Saturday, November 13, 2004

the new installation at Barneys... Posted by Hello


Tonight nothing seems to be going well, so much has happened and I don't know what to feel. My pirated Maya software isn't working and I have reached a block in the design of my dystopia project "Drive-thru City"...and after a long conversation with my parents, my heart just sank...no don't ask me why...because I won't reveal anything...there are times when I just have to lock everything in my heart...and this is one of those nights...I guess mom was right when she called me earlier this morning after she consulted the chinese calender and warned me that today was going to be a very bad day and told me that I'd better stay home...of course I thought that was just mom being paranoid about my safety.
So since I've had such a bad day, I have a feeling that this will be a rather superficial blog...my personal escapist blog...
After a light breakfast that consisted of water, vitamins, a bowl of miso soup and a large cup of coffee, I decided to take a walk in the city...by the way, when I say walking, it usually means shopping.
So I put on my burgandy burberry jacket and the brand new socks that mom had gotten for me, along with the Chanel bag that my parents bought me in Paris, and headed out the door giving yoyo a goodbye kiss. The moment I stepped out of Trump Place, I knew it was going to be a great day...the weather was nice and not too cold...and the bus was already parked at Freedom Pl. waiting for passengers...
Yes, so today I was heading crosstown to Madison and 5th Ave. for a day of "walking"...as I have come to the realiztion that I am in dire need of physical exercise...so I thought instead of spending time on the treadmill at the fitness center...why not take a walk?
So as I got off the bus on 62th betweem Madison and 5th Ave. near the Paskistan consulate, I decided I would head to Barneys New York from Madison instead of 5th ave, that is usually crowded with tourists on a saturday afternoon.
As I wandered through Madison Ave. I passed by a series of flagship stores, but the only ones that leave an impression are Etro, Shanghai Tang, and Hermes...I don't know why...but they just leave an impression even though I have never stepped into the store, well except for Hermes once, with Just James, for his "Beige" research. I love walking on Madison because I enjoy watching sophisticated and stylish New Yorkers doning the latest fashions fresh off the runway...
Arriving at Barneys, I felt a rush of excitement when I saw the crowds of people shopping there, so it would be less intimidating to walk around without being noticed...and so that I could take all the time I want, to browse through the designs.
When I walk into Barneys, I always start browsing througn the Balenciaga handbag section and make my way up to the 2nd floor to browse through the Japanese Avant-Garde designer pieces which include Comme des Garcon, Iseey Myake and of course Yohji Yamamoto...and I would also proceed to Helmut Lang...For some odd reason I always skip Jil Sander and Armani...then when I headed to the third floor which includes some of my favorite designers, I was surprised by an enormous installation in the center of the showroom made up of a datum of fashion photographs hagging from the ceiling, with a long strip of black Richard Serra-esque sculpture, below, used to display Fashion photography books. I must say I was quite impressed by it and of course just had to capture the scene with my Nokia...then I went about other favorite collections including Victor and Rolf, Hussein Chalayan, Rick Owens, Proenza Schouler and Costume National, telling myself that I would invest in a Costume National suit for my first job interview, ...afterall first impressions are important.
I enjoy shopping at Barneys because the designs they bring in are always pushing the envelope and rethinking the idea of clothing design. Conceptually, this is very important, even more so than good aesthetics in the appearance of the garment. Many designers can whip up designs that are nicely cut, or give the appearance that it is...but few can truely make the cut so that it actually fits nicely on the body. To me concept and cut will always remain important when I am shopping for clothes...in fact I think perfectly beautiful clothing don't really appeal to me...I mean they use to but not anymore. Sometimes, I stay at Barneys for hours exploring every detail of different designer garments. To me they are not just clothing but art works in their own right. When I finally satisfied my eye...I headed back down to the first floor to browse the jewelry collection. Even their jewelry collection are not pretentious, and there is no "omg I am so rich" undetone attached to the jewelries on display. Their jewelry design focuses more on re-thinking the idea on "how" to make jewelry and rethinking the manipulation of raw materials used in these accesories... so nothing that one sees at Barneys is conventional...that's why I enjoy taking a walk at Barneys, it always stimulates my eye and my mind...After all architectectural design is not so different either, it's all about re-thinking the way human beings live and experience their environments.
I finally left Barneys and decided to walk to the Columbus Circle station to take the subway home.
Old habits die hard, and predictably, after I got of the subway on 66th, I just had to get my daily Grande Mocha...the server was rude...and the line of people getting coffee was long. It really got me thinking about the strange and ironic institution of the Starbucks culture; I mean this guy came up with this sick idea to sell drinks where everybody has to stand in line to make an order for a very expensive cup of coffee, and pay for one's order facing a rude cashier over the counter...and despite all this...people still go to starbucks and go through this absurd experience all over again!...just amazing...the guy who invented the concept of starbucks must be one big genious!...I mean this guy is making tons of money by treating his customers like "sh*t"...ok maybe I am just overreacting...a little bit.
As I was heading out I watched a couple smooching each other while I was smooching my 4 dollar grande mocha...I think I got the better end of the deal...afterall coffee tastes better than someone else's saliva...
When I got home, my eyes were hurting from the overdose of visual stimulation I got at Barneys today...and the rest of the day...well...disaster...if only I can foresee disasters before they actually hit me!

