Blog - November 2006 Archives

November 2006 Archives


Music .30 My Christmas soundtrack
Photo .29 Anzen-tarō
Photo .28 More fall colors
Technology .28 New colors (maybe)
Music .27 Glad en Mono again on radiodd
Photo .23 Fall colors
Music Technology .17 Rhythm tengoku
Music Stage .16 Cornelius HMV in-store live report
Music .12 Nostalgic sounds
Photo .09 Ginkgo Dreams
Food Photo Tokyo .04 From Ginza to Tokyo Dome City
Technology .04 Watermarking hotlinked images
Photo .04 Akishima

November 30, 2006

Music My Christmas soundtrack

naomi & goro "Presente de natal ~bossa nova Christmas~"The other day I was in a zakka shop, and there was Christmas music playing, bossa-style guitar with a soft female voice singing in English, Japanese and Portuguese. I instantly identified the singer's distinctive accent as the same as the "I'm Henery the Eighth I Am" cover from the Escalator "Henry" compilation, a cute song I have put on repeat many times.
I asked the shop's staff about it, and sure enough it was the same unit, Naomi & Goro.

I rarely buy Christmas music since it can only be listened to about 1/12 of the year, but this time I couldn't help but give in and get their 2003 Christmas album "Presente de Natal" Naomi & Goro "Presente De Natal~bossa nova Christmas~". It contains 6 covers of popular Christmas songs, and also two Brazilian ones and two originals. I think I'll be listening to this a lot for the weeks to come.

Posted on November 30, 2006 at 08:10 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (2) | Tweet |

November 29, 2006

Photo Anzen-tarō

Orange anzen-tarō spotted tonight on Ōmekaidō in Nishi-Shinjuku, in and out of focus. Taken with my GorillaPod.


Larger sizes at Flickr

Posted on November 29, 2006 at 22:51 | Permalink | Comments (1) | Tweet |

November 28, 2006

Photo More fall colors

Last Saturday I got a bit of fresh air in Kita-Ibaraki, mainly visiting the Tenshin Memorial Museum of Art and also going in the woods to Hanazono-jinja. Here are some photos of the outing.

That large cedar tree is 500 year old, 45m high and has a circumference of 7.5m! It separates into three in its top half.


Larger sizes and a few more at Flickr

Posted on November 28, 2006 at 20:39 | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tweet |

Technology New colors (maybe)

As some might have noticed (or not), until now the basic colors of my site had been varying depending on the time of the day. The latest color set was gray at midnight and brownish at noon, with shades in between. I changed this color set every few months when I got tired of them, but I really wanted the colors to change more often.

So today I did some experiment to pick colors from the latest photo I posted (more precisely: the first Flickr photo in the latest main blog or moblog entry), therefore hopefully giving the site some colors that are similar to it. I'm not yet too sure of how successful that will be. This process being all automated, we might be getting some bad taste color choices once in a while.

Anyway let's see. :)

Posted on November 28, 2006 at 20:07 | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tweet |

November 27, 2006

Music Glad en Mono again on radiodd

radiodd Selecta #7Italy's best indie electro label and net radio, radiodd, has once again selected a song by legendary happy electronic instrumental band Glad en Mono, for its newest digital delicatessen program "Selecta #7"!
The song is "    en ABC avec Metal Zone (demo)".

Also featured are the label's own Rodion and Pigneto Quartet, and many other quality selections.

Selecta #7 can be heard streaming at radiodd, or can also be downloaded here (large zipped MP3).
Using GetRight or a similar download accelerator with concurrent connections may avoid a several-hour affair.

Also check out Selecta #6 if you had missed it.


And while on the topic of good music, make sure you don't miss Marxy's brand new EP "beaus in disarray", available for free download at the fantastic creation centre.

marxy "beaus in disarray"

Posted on November 27, 2006 at 22:00 | Permalink | Comments (4) | Tweet |

November 23, 2006

Photo Fall colors

Today at lunch I rode my bike around to find these hints of autumn colors.


Larger sizes and a few more at Flickr

Posted on November 23, 2006 at 01:13 | Permalink | Comments (3) | Tweet |

November 17, 2006

Music Technology Rhythm tengoku

20061116rhythmtengoku.jpgRecently on my GameBoy Advance I had been playing Rhythm tengoku , which a co-worker lent me. I was able to clear all stages, and get a "high level" on all but about 5 of them until I decided to hand the game back. It really was a lot of fun!

Each stage is a mini-game in which you have to sync easy button pushing with the music, and if you're tight and don't mess up too much, you can move on to the next stage. Except for the higher stages which are harder versions of early stages, each stage has original music and action, and many are quite funny! Anyone who likes rhythm games should enjoy this one.

