Starlight Pavilion

Journal

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Watched a documentary on Taiwanese gangs last weekend: 黑白邊緣:台灣幫派浮沈錄 (2011) (on YouTube: 1, 2, 3).

Discovered a couple websites in the last month that I forgot to put here:

  • TRS Tour 臺灣驛站之旅, a site documenting the Taiwanese rail system
  • Maps Talk 地圖會說話, a blog by Ko-Hua Yap 葉高華 on Taiwanese maps

Looked through some American traditionalist architecture firms, all associated with the New Urban Guild:

Also looked at some international firms:

Recent reading: the interview with Studio Mumbai in El Croquis 157 (2011), an interview with Robert Pattinson in GQ (June/July 2020), the first few chapters of Hong lou meng.

Two books arrived today: Capitalist Realism (2009) by Mark Fisher and Botany in a Day, 6th edition (2013) by Thomas J. Elpel. Read a good amount of both.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Watched Scarface (1983). How different Al Pacino is here, young and gaunt and Cuban, compared to his presence in Heat.

A few books came recently: Nancy Steinhardt, Chinese Architecture (2019) and Liao Architecture (1997); Ronald G. Knapp, Chinese Houses: The Architectural History of a Nation (2006); and the first volume of Minford and Lau, editors, An Anthology of Translations: Classical Chinese Literature (2000). The first part of Knapp’s book is very good: providing details on construction and architecture and how houses in different regions vary based on climate and available materials. A good correction of my misconception (induced by Liang Sicheng) that Chinese architecture is mostly wooden. Reminded of OnEarth, the Chinese firm.

When the literature anthology came, I was struck by how little it holds my attention now; how overwhelmed I am by literature; how little it matters to me. Steinhardt’s books are similar: they engage me but more for the illustrations than anything else. I’m glad I didn’t pursue the academy. I am realizing, even if I already knew, that what allures me most about study is not study itself but of making it new.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Watched Heat (1995) again, with Francis. Continued thoughts throughout the night: imagining the television man absent, or Waingro killed on the asphalt, or “Slick” left unsaid, or McCauley or Hanna less drawn to the heat of the chase. Their final encounter predicated on the blood that runs in them both.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Did some printing.

Finished Benito Cereno (1856). I already knew the plot from talking with Payam about one of his essays years ago, which perhaps spoiled the experience, but I enjoyed watching Melville unfold it nonetheless.

Friday, May 1, 2020
Thursday, April 30, 2020

In my dream, I was exploring a campus that I was convinced was in Michigan. There were verdant pastures veiled by mist and wooden steps incised into the hill and towering arches of greenhouse glass and brickwork reminiscent of the Moorish countryside and vistas from the third floor through the glass into the fog and the trees beyond and small mirrors mounted on poles that reflected scenes of great clarity. We reached a library that Ian could enter but I couldn’t until we persuaded the receptionist, and then I watched in horror from outside my own body as guards in black armor arrived and shot me through the chest with a lightning cannon.

Been reading a lot of online writing:

In the evening, talked to Sara for the first time in years.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Henry updated me about the Klamath County prospecting. They took a wrong turn, sought for food, saw the asphalt cease, went forth off-road, cleared riverbed boulders, blemished the car. They saw a local appear in the summer air with an all-terrain vehicle and a dog and a giant pistol in his hand. As I was telling you, he began, and said he had land available for sale and would lead them to it. They trailed him briefly then shifted into reverse and gunned the engine and followed the path of egress with the fear he would cut into the horizon before them, then blazed it the five hours south.

Watched most of Salt of the Earth (1954), a reminder that the fight is good and eternal.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Francis and Mom made a blueberry chiffon cake.

I asked Mom about their time at Kingston, and she told us that the two Chinese American men who founded the company gave every employee substantial bonuses when SoftBank bought 80 percent of the company in 1996, and they hired an In-N-Out food truck every Friday to provide the company meals, and a Jaguar was handed from one to the other and then to another executive in a couple rounds of betting.

Watched Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf (2017), a documentary on the Dutch landscape designer’s work. Incredibly beautiful gardens: wild-looking, but more vivid and colorful than anything in nature. It gave me a new appreciation of natural landscape, especially in the dead seasons.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

The copy of the Bible that I bought arrived, the Oxford World’s Classics King James Version (1997). I read the introduction by Robert Carroll and Stephen Prickett (University of Glasgow), which provided information on the Bible as a book, the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, the Bible as a translated book, the Authorized Version, and biblical interpretation. I learned a lot from it, as I knew next to nothing.

It’s been unbearably hot these past few days, a premonition of the summer heat.

Friday, April 24, 2020

During a work call today, I learned that a newly hired Vietnamese American coworker had recently returned from five years of teaching English in Taipei, and that Oxnard has gang activity, which arose from a long history of racial segregation and discrimination against the Latino community.

The inkjet printer I bought arrived today. It prints darker and perhaps less crisply than our black and white laser, which prompted a lot of thought on what I actually plan to do with it.

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