2004-12-31

餃子迎新年

除夕餃子餐: 韭菜餃 + 津菜餃





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曾堯網上討論營 開張大吉 !!!

曾堯網上討論營

Apple to crack the living-room conundrum?

Apple's 2005 Challenge: Surpass the iPod (Andreas Pfeiffer, Technology - Ziff Davis, 29/12/04)

"[Apple] owes its biggest successes to the capacity of spotting an emerging need and then delivering a superior product to cover it. (And conversely, Apple's failures often can be traced back to its incapacity to act like the "normal" technology provider.)

In particular, Apple manages to succeed in one area where most technology-centric companies (and Microsoft in particular) almost systematically fail: in making products desirable.

Logical reasoning may govern mainstream PC purchases, but truly remarkable successes in the market are founded on objects so desirable that they defy reasoning. Sure, the iPod is pricey, but millions of consumers want one anyway.

The mistake many technology companies make when it comes to product strategies is that they attack the problem from the technology side. This does not work in the consumer market, because Joe and Jane Average don't buy technology. They are generally not interested in technology for its own sake, nor do they want to find out more about it.

Truly successful products do not start from the technology, but from the problem they want to solve."


I really like the idea of a media centre/digital hub, which works as it should 100% of the time and can sit comfortably in a living room. Microsoft has been trying to provide one, but without much success. I think Pfeiffer's criticism of Microsoft (and technology companies in generally) is spot on. They generally adopt the same approach to making consumer products as they use in making computers. I hope Apple can do a better job, and soon.

海鮮豆腐煲 馬來炒麵



今晚吃餃子迎新年

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2004-12-30

Readaholic

Cindy has read 45 books (and hundreds of magazines) since moving to Brisbane in early June. That means 1.5 books per week! As for me, I think I have probably read 4.5 books in total.

「村上」西莫

你記不記得我讓你看過﹖
看過甚麼啊﹖
嘿﹗你當然知道是什麼東西﹐你記得溜滑梯的事嗎﹖
記得。
你偶爾會想起那件事嗎﹖
嗯﹗會﹗
你常常想到嗎﹖
不一定。
一天一次﹐還是更多﹖
差不多一天一次。
告訴我﹐你還想看嗎﹖
嗯... ...
嗯什麼﹖
如果你願意的話。
該決定的又不是我﹗我會跟你提這件事﹐就表示我都可以隨你便﹐可是你﹐你到底想不想看嘛﹖
想﹗
什麼時候要看﹖
我不知道。
就現在﹗怎麼樣﹖

以上是莉拉與西莫的對話。不是很像村上春樹筆下的綠與渡邊嗎﹖

2004-12-29

且看莉拉說甚麼

西莫的《莉拉說……》已經拍成電影
London Film Festival 官方資料 / Spank the Monkey 的觀後感 / 關於導演的一篇報導


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《莉拉說……》博客來導讀

有些書,很輕易的可以將我們的思緒拉到記憶的底層,回到某一個你已經遺忘了的年代,就像《莉拉說……》。

在這一本屬於少男青春記事的法文小說《莉拉說……》中,匿名的作者藉著一個十八歲的少年西莫的日記,寫下了最純真的愛欲與青春的蠢動。在那樣一個敗破的小城市中,靦腆的西莫認識了滿惱子性事的莉拉,瞧不起社區中所有年輕人的莉拉,偏偏對西莫不同,他對西莫說話、對西莫掀裙子、向西莫訴說他體內源源湧動的情慾,莉拉說話,用那樣純真的語言,純真讓慾望更加色情,而西莫便像是走鋼索一般,在日記與莉拉之間、在愛情與渴欲之間,寫下了這樣一個憂傷的初戀故事。

莉拉給了他愛情的想像天堂,讓他的文思泉湧,讓他的目光、他的思緒、他的憂喜、他的文字,全都只為一個人而聚焦;當然這樣的莉拉也帶給他地獄,當青春的蠟燭吹熄,屬於年輕的這一頁,將要永遠的翻過去。

