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Movie Review #4: Skyfall

Although this movie came out last year in the US, I saw it in a theater in China just over a week ago.


The 23rd (!) James Bond film and Daniel Craig’s third, Skyfall is probably the best Bond film in decades. In this iteration, Bond pursues an ex-agent (played by Javier Bardem) determined to murder Bond’s boss, the head of MI6. This is the first Bond movie directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty), and the cinematography in this film is heads above the previous Bond film Quantum Solace.

James Bond feels a little cliche to me – especially when the theme song plays – but this film is difficult to knock. Action scenes are stunning from the first moment, an intense motorcycle chase scene in Istanbul. The Bond series in general is moving in the direction of The Bourne Trilogy in it’s grit, which I think is a good thing. With that said, I think I still prefer Bourne as a franchise over Bond. There’s so much less baggage.


4 Stars

Official Trailer:

Published on February 5, 2013

Morning Routine With the Aeropress

Nothing beats a cup of great coffee on a winter morning.

The search for that cup has filled my head with a lot of miscellany.  Information about coffee beans, grinding methods, the ideal temperature of extraction, and so much more. After going through a drip coffee machine and a french press, I have arrived at the Aeropress. Created by American inventor Alan Adler, it is like a large plastic syringe that makes outstanding coffee.

While it looks similar to a french press, it uses air pressure to extract two shots of powerful espresso. With a real espresso machine you need 9 bar of press, which is a lot, but the Aeropress produces excellent results comparable with a moka pot, which is a stovetop espresso maker. If you aren’t ready to spend hundreds of dollars on a legitimate espresso machine, go straight to the Aeropress. It costs about $25 on Amazon and produces far better coffee in 30 seconds than the Krups coffee machine you find in most kitchens.

One thing I noticed immediately was that I could taste the subtle differences between different beans for the first time. To improve taste, I got fresh Yunnan Province coffee beans which were harvested within the last 45 days, along with a Hario hand grinder. The hand grinder is important because it yields a more consistant grind and doesn’t heat up (burn) the beans like an electric grinder does.

Here’s my 90-second morning coffee routine:

  1. Wake up and put water into an electric kettle, turn it on
  2. When the water has boiled, turn the kettle off and set my watch timer
  3. Grind a small handful of beans in the Hario grinder, looking at my watch
  4. After one minute has passed, put the beans into the Aeropress, fill it 20% with water and stir
  5. Slowly press the coffee by hand, which takes 20 seconds and produces two shots of espresso
  6. Add water to make an Americano, with a splash of milk
  7. Eject the spent coffee “puck” into the trash and rinse the Aeropress
  8. Drink delicious coffee


Published on December 30, 2012

Beijing Mix Club Promo Images

I was shocked to find such well designed promo imagery for my gig in Beijing last Saturday. An artist illustrated this months three DJs into a collage – we look like we’re superheros or Japanese animation characters. It’s incredible to see DJ Rectangle on the same promo material, I bought his records when I first started scratching in 2002! Now he’s depicted as an illustration, sitting behind me. Unbelievable.

This is like last year when at the Panda Music Festival, DJ Shadow’s name appeared below mine on the ticket.

Club Mix Beijing Promo

Beijing Mix Club Outside

Beijing Mix Club Promo


Published on September 10, 2012

Street Photography in Chengdu with a Fuji X100

Yesterday afternoon I got a Fuji X100 to take street photography photos in Chengdu. Today was my first day using it.

It has a fixed 35mm lens and an APS-C sensor inside a very small body. I love the fixed lens and 35mm is the perfect focal length for this type of camera so I decided to get it.

Nearly every day I miss opportunities to capture beautiful images of everyday life because I never want to take my SLR anywhere. It’s too bulky. That problem has definitely been solved now. Although this camera has it’s quirks and the learning curve is high – everything on the camera is manual – the feeling of using the X100 is not like anything I’ve shot with before.

This is the first time I’ve posted this kind of gallery on my blog, here’s the best way to use it:

  • Click on the first photo
  • Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to flip through the photos
  • Press escape or click away to close the gallery

Fuji X100 First Day Street Photos in Chengdu

Published on July 29, 2012

Climbing the Spiritual Staircase

All my life I’ve been pondering the connection between spirituality and religion. With an Episcopalian mother and a Zen father, I was challenged to decipher the meanings of each from a young age. After years of compulsory church, which starkly contrasted with the “Take it, if you wish” approach that my father and Buddhism in general take, I gravitated toward the latter. It was never the ritual or history that attracted me, but the principles of character that believers subscribe to. The pursuit of truth, and connection with my true self and the true universe.

This video encapsulates that well. Watch it.

Published on March 16, 2012