As a plus, there's a drum school where a small rabbit teaches you beats that you must then mimic using most of the controller's buttons. Also every now and then, there's a "campaign" going on on a stage that you completed before, encouraging you to play it again in order to be able to add the stage's song to your "studio" which is a place where you can use your newly acquired gamepad drum skills freely.

Once all stages are completed, you're allowed to do live shows where you play drums on stage with a band. :) I guess something must happen if you get a "high level" in all stages, I'll find out only someday when I get a copy for myself and play some more. Many songs are quite catchy and fun too, so I'll be wanting to hear them again.

Posted on November 17, 2006 at 12:50 | Permalink | Comments (2) | Tweet |

November 16, 2006

Music Stage Cornelius HMV in-store live report

This week, Cornelius played three free in-store live shows in Shibuya! Monday at Apple Store, Tuesday at Tower Records, and today Wednesday at HMV.

I passed by Apple Store on Monday by curiosity about an hour before start, but there was a major line-up of maybe 200+, probably more than can fit on the first floor, so I gave up. I had bought my CD early at Shibuya HMV though, and got a numbered ticket, so I was able to attend the HMV show tonight!

Oyamada Keigo performed with his full Cornelius Group: Horie Hirohisa (Neil and Iraiza) on keyboards, Shimizu Hirotaka on bass, and Araki Yūko (mi-gu) on drums. All three guys wore horizontal stripes (Cornelius in pink/black, Horie-kun in light pastel colors, and Hirotaka in red/black), and Yūko wore a simple white blouse. A large windchimes kit was hung over her drum set while each other member had a miniature, these were all played throughout the show.

They first did a short intro jam, during which Cornelius hinted the Super Mario Bros 1-2 BGM at one point. Then the set list then went as follows:
Breezin' / Wataridori / Gum / Beep It / Music

All songs were accompanied by sync'd videos. "Gum" had collages of mouth videos, similar with what had been done with the short song "Eyes" before. "Beep It" had a very cool video that looked a lot like pika pika.

Then as staff instructed on how to leave the space in order, the band came back on stage as a surprise (even staff didn't seem to know) and played "E".

Next, I'll be seeing Cornelius on April 5 at Shibuya AX. Still a long way to go until then..!

Posted on November 16, 2006 at 00:09 | Permalink | Comments (8) | Tweet |

November 12, 2006

Music Nostalgic sounds

Tonight we went to a small hall in Ōimachi for a very nice concert of well-known songs performed on a Hammond A-102 organ (almost same as the famous B-3). There were a total of 24 main performers who entertained us for a good three hours!

Most of the performers are students of Yamaguchi Ryōki, a young teacher who has a school in Gotanda where he teaches Hammond and piano. The songs were mostly pop standards but there was also some classical, bossa nova, rock and then some.

Among the players was our friend Tsugumi who did a great job with Marcos Valle's "Batucada"! Other of the most remarkable performances included "Fantasy" (Earth, Wind & Fire), "Take The 'A' Train" (on piano), "The Night In Tunisia", "Sesame Street" (truly a great groovy song!), "Another Star" (Stevie Wonder), "Nica's Dream", and also the two teachers doing "Chopsticks", and, well, a whole lot more.
One of the players was a very young girl who had been playing since she was three! There was also a band of four men whose average age was over 50 who gave a good show.

I took a bunch of photos that all look pretty much the same, so here are a few.

hammond organ concert Nostalgic Soundshammond organ concert Nostalgic Soundshammond organ concert Nostalgic Soundshammond organ concert Nostalgic Soundshammond organ concert Nostalgic Sounds

Larger sizes, and many more, at Flickr.

Posted on November 12, 2006 at 02:03 | Permalink | Comments (1) | Tweet |

November 9, 2006

Photo Ginkgo Dreams

A picture featuring ginkgo trees that I posted a few days ago has been selected at Ginkgo Dreams as their weekly photo!

Ginkgo Dreams is a blog for those who want to learn more and share info about those fascinating trees.

Posted on November 9, 2006 at 07:44 | Permalink | Comments (1) | Tweet |

November 4, 2006

Food Photo Tokyo From Ginza to Tokyo Dome City

We started the day by going to Ginza to eat fried oysters (and also scallops, salmon and a shrimp) at Sanshūya, as we has last year around the same time. It was all delicious! They say that oysters are best in months that end in "R".

Then, without much of a fixed plan, we walked nearby the Imperial Palace which had some autumn yellow colors, probably because of the large amount of Tokyo's symbolic ginkgo trees. It was quite cloudy but it only rained a little. Can you spot the two birds magically standing on the water?


After walking some more, we ended up in Suidōbashi. There is located Tokyo Dome City, which contains an amusement park. We spontaneously bought discounted ride tickets at a ticket shop and rode the huge Thunder Dolphin roller-coaster and also an indoor roller-coaster called GeoPanic.

