Monday, December 24, 2012

It's Christmas Eve, Babe

It's time of year again, Gentle Readers of the Blog, this time in the festively adorned Hong Kong. So pull up some nog, light a fire if you have a safe place to do so, and enjoy one of the most bittersweetest of bittersweet holiday songs ever in a Read Ink tradition.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Spectacular Et Cetera to you all!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The gift that keeps on giving*

Happy Holidays, dear readers. Shopping season is in its last violent throes; Hong Kong, for one, is overrun with people buying even more stuff than they usually do. I wouldn't go inside Sogo right now if you paid me.

But if you're looking for the perfect present that won't break the bank, have I got a great suggestion for you. It ticks off all the elements you could possibly want: Cheap (in this case, free), unusual, colorful, fun.

I am of course talking about a North Korean-made driving game in which you motor around a digitized Pyongyang.

Probably higher-resolution than the actual city.

Play it here, Comrades. And a Very Merry Dear Leadermas to you.

*until you violate the rules of the road and are thrown into a reeducation camp.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A farewell to good grammar

I'd like to think I'm still too young to be a curmudgeon, but every once in a while I spot something that, linguistically speaking, makes me want to scream "Get off my lawn!"

In this case, it's the main headline on the homepage of a certain international news organization that will remain nameless.

Dios mio.

I have never been a grammar dork (no, really, I'm serious), but I appreciate good English and have been known to write a headline or two in my day. Using "farewell" as a verb... that's just viscerally painful. It doesn't even sound right! Sure, sure--it's a tight space for a headline, but come on, I promise you there is a two-line hed somewhere in the universe that will accommodate crazy stuff like the rules that govern the English language.

That's my rant. Now I'm off to the 5 p.m. buffet before Wheel of Fortune comes on.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rockin' around the Clocken

One of the unfortunate things about life in the Middle East was the lack of a genuine local music scene. There were bands everywhere--including some truly killer cover bands--and big shows came through every couple of months, but there wasn't a lot of local musical innovation.

So it was with great pleasure that Mrs. Blog, the Sister-in-Law of the Blog and some Friends of the Blog came face to face with Chochukmo, a local band from Hong Kong. We were spending our Saturday night at an annual music festival with the unfortunate name of Clockenflap.

Note the classic "singing into the audio monitor" pose.

They put on a great show, with a lead singer whose body language could accurately be described as Jaggeresque and a broad-spectrum sound that the kids these days apparently call "math rock."

And the setting was terrific, too. It was cool and a little rainy, but the West Kowloon Cultural District is right on Victoria Harbor, meaning every performance had a spectacular, multicolored backdrop (or sidedrop, whatever).

Note the two giant Christmas trees.

Sure, the crowd made me feel slightly old at times (Hey! You kids! Quit with yer crowd-surfin', I can't see!), but it's hard to beat live, outdoor music on a Saturday night. And it's always good to hear a new band, even if I'm not totally sure how to pronounce its name.