.. - ~ HELLO DIARY ~ - ..
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I've come to the conclusion that I need to start exploring tea again. The first step toward this end is finding a nice online vendor with a good selection of green and oolong. Anyone have any suggestions? In particular, I really want to try Da Hong Pao.
I've also come to the conclusion that my nails need to look like this:
Third conclusion. Yoshiro Nakamatsu aka. Dr. NakaMats is a delightful human being. He's usually cited as a highly prolific and significant inventor by, uh, people who cite those types of things. Supposedly he invented the floppy disk and IBM licensed his patents, though there's something of a controversy surrounding whether this is actually true. There are claims that he invented everything from the CD to the taxicab meter to digital watches to a car engine that runs on tap water, while still others say he's a complete fraud. Also he was cited as one of the top five scientists of all time along with the likes of Archimedes and Nicola Tesla by an organization which may not actually exist? LOL.
Frankly I don't much care.
Because, more importantly, he invented shoes with springs on them, a wig that can be used as a weapon in self defense, a special cologne for men's private parts that counteracts impotency, and---my personal favorite---the "one way shielding object" as seen here:
"PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To provide a oneway visible shielding object, which is invisible from the other side, but which is visible from one side. ; SOLUTION: The shielding object (such as a sheet) is provided with an extremely narrow transparent portion. Characteristically, the one side is invisible from the other side, and the other side is visible from the one side by bringing a person's eyes closer to the shielding object. ; COPYRIGHT: (C)2009"
He was awarded the "Ig Nobel Prize," a parody of the Nobel Prize, for basically photographing every meal he has ever consumed over the past 25 years in an effort to document the nutritional effects on his mood. This isn't quite as tedious as it may sound, since he claims to only eat one meal a day (consisting of only 700 calories no less). He also has a strict exercise regimen and only sleeps four hours a day. His creative process is no less colorful, as he had an epiphany that "oxygen is the brain's enemy" and that one is most creative when deprived of oxygen and just about to pass out as a result. To aid himself in brainstorming therefore, Dr. NakaMats is fond of jotting down notes while swimming underwater in his pool. He has a special water-proof note pad and pencil for just such a task, both of which he also invented.
He actually has a whole philosophical system, interestingly enough:
"The base for everything is a strong spirit, followed by a strong body, hard studies, experience and finally leads to a 'trigger' experience. You 'trigger' a bullet which contains spirit, body, study and experience - and finally that releases the actual invention. A lack of oxygen is very important. It’s very dangerous. I get that Flash just 0.5 sec before death. I remain under the surface until this trigger comes up and I write it down with a special waterproof plexiglas writing pad I invented." 
Between the autoasphyxiation and daily 700 calorie intake, its something of a miracle the authorities haven't found this man dead in his pool by now. Not that they could get to him, as his house is an elaborate, labyrinthine network of fake doors, traps, hallways that lead to nowhere. Perhaps the best part of his living arrangements however is his entirely gold plated bathroom (toilet and all) which costs a million or two in US dollars. He says the gold blocks out all external noise and allows him to think in peace more effectively. Now that's room treatment.
Oh, one other thing: this man may end up saving Japan. Remember the "sex spray" referenced earlier? It's called Love Jet and the good doctor sells it for less than it costs to manufacture. In other words he loses money on this. Yet it's worth it in his view because it will help solve what he considers to be Japan's biggest problem: low birthrate.
Dr. NakaMats kind of reminds me of a Japanese Wilhelm Reich.
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I found this really cute thing the other day called the "HaHaHa Teeth Game." No idea how one plays, but it looks pretty awesome.
Recurring toothbrush theme.
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I'm getting to a point where I don't really want to bother with headphone comparisons and just want to enjoy music. With the Float QA, there was a strong gravitational pull in that direction; it felt as though music was there, that is always was and always will be. I felt connected to it, and subsequently all motivation to try to analyze the particulars dissipated.
I don't think listening to gear is an inherently wrong approach. As a facet of collecting, both it and musical enjoyment don't have to have the same end, and so it's not necessarily a corrupted form of the latter. Also I can switch pretty readily from one mode to another. More an issue of "being two places at once," the growing sense of tedium seems to be the result of too much time spent being drawn into crevices that are, ultimately, not particularly rewarding. Also I reached a point where impressions I could share regarding the Float QA seemed disingenuous to a certain extent. Looking back at some of the more colorful posts in the dedicated QA thread, I just didn't like the prospect of reducing my experience to a rendering of hyperbole in the eyes of others. I could describe the bass, mids, highs in some mechanical fashion. However it all just sounds right to my ears. Honestly, those types of impressions ("it sounds right" / "it sounds like life") aren't particularly helpful. I just don't have any desire to try to cast my positive gestalt into such an unyielding template. It doesn't do anyone any favors really.
The only new and upcoming headphone I'm particularly interested in at the moment is the Final Audio Pandora.