Blog Updates

blog, blog, blog, blah, blah, blah Posted by Hello


So I decided to do this blog update when Alice told me that she had posted her first blog...I was happy to hear that because she originally signed up to Blogger so that she could post comments on my blog...but now that she has started blogging, all the better...so check out her first blog titled "Dog Poop" at http://alicelin.blogspot.com.
Oh and have I mentioned that my firiend Philip also has his own blog...actually he has been blogging for a long time and I only found out about it recently...sorry Mr. Fry! Check out his Blog at philicusfry's xanga site...just click on Mr. Fry, on the comments in my blog...and thank you Mr. Fry for posting the comments...bdw, if I don't post any comments on yours, doesn't mean I am not reading it...I read it religiously everyday!
I also learned that Jessica has her own blog too, but she doesn't update everyday...and I sorta forgot the web address for hers...sorry Jessi! But hope you find the perfect life when you move back to Hong-Kong!
And of course Just James and Life Inc is a huge success with more and more readers, me amongst one of them, who actually checks out his site like four times a day...hehe...
And as for my blog, thanx for all the support from everybody, and I just found out today that my bro actually reads my blog frequently...quite shocking news that he would actually want to read my blog..but very happy to hear that nevertheless!...yes he will be visiting me in NY on Nov. 18th...
So anyways that was my brief blog update!

Friday Night Live...

Just James in an failed attempt to avoid my camera...poor James Posted by Hello


So after I got off the subway on 66th str. I headed to the Loews Cineplex Lincoln Square to get my ticket for the 10:00 Bridget Jones Diaries ...then proceeded to Barnes and Noble to get a Grande Mocha and a copy of Meave Brennan's biography...there was only one copy on the shelf...strange...then I headed home and realized that the two unknown e-mails that I had deleted without reading were from dad's friend...and the e-mails contained photos of all the new born Labrador Retrievers for me to pick...so I called my dad in a panick and told him to please send the pictures again...gosh, I was such an idiot, I mean I have been anticipitaing that mail...and when I actually get it, I delete the entire thing!
After all that craziness I head out to meet James for the movie...as I waited for Just James, I got bored and took out my camera to take more pictures...and guess what? Just James comes flying in through the revolving doors with a Grande whatever trying to avoid my camera...but he failed. Just James mentioned that he really needed the coffee after four beers from 6 on 6 to wake him up...
I told Just James that I won't be blogging about the movie..which I won't except to say that it was really good and we both got a really good laugh out of it!...and so Friday night finally ended...

OMG! Junya Watanabe sighting...OMG!

dots...dots...dots... Posted by Hello


So today, after studio, as I was heading home from a nice little Dinner at Deluxe with Sandy and Will, I found myself once again in a subway sation, packed with people...but I wasn't upset because I was too busy following someone wearing a Fall 2004 Junya Watanabe for Comme des Garcon dotted wool puffed poncho! I pushed through the croud till I managed to stand behind her to take a picture. The train did not come and everyone was getting impatient...well...except for me, because I had eye candy, in front of me. I remembered starring at her and her Junya Watanabe outerwear for half an hour...until she got imapatient and left the subway station...
Hmm...I wonder if anyone noticed me wearing my Junya Watanabe Fall 2004 puffed blazer, just as I noticed hers...probably not...because nobody is mental enough to do that, but me, the fashion addict.
There was something really Vogue about what I saw before me, its as if I was in the middle of a fashion photoshoot, taking place at the subway station...with the model wearing high-fashion juxtaposed with an everyday mundane environment...this is very common in fashion photoshoots...like the November 2004 issue of Vogue featuring models wearing Haute Couture standing in the middle of the new MoMa construction site...oh as if couture is just an everyday thing...
But sighting the Junya Watanabe poncho, today, made me aware that some of his designs which I consider unwearable are actually very wearable and actually look really nice...I guess I need to revisit the 2004 collection when I have time and maybe add another piece to my collection...or maybe not...but just to have a look...Barneys, here I comme!