如果從情色的角度望去,《莉拉說…》的真純,要比亨利.米勒筆下《北回歸線》的赤裸世界更向閱讀尺度挑戰;但就文字的運用來說,《莉拉說…》的敘述卻充滿了如詩句般的美麗想像、如春雨過後大地的清新色調,再再要我們一同回到年少的時光、懵懂卻渴望長大的時光、第一次看見他臉紅心跳的時光,還有,初初愛戀時只願為他一個人而活的時光。(文/朱亞君)
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我要補充的是,讀到莉拉和西莫對話時,我不期然回想到村上春樹的《挪威的森林》中綠和渡邊的關係。綠和莉拉何其相似﹕純真,充滿生氣,滿腦子新奇變態的色情,躍躍欲試。而渡邊和西莫,則同樣是靦靦腆腆,無無謂謂的。但綠的生氣,是相對於籠罩在渡邊身上的直子的死氣,而在《莉拉說…》中,死氣充斥於西莫的四周﹕荒蕪破敗的社區,毫無指望的生活。

2004-12-27

More seriously though ...

... prove that you love us, lord, and end these human sufferings. I'd buy you the next round.

Prove that you love me, lord, and buy the next round

I was, as usual, ipoding when I came across a song which I have almost forgotten. It's a hilarious, silly and short one, not exactly social satire - Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz". Here's the lyrics:

Oh lord, won’t you buy me a mercedes benz ?
My friends all drive porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So lord, won’t you buy me a mercedes benz ?

Oh lord, won’t you buy me a color tv ?
Dialing for dollars is trying to find me.
I wait for delivery each day until three,
So oh lord, won’t you buy me a color tv ?

Oh lord, won’t you buy me a night on the town ?
I’m counting on you, lord, please don’t let me down.
Prove that you love me and buy the next round,
Oh lord, won’t you buy me a night on the town ?

Everybody!
Oh lord, won’t you buy me a mercedes benz ?
My friends all drive porsches, I must make amends,
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So oh lord, won’t you buy me a mercedes benz ?

That’s it!

iTrip illegal in the UK

I have been using iTrip with my new iPod and found this little creature easy to use and extremely useful. In fact, I seldom use the headphone. Most of the time, I use iTrip to play music with my home HiFi and car stereo, using the plugged-in iTrip to transmit the music as radio signal.

But according to the UK telecom regulators, tuning an iTrip into a radio channel in the UK is illegal under laws to stop pirate radio stations. The maximum penalty is a large fine and up to two years in jail. Are inmates allowed to ipod/itrip when they are serving time?

2004-12-21

人間即影﹕爬爬頭﹐鬥鬥氣

大貨車在小路上爬頭超越小房車﹐但對面線車輛已至﹐故動作顯得頗為尷尬。其後﹐小房車爬頭超越大貨車報復﹐但氣仍未消﹐竟在迴旋處前停下。大貨車及後面車輛全部受阻。大貨車的大塊頭司機上前理論 ...



大塊頭司機原來是斯文人一名﹐理論不果後﹐苦著臉向後面車輛解釋﹐小房車司機是顛佬﹐說要停在那裡拍照 ...



幾分鐘後﹐氣已消(或照已拍)﹐小房車開走﹐人間重回正軌。

人間即影﹕幾多海鮮才算海鮮炒麵﹖

在中餐館裡﹐客人向侍應投訴海鮮炒麵裡海鮮太少。侍應未能滿意解答﹐表示會請廚子出來解釋。廚子出來後﹐指著碟子不同地方﹐表示確有不同海鮮在內。但客人仍然不肯罷休﹐廚子唯有答應另炒一碟補償。



究竟﹐幾多海鮮才算海鮮炒麵﹖

侯吉諒談董陽孜書法成就

侯吉諒以「筆力雄渾、時代風格」八字來涵括如何欣賞董揚孜的書法。

"雖然董陽孜的作品加上繪畫性的因素,但基本上並未違離「書寫」的基本,因此他的書法即是在粗細變化極為鉅大的情形下,依舊保持中鋒前進,故而筆力飽滿,至終筆不歇。"

