J Larsen

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Everything posted by J Larsen

  1. Tokyo advice needed

    Thanks, John. I will be in Tokyo from at least 9/29 to 10/2. We are also planning to go to Kyoto and possibly Nara before heading to Hanoi, but our plans aren't set for that part of the trip yet. Meeting up would be great if the dates work out for you.
  2. Tokyo advice needed

    Thanks a lot! For the maps, I have been studying these two fairly meticulously, and have drawn up some fairly detailed plans based on them: http://www.amazon.com/Tokyo-City-Atlas-Bil...d/dp/4770028091 http://www.amazon.com/Knopf-MapGuide-Tokyo...9633&sr=1-1 I've also been doing the Pimsleur Conversational Japanese course, but I can't honestly say I've made a lot of progress. Still, we're hoping to be able to try a few different types of restaurants. My girlfriend has a cousin in Tokyo that we may be able to persuade to act as translator for us in exchange for a couple free dinners!
  3. Tokyo advice needed

    Thanks to all; Shibuya it is. Any recommendations for places to eat? My girlfriend and I are pretty excited about sampling the cuisine. Somewhat more obscurely, I am interested in a lot of Japanese photography. If anyone knows of good galleries or even of good bookstores for monographs, I'd be very interested to know. I know of one called A Black Ship. I'm also interested in experimental music clubs in Tokyo - free jazz, noise, minimalism, anything along those lines. I think there is one called Super Deluxe in Shibuya, but I have a hunch there are quite a few more. Finally, I'd love to know about anything that would be of interest to an architecture/industrial design nut that would be unlikely to be mentioned in a guidebook. For instance, I'm looking forward to visiting hhstyle.com/casa. Thanks! A lot of these things are not mentioned in guidebooks and are difficult for a non-Japanese speaker to learn about online.
  4. Tokyo advice needed

    Thanks - I was just thinking Roppongi because it seems very central (at least on the map, which I know can be misleading) and because it seems like there are a lot of interesting art spaces there. I will look into Shinjuku. Just for a sense of scale, how long of a walk is it from Shibuya to Roppongi? I'm guessing 20-25 minutes?
  5. Favorite Magazines

    The Economist first and foremost. I think it may be the most "important" periodical out there. Also The NYer and The Wire. Of less general interest but equal personal interest are Science and Nature. I'm looking for some good new art magazines. There used to be a few that I liked (e.g. FlashArt), but they all seem to have a tendency to get overly commercial and overrun with uninteresting advertising as time goes on.
  6. That's how it seems to me, just based on reviews and word of mouth... which is why I'd rather purchase individual albums when I can find them. And the one with Groove Holmes on it would be one I'd buy. Yes, I enjoyed that one more than I expected to. (I'm not an anti-organite, but Holmes has never been among my favorites.)
  7. That is a reasonable choice, depending on how easily you think you can find the individual albums. But I also have to say that there seems to be quite a bit of variability within certain sessions.
  8. Man, the chasm between the best and worst of this set is immense. It ranges from sublime to downright embarrassing. But the best of it justifies purchasing before it disappears.
  9. Glad to be alive

    Damn Ben, that was horrifying to even read about. Glad you are relatively okay and hope your mother recovers quickly. I don't know if you remember her, but the girl I dated for most of high school was in an equally horrible accident on the highway last summer and was seriously brain damaged. She had to relearn how to speak. PS: I know I've said it before, but it looks like there is a good chance I will be out there in Sept. We should hit up Pancho Villa or something. We'll take the bus.
  10. Don't Miss Cecil Taylor at the Vanguard

    I only made it for Tuesday and Wednesday. Every other night I missed due to work and/or flu. Tuesday night's opening set was astonishing (IMO). The second set was... dare I say it... a bit bland by comparison. Wednesday night's first set never really got any momentum going for me. But the second set was incredible. I really wish I could have gone more nights.
  11. Happy Birthday J. Lar!

    Belated thanks... I miss spending time around here. This whole having to work for a living thing is rough.
  12. Balinese Gamelan

  13. Balinese Gamelan

    I'd like to pick up an album or two of Balinese Gamelan music. A DVD would be even better. I'd just buy a couple at random, but I'm afraid of inadvertently picking up something catering to the perceived tastes of western audiences -- a common problem I've found with "world music" albums. Any recommendations? Thanks.
  14. DAC Recommendations

    I am considering ripping a thousand or so cds in uncompressed format to a very large harddrive (or a couple of very large harddrives). I would then like to set up the following configuration: External Harddrives -> MacBook -> DAC -> Stereo Amp. Obviously the sonic success of this project is entirely dependant on the quality of the DAC. Any recommendations? I can go as high as a couple grand, but only if the marginal benefit warrants it. Thanks!
  15. DAC Recommendations

    How does it manage to be both lossless and smaller? Does it drop some of the rendundant data used for error correction? That would make sense.
  16. DAC Recommendations

    Thanks. I need to research the formats a bit. I just want to make sure that all the data from my cds make it to my speakers. The impetus for this is that I have around 3,000 cds and a 600 sq ft apartment. This results numerous piles of discs, which means I can never find the one I am looking for.
  17. DAC Recommendations

    Thanks. I've noticed that one tends to be in all the online audiophile shops.
  18. People need an entry point, and I think this list does a reasonable job. But Genius of Modern Music v. 1 over v. 2? I don't know...
  19. Shaving

    Pretty sure Bigelow is independent. They are still based out of the west village and have a really nice store on Sixth Ave. I use all Art of Shaving products. They may be a bit overpriced, but they work better than other things I've used and never irritate my skin.
  20. Ayler's death

    I saw the documentary and attended a Q&A session with the filmmaker. It was quite good.
  21. The black hole thing is a little silly, but one very serious issue with these experiments is the amount of energy consumed. These facilities consume an amount of energy on par with a good sized town, and because the physical phenomena observed at these energy levels is vasty (mind-bendingly) different from what is observed at "normal" energy levels, there is very little prospect for high-energy physics to accomplish anything more than satisfying the curiosity of a few nerds like me. Don't get me wrong, I think that it is incredibly important that human curiorisity be encouraged and pursued. However, at some point you have to evaluate the costs, financial and environmental, of certain lines of research.
  22. That's a great store, but you really have to go just about every day to score the big finds. They have a knowledgable and ravenous customer base. I spent a substantial fraction of a national science foundation grant at that store.
  23. Speaking as a person whose live music attendance has probably decreased about 60% since Tonic closed, the issue really isn't so much that there is no other place in lower Manhattan for "alternative musics," it's that there is no substitute for Tonic. That's not to say that the real estate situation isn't a problem for anything non-mainstream (a very, very small no-frills commercial space will run you $30K to $40K/month in lower Manhattan), but there are places like the Stone and Knitting Factory (which has somewhat returned to its more underground/experimental roots over the last several months) that are still around. They just aren't Tonic. Not the same vibe, not the same sense of community, not the same stupidly cheap drinks, not the same sense that you could just drop in on any random night not knowing anything about the performer and be sure that you were going to have a good time regardless.
  24. Why do DVDs come in larger boxes than CDs

    Interesting. I always just assumed it was a way of distinguishing the product and of allowing manufacturers to use cover art in the same general proportions as a movie poster. That said, it always seemed wasteful to me.
  25. MLB 2008

    I think you're right about this. Heading east is harder on the old internal clock than heading west. Maybe it has something to do with gaining a little time as you head west? Even flying to Europe (not a terribly long flight) can be tiring once you arrive. Coming back seems much easier. It's simple: it is easier to stay up late and sleep in than it is to go to bed early and wake up early. Same principle.