I've been on many roller-coasters before, and Thunder Dolphin was surely one of the scariest! It's 80m tall, 1.1km long and goes to speeds up to 130km/h. While going around the amusement park twice, it dives into a hole in a wall and even through the ferris wheel! That hole looks much smaller when you're coming at it at a crazy speed.


The Tokyo Dome City attraction park doesn't have any entrance fee, you pay only for what you ride. This makes it possible to go in freely, and do even just one ride, or to go with people who don't feel like doing rides. Great concept!

Then we walked some more to Kagurazaka, for a total of over 8.4km (Gmaps pedometer), not counting all the walking inside the amusement park.

Larger photos and a few more at Flickr

By the way, the last two photos above were taken with a GorillaPod, which I had got after reading about Brad's at Roy's. It was about the first time I had a chance to use it and it proved to be very useful! Its power is all in its light weight and compactness.

Posted on November 4, 2006 at 23:48 | Permalink | Comments (2) | Tweet |

Technology Watermarking hotlinked images

"Hotlinking" is usually associated with using images from someone's web site without permission and at the same time stealing that person's bandwidth. It sure sounds like and is a bad thing, but the topic doesn't end there. Most hotlinkers have no clue what they are doing, and, in my case, the stolen bandwidth really isn't considerable.

One popular solution is to block all requests to images with an unknown referrer (HTTP_REFERER request header) as described in the Apache URL Rewriting Guide (under "Blocked Inline-Images"). I previously used this method myself, actually serving a lo-fi "DO NOT HOTLINK" image instead of the requested image. It works, but it wasn't quite what I wanted. It's not like most of the hotlinking was stealing heaps of my bandwidth anyway. After a while I stopped. watermarkRecently I re-thought this method to instead automatically serve a "watermarked" image only when hotlinked, in my case adding just a small logo with this site's URL (as seen on the right) in a corner of the image and serving it that way.
I generally dislike watermarking, and I strongly agree with Jason Scott's thoughts on the topic. However I don't care giving a watermarked image to those who don't know better than to hotlink my images, and I think it is only fair since they're using my bandwidth. If viewers like the hotlinked image, they might as well know its source (almost never credited by hotlinkers).

This solution can be put in place by adding a few lines to .htaccess (Apache server), and creating a short PHP script.


RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www\.)?chipple\.net/  [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*\.jpg)$ /hotlink.php?fn=$1 [L]

This translates to "for all JPG images, redirect internally to script /hotlink.php, except if the HTTP_REFERER is empty or starts with or".

Additionally, one can add lines similar to the second one, allowing unobstructed images to be used on other specific sites, or on search services like Google Images. That's what I do.

Next is the script that adds the watermark. You will need to create a small image that will be used as the watermark image. I chose to make it a grayscale image with transparent parts. This example assumes that the watermark image is called hotlink.png and located in the same folder as the script. Also, the $sRoot variable must be set to your site's server root path.


$sFN = $_GET['fn']; // Request filename
// Reject bad request filenames, adjust if needed if (strpos($sFN,'../') !== false || strpos($sFN,'.jpg') === false) { header('Status 403 Forbidden'); exit(); }
$sRoot = "/usr/myaccount/public_html/"; // Server root, ADJUST
// Load requested image if ($img = @imagecreatefromjpeg($sRoot.$sFN)) { // Add watermark to bottom-left corner of image, at 80% opacity if ($imgLogo = @imagecreatefrompng('hotlink.png')) { $iHeight = imagesy($img); $iWidthLogo = imagesx($imgLogo); $iHeightLogo = imagesy($imgLogo); imagecopymerge( $img,$imgLogo, // Destination and source images 0,$iHeight-$iHeightLogo, // Position for logo on destination image 0,0,$iWidthLogo,$iHeightLogo, // Area of logo image to copy 80); // Opacity (1-100) imagedestroy($imgLogo); } } else { header('Status 404 Not Found'); exit(); }
// Output image to browser header('Content-Type: image/jpeg'); imagejpeg($img); imagedestroy($img);

That should be it!

Posted on November 4, 2006 at 11:47 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (13) | Tweet |

Photo Akishima

Today we went out around Akishima (Tachikawa-shi, Tokyo), where we could appreciate some countryside-like atmosphere despite it being within Tokyo.

By a road, there was a man raking chestnuts fallen from the trees, and he kindly let me take his picture. A few minutes later after having left, he came running after us to share a few of his chestnuts!


One destination was a bakery/café named Zelkowa. It's truly in the middle of nowhere, but their bread (we got the last one!), scones and coffee were very good. No wonder why customers kept entering every few minutes despite the odd location.

Zelkowa signZelkowa entranceZelkowa path

Larger sizes at Flickr

Posted on November 4, 2006 at 02:25 | Permalink | Comments (1) | Tweet |

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