"董陽孜的書法不以字、句之清楚明白為原則,他的書法,基本上只是在追求視覺的效果和美學元素的統一。但就創作的過程而言,董陽孜的書法,還是離不開「文義」給書寫者最初始的共鳴,而不是像日本書道那樣,已經完全離開字義、文義的根本,而只是把文字的造型當作視覺的元素,因而董陽孜的書法即使不易辨識,本質上還是傳統的、中國的書法的範疇。"

"正因為沒有離開中國書法的書寫、文義的兩大原則,董陽孜的書法因而有其時代風格可以討論。"

2004-12-20

2004-12-19

Buy cheap across the ocean

According to International Herald Tribune (18/12/04), the recent substantial depreciation of the US dollar against the Euro has prompted many Europeans to across the ocean to buy European goods in the US.

葉嘉瑩談紅樓夢

葉嘉瑩在一場題為葉嘉瑩評點〈紅樓夢評論〉的演講中,批評王國維《紅樓夢評論》,並討論《紅樓夢》和李後主詞在突破傳統上相似之處。

中國過去的小說,常常他們所寫的要不然就是歷史,要不然就是神話,要不然就是筆記小說,什麼傳奇雜記了,都是這個。可是只有《紅樓夢》是一部真正的創作。它不是依傍於歷史,也不是依傍於傳奇的奇聞軼事,而是真正的作者自己的感受、自己的體會。而且不只是感受和體會,他自己的反省他自己的觀察,所以,他跳出了中國舊傳統的小說的范圍。

如果從這一點來說,我認為《紅樓夢》的成就有一點和李後主相似之處。在李後主以前《花間集》裡邊的一些作品,那是歌宴酒席之間,寫給歌女去歌唱的歌詞,所以以詞的起源來說,詞對於詩是一種背離。因為詩歌的傳統是言志,所以詩所寫的是你自己內心你的思想、你的感情、你的意願。可是詞呢?在早期是寫給歌女去歌唱的歌詞。作者說詞裡邊所寫的不是我自己,不是我的思想感情。

可是從李後主就不然了,李後主經過破國亡家的變故以後,寫的是他自己,他自己破國亡家的感情悲恨。從李後主開始,把這個詞當做抒寫自己感情的一個新體詩了。

王國維說,詞到李後主眼界始大。他改變了那些歌詞的詞,成為士大夫言志的詩篇。什麼原因使得李後主突破了歌詞之詞的傳統?我以為,是破國亡家的悲恨。因為歌詞是流行的,大家熟悉這個歌詞,就當做歌詞去寫,可是一旦他內心之中有了這麼大的悲哀和痛苦,他要表達,他就把他的悲苦用他最熟悉的那個形式表現出來了。

為什麼《紅樓夢》的曹雪芹寫出這麼一部著作?自己親身的痛苦的經歷。李後主痛苦的經歷,使他突破了歌詞的傳統;曹雪芹的痛苦的經歷,使他突破了過去那些小說的傳統。

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2004-12-18

The End of the World News

Another example of The Economist's proud tradition of writing concisely and precisely.

Deep down, there is something inside everyone which yearns for the New Jerusalem

Why do end-of-time beliefs endure? (Economist.com, 16/12/04)

"[T]he apocalypse is both an end and a new beginning. In Christian tradition, the world is created perfect. There is then a fall, followed by a long, rather enjoyable (for some) period of moral degeneration. This culminates in a decisive final battle between good (the returned Christ) and evil (the Antichrist). Good wins and establishes the New Jerusalem and with it the 1,000-year reign of King Jesus on Earth."

