The rent is super cheap in the area and because it’s so old, it looks like people can do what they want with their rented spaces. As a side note, the film studio plays screens independently produced short films from around the world every Saturday night. Entry is NT$50 per session.

Currently on display at Z Gallery are contemporary ink works by three Taiwanese artists, Lin Fan-wei, Tsai Yi-ru and Jung Jiang-je. I particularly love the art created by Tsai Yi-run.

Z Gallery.

Z Gallery.

Z Gallery. First floor.

Z Gallery. First floor.

Z Gallery. Window box.

Z Gallery. Window box.

Z Gallery. Third floor.

Z Gallery. Third floor.

Z Gallery. Another window box.

Z Gallery. Another window box.

Z Gallery. The bathroom.

Z Gallery. The bathroom.

Z Gallery.

Z Gallery.

Address: I’m not going to tell you. Part of the fun of this place is trying to hunt it down. I will say, however, that it’s somewhere near the corner of the art museum parkway (beside the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts) and Wuquan Street. Bring a fan with you as the whole place is unbelievably hot in summer.

Read part one of this series
Read part three of this series

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finds: new taichung food and art places | part one: elephant

August 8, 2010

In three parts, I will post a feast of images from two of my current favourite places in Taichung. I’ve taken photos inside an old covered market that has been converted into artist spaces and shops, all independently run, and inside Elephant, an awesome teensy restauant with probably the best (and cheapest) Western-style food in Taichung.

UPDATE | 27 February 2013 This restaurant has moved to a new location. It’s now two stories high(!), but thankfully still has the same great food and hole-in-wall atmosphere. You can find more information, including an address, on their Facebook page.

Elephant has everything from risottos to pastas (including a lot of vegetarian fare) to chips with gravy and cheese to fish and chips (yes!). I finally took J there after “discovering” it with a friend last week. Actually, the restaurant has been around since 1999 so it’s certainly not new to Taichung. However, it’s managed to stay relevant with simple architecture and stunningly cheap and tasty food. All pastas are between NT$80-$100, fish and chips are NT$130, you can get a vege, chicken or lamb kebab for only NT$80-$90, the chips with gravy and cheese are NT$100 and they have beer and a variety of soft drinks to wash it all down.

Elephant, near the corner of ZhongMing South and TaiZhongGang roads.

Elephant, near the corner of ZhongMing South and TaiZhongGang roads.

Chips with cheese and gravy, my newest obsession and only NT$100.

Chips with cheese and gravy, my newest obsession and only NT$100.

Lamb kebab, packed with shredded lamb and tons of veg. Only NT$90.

Lamb kebab, packed with shredded lamb and tons of veg. Only NT$90.

Elephant. The menu.

Elephant. The menu.

Inside Elephant.

Inside Elephant.

Elephant. Wall adornment.

Elephant. Wall adornment.

Elephant. Street-side signage.

Elephant. Street-side signage.

Address: 9-1, ZhongMing S Road, Taichung City.

Read part two of this series
Read part three of this series

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finds: green sea turtles return to taiwan

July 30, 2010

I just read this article on Taiwan Today and felt compelled to post it here. Green sea turtles are nesting on the shores of Taiwan for the first time in 30 years. Awesome!

Two nest were found in coastal Taitung County and in one nest, six eggs had already hatched. They were monitored so closely that the newspaper could even report on how many survived and how the others died… in all it’s glory detail.

Here’s what the article says:

According to a volunteer conservationist, six of the eggs have already hatched, with two of the baby sea turtles successfully making it to the ocean, and four of the hatchlings being eaten by predators or succumbing to sickness.

One of the sea turtles was found caught in a fishing net and released in an emergency rescue, making it safely to the ocean afterward, the volunteer said. The carcass of another hatchling whose head had been eaten by a sand crab was also discovered in a fishing net in the area.

That’s right, they found a CARCASS whose HEAD was EATEN by a sand crab.

Read it for yourself.

news: new Taichung ex-pat mag Guanxi is out

July 26, 2010

Taichung’s newest ex-pat magazine, Guanxi, is out and available in a ton of shops, cafes and restaurants around Taichung City. It was kind of funny to see my article in print. I submitted it such a long time ago that I’d all but forgotten about it.

As with every new magazine, Guanxi needs to spend some time finding it’s voice, particularly because it needs to appeal to such a varied audience, but hopefully this won’t be too much of a struggle for it. Really, it’s just good to see something out there that’s publishing actual articles rather than the pay-and-we-write-on-you model that Compass offers it’s readers.

The magazine will be released quarterly – at the start of every season – and the next one issue is due out sometime in September. I’ll be contributing a series on the artist studios at Stock 20.

finds: watch New Zealand short films for free (yes, FREE!)

July 23, 2010

A number (currently 140 titles) of seminal New Zealand short films have been made available for free streaming, courtesy of NZONSCREEN and the NZ Film Commission. A great new way to expose NZ films and filmmakers to the world.

From surrealist horrors, Alison Maclean’s Cannes-screened 1989 Kitchen Sink and psychological thrillers, the 2006 Nature’s Way, to quirky, to dark comedies, The Lounge Bar (1988) and fantastical fictions, like Cow (2001).

Kitchen Sink (1989)

Kitchen Sink (1989)

I’ve managed to catch a few in the past (Kitchen Sink is screened as a bog standard for any University of Auckland Film Studies 101 student) but a number have yet to flash past my eyes. With my lack of time at the moment, I hardly get the chance to watch films. Short films are the perfect quick fix.

Watch the films here.

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finds: Formosan vintage photographs

July 19, 2010

David on Formosa kindly pointed out an enthralling (my new favourite word) new blog, Taipics.com, that presents images of old Taiwan, from photographs of aboriginal people to pictures of old-era cities.

Old Taiwanese postcard. Image "borrowed" from Taipics.com.

It’s always engaging to look through old photos of the town or country you live in, trying to match up what’s still around with what you see in the pictures. While much of old Taichung is gone, I love travelling into the old part of the city by the train station and peering past the neon signage and billboards to grasp at glimpses of old facades and early advertising. It’s still there, you might just need to use your imagination a bit more than in other cities like my old stomping ground, Melbourne.

Take your time browsing through the website. There are some beautiful old postcards under the media section.

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