One Step Ahead and 5 Minutes Early

this is a photograph I took of mom with my phone amidst my insomnia yesterday... Posted by Hello



Last night, still suffereing from a very serious case of insomnia, I lay in bed across mom watching her, then snuck out my Nokia, and took a snapshot of her...because mom always looked happiest in her sleep...then the next morning her face looked worrisome, as usual. Despite my insomnia, I somehow managed to fall asleep...thinking about my next project "The Nokia Diaries"...a photo book with all the pictures that I have taken so far with my Nokia 7610...
This morning at 5:30 am, mom woke me up, so that I could walk her down to the lobby and help out with the luggages...I muttered "ok" - then I woke up, and put all of the luggage in the trunk of my Cayenne and drove off to LAX, thinking wow I am actually wide awake - Then later, I actually woke up with mom screaming in my ears, and realized that I had been dreaming the whole time when I thought I was actually awake...and we were not headed to LAX, but down to the lobby to wait for mom's car...
So once again I threw on a jacket and not wasting a single minute headed down to the lobby...the car was not there and we were 5 minutes early...we waited at the door with the doorman and mom started to panic reaching for her cell phone to call Maricella, her designated driver for the airport...but before the call went through, the town car arrived just in time, 6:00 sharp...yes once again mom panicked for no reason and I stood there watching her helplessly. As the luggage was being loaded into the trunck of the car, I noticed a long procession of black cars lined up outside my building, there was a weird old world grandeur of what I saw before my sleepy eyes...I didn't know so many people in my building get chauffered to work like this, every morning. So I headed back upstairs and went back to bed...thinking about mom, always being one step ahead of things and always 5 minutes early, wherever she went...
As I was lying in bed, I noticed how different my apartment looked. Yes, mom had left her mark in my apartment. The floors were spotless clean, the spaces uncluttered, the bathroom and kitchen were all squeaky clean...all the closet doors were closed except for one, which was left open so that yoyo could go and hide...there were three pairs of new socks on the table, because mom knew that I was constantly complaning about my feet getting cold...all my clothes were washed...there was another alarm clock with a louder ring-tone than my old one...mom had seem to put my life back in order...well...except for my insomnia and my "utopia" project.
I remembered when I walked mom down this morning and noticing a huge bandage over her hand...I asked "what happened?" and she said " oh nothing, this morning when I couldn't find my keys for the LA home, I got really nervous, so I searched every compartment of my carry-on for it, and in the process, my hand got scratched my the zippers."
Well I guess it never crossed my mind that zippers could actually injure one's hands...but I guess when mom panicks...anything is possible!

Friday, November 12, 2004

"Peoeple Are Talking About"- Vogue 2004

photograph of the article from the october issue of Vogue Posted by Hello


"A Heart in Exile" is the reason why my October issue of Vogue is still sitting in my apartment and not in the recycle bin of a trash room...this is an article about the Irish born writer, Meave Brennan who wrote short pieces on metropolitan life in NY for "The New Yorker". Although she never really garnered great attention from her work...she was always admired by the likes of John Updike, proclaiming that "she put New York back in "The New Yorker". Her work is now being revisited and gainingrecognition due to a biography about her strange and lonely existence in the "metropolitan America", as she was alone and led a transient life of moving "in and out of hotel rooms, country guest houses. and temporary apartments, and from this solitary perch recounted what she saw." I guess Meave Brennan: Homesick at The New Yorker by Angela Bourke, will definitely make it to my winter break reading list...here are some more excerpts from the "A Heart in Exile";

"Meave Brennan was outwardly glamorous and refined-"To be around her was to see style being invented." her dear friend William Maxwell once remembered."

"The city as seen through her unblinking gaze-a contretemps with a man on the subway, an old woman's regret spied through a hotel window-refracts the soap bubble of privacy we all enter in our own urban wanderings yet only fleetingly maintain."

"This Simultaneous longing for self-exile from the hearth is the central paradox that defined her life."