"[Norman] Cohn ... has long detected patterns of religious apocalyptic thought in what is supposedly rational, secular belief. He has traced 'egalitarian and communistic fantasies' to the ancient-world idea of an ideal state of nature, in which all men are genuinely equal and none is persecuted. ... Nicholas Campion ... draws parallels between the 'scientific' historical materialism of Marx and the religious apocalyptic experience. Thus primitive communism is the Garden of Eden, the emergence of private property and the class system is the fall, the final gasps of capitalism are the last days, the proletariat are the chosen people and the socialist revolution is the second coming and the New Jerusalem."

"Hegel saw history as an evolution of ideas that would culminate in the ideal liberal-democratic state. Since liberal democracy satisfies the basic need for recognition that animates political struggle, thought Hegel, its advent heralds a sort of end of history—another suspiciously apocalyptic claim. More recently, Francis Fukuyama has echoed Hegel's theme. Mr Fukuyama began his book, 'The End of History', with a claim that the world had arrived at 'the gates of the Promised Land of liberal democracy'."

"Science treasures its own apocalypses. The modern environmental movement appears to have borrowed only half of the apocalyptic narrative. There is a Garden of Eden (unspoilt nature), a fall (economic development), the usual moral degeneracy (it's all man's fault) and the pressing sense that the world is enjoying its final days (time is running out: please donate now!). So far, however, the green lobby does not appear to have realised it is missing the standard happy ending. Perhaps, until it does, environmentalism is destined to remain in the political margins. Everyone needs redemption."

Spare ribs lunch

Roasted spare ribs + sweet potato casserole with marshmallows



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從十個關鍵詞看中國的2004

從十個關鍵詞看2004 (新周刊, 15/12/04)

"新富的中國就像一個第一次穿上名牌西裝的男人,得意中透著一絲不適,急於得到認可又有點心虛。"

Connected to the world again!

My snail-pace dial-up service went dead for the last two days, which for me, seemed like two years!

2004-12-15

A Game of Cricket: Understanding the QWERTY phenomenon

A short student paper (by Su-Lyn Poon), using the QWERTY phenomenon to illustrate why "history matters not just in determining outcomes, but in making sense of the rules of the game".

-- The QWERTY Question --

2004-12-14

Another day, another sunset

I never seem to get tired of photographing the sunset from the front balcony. At this time of the day, the view would become much different within a few minutes. For this picture, I have to abandon my dinner to grab my digital camera.



2004-12-10

Great for readers, not for bookshops

Owning a bookshop is my lifelong dream. But the bookselling business is also a tough one. Although the impact of online bookshops has turned out to be less damaging than originally thought, bricks-and-mortar bookshops now have to face severe challenge from department stores and discount stores.

In the case of Australia, department stores and discount stores now have their own books section, carrying a small range of bestselling items, and usually selling at heavily discounted prices. For example, K-mart and Target have a standard 35% discount off the rrp (recommended retail price) of books. For some books, the discounts are even deeper.

As an example, Random House Australia has just released the illustrated edition of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, at rrp of A$59.95. Most bookshops sell at a discount - A$39.95 at Dymocks, although Collins is still charging the full price. But Target and K-mart are both selling at half price. And when I bought it in K-mart several days ago, they were having the regular further discounts (i.e. a uniform disocunt for selected categories of goods), with 15% off all books. As a result, I bought the book at A$24.5.

This obviously would make life difficult for bookshops. While the narrow range of books carried by discount stores (at least now) would mean that bookshops can still survive, they inevitably have to operate under reduced margins, since they are losing good-margin, best-selling items to the discounters.

Such development is great for readers, but not so for bookshops. And it makes a potential bookshop owner nervous.

真想問問董陽孜


董陽孜 勁筆揮灑快意人生(遠見雜誌,2004-11)一文中,作者引用故宮博物院院長石守謙的評語:「董陽孜的書法作品在表現上有意識的超越行列格局、字形架構,追求一種平面疏密與黑白變化的效果,讓書法跳脫傳統的點與線,成為必須兼顧四面、無前無後、無上無下的整體經驗」。






--- 網上資源:董陽孜 ---

其實,我真想有機會問問着意跳脫傳統的董陽孜她對中文字由右向左寫的看法。究竟,她在這個問題上,是無特別看法,是個傳統派,還是認為從右向左寫在空間表現上優於從左向右寫呢?

