Be the Hero of Your Own Movie

Joe Rogan delivers an inspirational and important message. If you haven’t heard his podcast, it’s one that I frequently recommend to friends: The Joe Rogan Experience. This video reminds me of another that I posted here a few years ago called The Grind about the value of persistence and the fleeting satisfaction of comfort.

Published on January 26, 2015

Song of the Day #165: Same Dream China

Gold Panda – Same Dream China

Moments ago I published the latest episode of the Chengdu Living Podcast, where we used this song, Same Dream China, as both the intro and outro. Gold Panda is outstanding, regardless of the China connection, but this was simply too good a fit to not use in the podcast. What makes it so great is that it has clear and distinct Chinese influence without being overly oriental-sounding, which would sound cliche as intro music to a China-themed podcast.

Since this song has no official music video, I used one of the several fan-made music videos for this song available on Youtube. This one’s particularly great because it features so many great shots of China.

Check out Gold Panda on Spotify.

Published on January 23, 2015

Photos from Cleveland

These were taken in March of 2012 but never uploaded here. They are part of a larger series of photos taken on across the U.S. so I will be posting more of those here.

Cleveland (1 of 35)

Cleveland (24 of 35) Cleveland (31 of 35) Cleveland (4 of 35)

More Cleveland 2012 Photos
Published on January 20, 2015

Song of the Day #164: White Keys

Chilly Gonzalez – White Keys

You’ve probably heard Chilly Gonzalez without knowing it: he appeared as a guest artist on last years’ Daft Punk album, Random Access Memories, which was awarded a Grammy for Best Album of 2014He has a band with Boyz Noise called Octave Minds (which feature some really neat music videos). And he’s a solo artist, along with other collaborations including Domogenesis and his Berlin-based hip hop group Puppetmastaz.

But recently I’ve been listening to his 2004 self-explanatory album titled Solo Piano. It’s fantastic background music that provides just enough atmosphere without getting in the way. I appreciate jazz music greatly, but it’s often a little too noisy for background music.

The song above is from the sequel to his solo piano album, logically titled Solo Piano 2. Filmed in what he calls “Pianovision”.

Check out Chilly Gonzalez on Spotify.

Published on January 20, 2015

2014 in Review on Pocket

One of my most-cherished tools on my iPhone is an app called Pocket, which collects all of the web-based content that I read.  If you don’t use Pocket or aren’t aware of it, here’s how it works:

  1. While you’re browsing the web (or Reddit, RSS, Facebook, Twitter, etc) and find an article that you’re interested in reading, add it to your Pocket.
  2. Open the Pocket app on your phone or tablet and all of the articles that you earmarked are there, and automatically formatted for reading. Advertisements and other annoyances are automatically eliminated.

I have become so reliant on this tool that I almost never read an entire article as I find it. I add everything to Pocket, which means there are now two distinct phases of digesting content: finding the articles I want to read, and then reading them.

What’s really amazing, and what I didn’t know until recently, is how much I’m actually using Pocket.

Pocket 2014 stats

I recommend getting Pocket on your phone or tablet. It’s a major convenience for sorting through the massive amount of content that we face everyday on social networks and content aggregators.

Published on January 17, 2015

Song of the Day #163: Pegasus

GEMS – Pegasus

GEMS is a relatively little-known dream pop duo out of Washington D.C. that has existed since 2012. Although they have a very small catalog of material available, what they have is very good. The hallmarks of their distinctly dream-like sound are the sultry vocals of Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John Usher. Next time I’m in D.C. I would love to catch one of their shows.

Check out GEMS on Spotify.

Published on January 16, 2015

Liberté, égalité, fraternité.

Je Suis Charlie

My name being Charlie is a slightly amusing coincidence. I feel strongly about France’s right to protect and preserve its principles in these hard times. Liberté, égalité, fraternité.

I support liberal democracy and oppose authoritarian theocracy. France is very much in a similar predicament to the rest of the world, including the United States, Germany, Russia, and even China. On this issue, we are all united: we must suppress radical Islam.

On this subject, Sam Harris has said: “The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists. To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: it does not bode well for the future of civilization.”

There is a memorial for victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris this evening in Chengdu which I will attend.

Published on January 8, 2015

Late Night Fruit Vendor

Chengdu Fruit Vendor

Published on January 7, 2015