Although I have never heard of this mid-century writer, this article certainly made me want to read her biography...I think now that I have blogged about this article, I can toss this magazine in the recycle bin!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

insomnia...looking out the window Posted by Hello

insomnia @ 219 Posted by Hello

more insomnia...when am I going to be able to fall asleep? Posted by Hello

more insomnia... Posted by Hello

I must be hallucinating...Quill is coming out of my VAIO... Posted by Hello

insomnia...starring at my desktop Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Caught "in" Between

I think I have a love hate relationship with the subway of NY. During rush hour when we are packed like sardines in the cart, I begin to hate the subway...and feel disgusted at the sight of stranger's bodies pushing against one another...I would start wondering why couldn't I live a privileged life of being chauffered around instead of dealing with the dread of the subway...and I would become nostalgic of the life that I had left behind LA...a life where I had the choice of not coming into contact with the common world...a world where I can speed away in my porsche past the homeless on the streets of LA and all the mundaness of the world, hiding behind my oversized Christian Roth shades, contently living in my own world. The day after, I would take a town car or a cab to school.
There are also those days where I find the subway rather beautiful, in a strange way, not overpacked and yet still crowded... just perfect because the distance between people are not too close and not too far...just good enough for me to stand or sit comfortably and observe my surroundings. Those are the moments when I become grateful for being in NY, for an education at Columbia University, living at Trump Place and truely "living" amidst the mundane common world of my daily existence and for not isolating myself...these are the moments where I see the beautiful qualities of the subway and its commuters...these are the moments when I desperately wish I had my camera with me to capture the beauty in its moment.
That's why sometimes I feel like I'm caught "in" between two worlds. I admit that I live in a world of privilege...but not privileged enough to be oblivious of the harsh realities of life.
Even my upbringing made me feel like I was caught "in" between two worlds; the privileged one and the not-so privileged one.
When we immigrated from Taiwan to Montreal, I remember wearing hand me downs from my older cousins, and if mom bought me new clothes or toys, it was from Rossi, the equivalent of a Wal-Mart. Our old Honda failed us from time to time but we didn't think too much about it and life was simple and I was content. I didn't think too much because the life I had was the only life I knew. Those were the happy days... over the years, our quality of life, materialistically, improved drastically.
I began living a so-called privileged life of luxury condos, private schools, and my very first Prada bag in grade 9...I still remember every saturday when mom would drive me in her Mercedes S320 to Brulerie St. Denis on Sherbrooke st. for Coffee and brunch...we would always head to Holt Renfrew's for a day of shopping, afterwards, because mom knew I liked shopping there. Holt's was my favorite department store in Montreal...it was a cross between Barneys and Saks, traditional and modern at the same time...so this is the other world I knew.
Now I feel like I am living somewhere in-between because I can't seem to fully indulge in one without thinking about the other...
I guess I have finally grown a conscience about my self-indulging ways...so far I have always pushed myself just hard enough to get by without disappointing my parents...like getting accepted to a decent private school, a decent university, and now a decent grad school...but I guess life won't be that easy when I start a working life...so I guess I should start pushing myself harder...it's difficult to change...but I know I have to somehow try...
Sometimes I wish I didn't have to be aware of "real" life but I guess that's just not possible...I sometimes have nightmares that my self indulging ways become my own undoing...and somehow I end up on the streets as a homeless...I get these crazy thoughts all the time and they scare me...maybe I am just mental...
Another crazy thought...so far life is really good...well quite good... and if re-incarnation were true, then I would rather not come back to this world in my next life...even if I had all the wealth in the world at my disposal...I wouldn't come back...maybe I am just immature...and that immaturity has led me to think about these crazy things...
I should get back to work and start pushing myself...final presentation is in four weeks and I am freaking out!

Monday, November 08, 2004

A Closer Look: Ghosts

the original photograph which I took with my nokia 7610 phone at 11:00 pm on my way home from school...and posted in my "Journey in the Rain" blog... Posted by Hello


I guess Just James was right when he mentioned that I had gained more for what I bargained for when I "indirectly" forced dad to get me the Nokia 7610 phone with a 1.3 megapixel camera. Eversince I got that phone (check my previous post "7610, a film by Lilly Dee"), I have been taking snapshots everywhere I go. The photograph above was taken on a Thursday night on my way home from school after I got off the subway on 66th st at 11pm. I had mentioned in my "Journey in the Rain" blog how much I loved the rain, and that night it was rainy heavily. As I was walking down 66th st, I noticed a thick layer of smoke coming from the hole in the ground where there was ongoing construction work. I was blinded by the smoke as I walked through it...
When I got through, I turned back and thought that it was beautiful and so, at the spur of the moment decided to reach for my phone and take a snapshot. I loved the overall atmosphere and the composition of what I saw in front of me and that was the reason why I decided to take that picture...nevertheless it was all done randomly...weird things just go through my mind sometimes. Much to my surprise James spotted that photograph and liked it so much that he used it as his desktop wallpaper in studio. Sam Dufaeux, who sits next to James, was the first to notice the ambiguous figures in the photograph.
Today in studio James and I loaded the photograph in photoshop and used different filters to clear up the bluriness...and the facial features of the ghosts became more visible...Below are a series of filters that we applied to the photo to clear it up...for those who have photoshop, you can download the original photo and try applying the filters...and for those who want to learn the indepths analysis of the photographs, please go to http://justjames-jamesacuna.blogspot.com ...he has more analysis and I have more photos...so I guess it all works out for the best!

