Monday, January 31. 2005

The Dragon 4.0 - s9y up your arse


Today, the Dragon is a phoenix. Reborn, renewed.

We have finally immigrated to an engine that automates the retrieving and archiving processes. Neither KC nor I am very good at archiving. Entries now are searchable. We will be adding a text string search method soon. For the present, entries are searchable by date.

Another new feature that I am particularly excited about is the ability to comment. Since we started the Dragon I have wished for a way to let our readership comment. Now you can. So go ahead.

The complete backlog will be added to the archives in the comnig days and weeks for your dusty, musty pleasure.

As with all incarnations of the Dragon, there are some new things, and some old things gone. There is some new art. The old NaviDragon is, for the time being, buried. The additional pages has been further reduced to Pics, Therapeutic Art, Links and About.

So here it is: get involved, and enjoy. If you're interested in contributing, email us.

the j

Redux@
the_j*AT*house-of-the-dragon.com

Fucking Miserable Weather

Monday, January 17. 2005

Taipei, Im reliably told, is having one of the coldest winters in recent memory.

Every day is overcast and drizzly, and every now and then it actually rains properly. The sky being constantly grey keeps the temperature down. Its hard to believe Taiwan can be this damn cold. This must be what England is like.

So when on Sunday the sun finally peeped timidly over the clouds, he thought it was upon him to get out and make the most of it.

Mistake.

It was still bollocking cold outside, and the sun didnt seem to be making much effort to change that. The sky hung over the earth like a giant grey hemisphere. He headed over to Yongkang St for some of his weekend comfort food Vietnamese noodles. He felt stuck in rut. There must be new places to see and new things to do. It wasnt so much that he felt dissatisfaction with the places he normally frequented; just that he should be finding new things making the most of precious time.

The noodles were good. They were always good, but today they didnt seem to comfort him like always. A strange kind of desperation had crept over him by the time hed walked out of the restaurant.



Salvation is here

Thursday, January 13. 2005
Im finally starting to fix up the archives. The archive link at left now works, for your musty pleasure.

Im also going to post some stuff that I started writing 3 January, and never really finished. Lately, Ive had a lot of material I wanted to write but just havent had the time. Work and class just tire me out.


I dare you to move@
the_j*AT*house-of-the-dragon.com

Just Fang Kai Ni de Xin: New Years Eve, Leehom and V-Power

Thursday, January 13. 2005

Plus Larc en ciel cop a battering
(written 3 January 2004)


A Happy New Year to you. My last post was a Dead Sea Scroll of unfulfilled prophesies. The party never happened. I was stuck at work until quarter past nine on Friday night. Normally, this would make me very unhappy. On New Years Eve, it makes me furious. My boss was nice enough to stick around too and even went down to the convenience store for beer. It made things less bad. Im sure it did not do so much for Vito though. I promised him I would give him a ride to the dinner to which he was going, on my way to class. Class was cancelled, so I didnt need to go, but he waited for an hour and a half while I wrestled with a stupid project from a stupid client. I eventually told him to catch a cab.

After that, I headed back home. I was truly exhausted, and I ended up sleeping till eleven oclock. I woke, had a shower and got ready, just to find out that Vito had bumped into my share mate, Seiko, and was escorting her back to the station. I wondered if this meant they had hit it off and were heading back to the apartment for a little Years End action, but no. I met them at the station.

The situation: The party had been cancelled. Im not sure why. Vitos friends (including the attractive one) had decided to go to Taipei 101, the worlds tallest building and now officially open. The last couple of nights it has been fully lit up (previously only some of the office lights were on at night) and it certainly looks amazing.

We got there literally five minutes to midnight. After finding a good vantage point, the building began the countdown. Somehow theyve rigged up these lights in the building itself, fully programmable I presume. The sections of the building actually lit up, counting, five, four, three, two then from the top came a huge explosion of fireworks. The fireworks mirrored in the sides of the building looked amazing.

Sadly, the spectacle was short-lived. I was expecting something pretty full on, but I guess they mustve blown the budget with the damn construction or something, because after about a half dozen salvos it was over. Bit of an anti-climax.

We wandered around the Xinyi district for a bit, Vito pointing out some of the really top-end bars and clubs. I guess back home I would be going to them, but in Taipei they need serious money. We tried to find Vitos friends apparently they were down towards Sun Yat-sen memorial. We walked down that way and just as we were approaching, we called them to find out theyd decided to go home. Pretty bad form if you asked me.

We ended up heading on over to Yong-kang St., and into the very trendy Cube bar. It was seriously cool, though not the way Id planned to spend my New Years Eve. Im not really big on places with tables, because it makes mingling virtually impossible, and Vito and I were alone. Some numbers wouldve helped. We ended up talking to the numerous staff, who were most friendly, and invited us to join them in their champagne toasts: Free champagne! My Chinese was definitely in the amber hour, and I was sorry to leave. I think I will be back to Cube sometime soon.

I stopped by Bobs on the way home, only to find it closed. Word is it was closed from quite an early hour and all the staff went to Alley Cats Pizza. Strange.

Now thats out the way: Topicality. I came home the other night to find Seiko listening to Larc en ciel. I know shes a pretty big fan of theirs and she told me that Hyde (vocalist/guitarist) came to Taipei in December.

Larc en ciel. KC is a fan too. I will tolerate them; they have a few good songs, Ill admit, but Id never consider myself a fan.

Formula: You take a bunch of semi-good looking guys, who are all pretty decent musicians: a shredding guitarist, slamming skin-hitter and an awesome vocalist; you make them into a band. They write technically good songs with no soul or life.

This is a pretty common formula in Japan. It would be Larc en ciels formula, except theyre missing the vocalist. Hyde, to put it bluntly, sucks. Every song he sings, hes straining for those notes, and more often than not, not getting them. Sometimes, straining and not hitting the notes is what a song needs. But album after album? Ill pass. I just wish Hyde would pass too, he sounds like hes pushing a brick.

Larc en ciel also suffer from a complete lack of catchy melodies, good chord progressions and, dare I say it, interesting lyrics. This is the really big issue for me. The songs are terrible. They all sound the same, and all fail to capture my ear. Im sorry boys, but sometimes you need to be catchy.

Stayed tuned, next up: Leehom. Vito gave me his latest CD on Sunday. (Vito also gave me Jays Qi Li Xiang.) Ill get to this next time.

the_j*AT*house-of-the-dragon.com