不知是否有人可以代問呢?

為甚麼我會有此一問?因為我在橫寫直寫 向右向左 左翻右翻 沒完沒了中寫過:中文字結構從左向右,從上而下,故不論直書橫書,都應依「從左向右,從上而下」的排列原則。但傳統上的確以「從右向左,從上而下」排列為主。而董陽孜的書法幾乎全是從右向左排列的(參見下面一段)。



董陽孜書法藝術也有其傳統的,守規矩的一面?

建築師漢寶德認為書法是生動的建築,並由此引申到董陽孜書法的欣賞 - 「其實董陽孜的書法看不懂是很自然的,如同藝術建築不像建築,董陽孜的書法不像字。這都是力求空間表現的結果,並不是甚麼缺失。我們不妨說,董陽孜的書法是中國行草傳統發展中的最後一步。與藝術建築一樣,她要解構中國文字,放棄標準草書中的筆法,構成一幅空間靈動的畫面。誰還管它是甚麼字!」

(另外,漢寶德也說過,董陽孜是水墨書畫家)

如吳冠中所言 - 忠於情則法無定 - 書法作為空間表現的藝術,通過解構中國文字呈現美感,本無不可,而且古已有之 - 狂草是也。但書法畢竟還是書法,不是純線條的絕對空間表現的藝術,像或不像字始終還是值得辯論,也一定有人辯論的課題。所以,漢寶德說的:「然而在追求心靈境界的努力中,建築受制於技術的條件,仍然是無法與書法相比的。建築要塑造三度空間,使人身處其中,必須犧牲絕對表現的自由。」可能言過其實 - 書法何嘗又有絕對表現的自由呢?

(董陽孜在:新唐人"海外華人"電視節目裡就說:「書法是文字,用毛筆書寫的,那一定是要人家看的懂的,假如這個字不可讀,或者人家看不懂,那是一個水墨創作畫。」)

也許是我對「橫寫直寫 向右向左 左翻右翻 沒完沒了」這個課題特感興趣的原故,在我看來,董陽孜書法藝術也有其傳統的,守規矩的一面。她的文字,大多是從右向左排列的。從我的空間藝術觀看,這種排序,是有違中國文字結構,也因而影響空間表現的。

以她的大字「任所適」為例(作品高3.6米﹐寬8.7米)﹐寫「任」字大約是由紙的中上部寫至右下部﹐然後一氣走回紙的左上部寫「所」字(至少7米的距離)。若「任所適」三字是由左向由寫的話﹐筆氣的連貫性將比較容易處理。





「雲門舞集」忽左忽右之謎


「雲門舞集」的名稱橫寫一般是由左向右排列(例如來自網頁的左圖,及可供下載的圖片),但在它的「三十週年特別公演」的廣告(右圖)中,卻以由右向左排列。


但是,如今再看「雲門舞集」網站,這四字卻變成從右向左寫。但有趣的是,在網站的導入頁中,同樣四個字卻是從左向右寫的。

這樣忽左忽右的,可算混亂。究竟董陽孜的原作是向右還是向左寫的呢?林懷民在向董陽孜習舞一文中,提供了答案: 「董陽孜寫「雲門舞集」四個字是一份美麗的因緣。一九七三年春天,我覺得我們需要一個舞團,我決定用「雲門舞集」作為舞團名字,並請董陽孜寫字,她一口答應。當時,她問我一個今天聽來很有趣的問題:「字是要從左到右,或右到左?」中文的寫法從右到左,但,大陸是由左到右。在某些想像力豐富的人眼裡,由左到右也可以是「陰謀」。我說當然由右到左。到了八○年代,印刷書寫方向轉變成由左到右,為了配合所有印刷品,今天看到的「雲門舞集」是經過從左到右的重整,令我感到心痛,因為傷害了氣韻,希望不久可以「平反」。」