when the poster edge filter was applied..the faces of the ghosts became more visible... Posted by Hello

close-up of the image as the unsharpen mask filter is applied... Posted by Hello

the highlighted box is the area where the poster edge filter was used...however the bodies are not so visible... Posted by Hello

close-up, using the poster-edge filter, clearly, there is a man and a woaman, with two more people behind... Posted by Hello

Even from afar with the black and white contrast filter..the facial features are visible and the height of these people become more clear too. (There are actually four ghosts, if you look closely... Posted by Hello

close-up of the ghost's faces using the black and white contrast... Posted by Hello

using the neon glow filter on photoshop, everyhting in the picture became abstract...yet somehow the facial features became more clear... Posted by Hello

close-up of the neon glow filter in photoshop Posted by Hello

Yes, Once More Please!

Yesterday...All my troubles seem so Far Away...lalala...lalalalala...lala...lala Posted by Hello


"Yesterday Once More" is the second movie I watched yesterday as a result of not being able to work due to migraine...I think my addiction to coffee is getting serious...anyways...I liked this movie for both it's plot and the "Wallpaper-ish" lifestyle this movie successfully portrayed...I think I would always watch a Sammi Cheung movie even if it was a really bad one... being a fashion addict, I admire her sense of style, which is consistent in all her movies...this is also the reason why I can watch her "Magic Kitchen" over and over again...But I guess this one is even better...Just pure eye candy for my material addiction...haha...
Sammi Cheung's style in most of her movies are never one of an "Asian cutsy girly girl" but rather unique and quite avant-garde...espescially in this movie where she lives the life of a rich woman who has a penchant for stealing...and spends her time drinking expensive wine and smoking cigars...very stylish for a woman's role...the "lifestyle" portrayed in this movie is just fantastic...haha...a lifestyle of modern homes...beautiful cars...expensive wine...smoking cigars...and impeccable fashion...the ultimate lifestyle!...the modern day fairy tale... Yes, once more please! I'll definitely watch it again...
Oh did I mention that what she had a penchant for stealing was jewelry???...but Yet somehow you know that deep down something else in life matters more to her...Who says woman can't be materialistic and have depths at the same time????

"As Tears Go By"...

Quill...I can't wait till I go back to Taiwan this Christmas...Dad is getting a Labrador Retriever! Posted by Hello


So "Quill" was the movie I started watching after I got home from Chinatown. I must say, I felt really emotional as I was watching this movie based on the true story of a "velvety" Labrador Retriever in Japan named Quill...The moment Quill was born...he was sent off to a guide dog training program for the blind...Quill experienced many partings in his brief 12 years of life...but he was the best guide dog ever...He was destined to be "special" ever since he was born because of a bird-like birthmark on his body...
I must say, tears began streaming down my face the moment the movie started, which is strange because I never cry in movies or get emotional about it...I knew why I started crying...because the moment I saw the birth of Quill, I knew how his life was going to end...I knew the ending of the story already. Years ago...dad bought me a photography book documenting the life of this same Labrador Retriever...knowing how much I love dogs of course...and that's why I knew Quill's fate...I think I have never cried this hard in my life except when Dad collapsed...tears just kept streaming down my face for the entire duration of the movie...even I was really shocked at myself...
But then I realized that sometimes it's not so bad knowing the ending of a movie even before I start watching it...in fact I felt more for it than if I had not known the ending...it reminded me of watching the first scene of "Titanic" with the black and white footage of people waving from the ship...I remembered being overcomed by a feeling of sadness because that ship was going to sink and these people were going to die...
Sometimes I think it's the simplest things in life that can really touch us...like that of Quill...a simple story of a dog's existence...and yet it is more touching than some extraordinary story...I have come to the realization that some of the most beautiful experiences are the simplest things in life...if only we could take the time to appreciate it...or take notice of it...and the rest just doesn't matter anymore...I think I will always cherish Rolling-jo's (Yoyo) companionship...haha maybe it's time to change his name to "Q"(Ku) Jian...
...Quill will always be remembered...

"Aliena, if u don't drive faster, Marie's bladder will explode...so step on the gas!" Posted by Hello

Almost home...not quite...ps. Marie is dying to go to the bathroom... Posted by Hello