Aside from that, I have a mild attraction to the Sony MDR-1 and Philips X1 (should it ever actually be released...). Really though I feel a sense of satisfaction with my mainstays, of which the Float QA occupies a prominent position. With this in mind, I have no qualms about fully admitting my limited interest in the upcoming headphones mentioned here is mediated primarily by their designs and how they make me feel as functional art-objects.
Speaking of, these Amadana fashion accessories are pretty cute:
My interest in IEMs is actually following a similar trajectory at the moment. With the FitEar TO GO! 111 and 334, FAD Heaven VI and FI-BA-SS, and the two Ocharaku Flat-4s ... I feel slated. The UE900 and a select few customs that still pique my interest stand as somewhat nebulous goals for the future, though I'm in no hurry currently to realize them.
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The area where I'm falling fast and hard---what's currently whisking me off into its vortex---is speakers. At this point, I'm considering a pair of desktop / bookshelf / near field speakers. It would fit best into my current living arrangements, and it wouldn't be so cumbersome when it was time to move. At the top of my list:
Those are KEF LS50s, the Anniversary Edition. I find their larger Blade speakers rather interesting, and these seem to incorporate some of that uniqueness. Also there're the rather pricey Wilson Duettes (first; not really exciting me...) and Vivid Audio Oval V1 (second; exciting me quite a bit)
Slightly more down-to-earth are the Usher "Tiny Dancer" Be-718 Diamonds:
Then there are these rather peculiar Pioneer "Malt" speakers which are supposedly infused with some magical sound properties due to the wood that comes from whiskey barrels. Whether or not there's anything to such claims, I love the concept.
Once I do move, I'm seriously considering a full-on set of monolithic floor speakers. At the top of my list of considerations:
-> Wilson Audio Sasha WP
-> Tidal Audio Contriva
-> KEF Blade
-> Estelon Model XA
-> Thiel CS3.7
-> Vivid Audio Giya G2 or G3
-> Vivid Audio Oval K1
A friend of mine is particularly fond of Thiel Audio's speakers, though in my experience they are a bit thin and extremely picky about what is fed into them, sounding pretty bad on less stellar recordings. They seem extremely fussy, though they are the least expensive on that list and have a certain stately look, like mahogany obelisks. The KEF Blade is supposed to have an extremely focused and coherent sound thanks to its unique layout, though I don't know much more about them. Wilson stuff is generally pretty great, though a little overpriced compared to their competitors. Tidal is supposed to be better according to some audiophiles, but I think their prices are even more ridiculous TBH. Still, their cabinets are gorgeous in their straightforwardness and elegance.
The two companies that intrigue me most are Estelon and Vivid Audio. The former has been garnering a lot of praise in certain circles, and they seem to be competitive with Vivid:
It's Vivid Audio however that has truly captured my heart. Their Oval Series is the more practical one, and ranges from smaller desktop-type units to larger floor models:
The Giya Series however is what speaks to me the most, what whispers into the abyssal depths of my consciousness:
Their form is actually following function rather than the other way around as one might expect. Reading several reviews, they seem to compare very well to speakers costing three times as much (in other words: six digit figures). I listened to the G2 myself, and I was utterly blown away. The best speakers I had ever heard, surpassing the Wilson Sasha WP and even Magicos handily. If none of the above-mentioned floor speakers surpass these for me, then they'll be my apex goal to strive for once I've moved.
Lastly, I'm quite interested in checking out some QUAD ESL-57s. They have a very dedicated following, and some still cite them as being the best speakers in the world after all these years. I'd love to get a vintage pair, but the upkeep on them is pretty high, and I've read horror stories about replacement parts and other issues. One can find various businesses that restore them, but even then it can become a money sinkhole and end up being a major headache. One possible answer is QUAD Musik, the folks responsible for the Jecklin Float QA. They restore vintage QUADs, however they've created a QA version of the ESLs as well. It would be like buying a new set, and if the Float QA is any indication, it would sound fantastic. Also if the Float QA is any indication, it might have just as many reliability issues.
Top picture is the vintage ESL. Bottom picture is the ESL QA.
The QA version of the ESL reminds me of a giant Polaroid instant film cartridge. The woodwork is pretty much identical to what one finds on the Float QA.
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While I'm on the subject of expensive stuff, I wanted to namedrop two absurdly lust-worthy turntables I discovered the other day. First up is a creation by a company called Purevox, the PV-1:
I think I'd have to nickname that thing "tall boy." It looks like it was ripped from the pages of someone's subconscious dream narrative, at which point Purevox wiped off the residual ectoplasm threads.
Then there's my personal favorite of the set, a creation that is truly magnificent to behold in my opinion, the turntable made by Kronos Audio. It's name? It has none AFAIK. The company was made just to bring this thing into existence. It looks like an office building for little sound wave people to work 'round the clock in bringing you beautifully rendered music. They're apparently making 250 of them, spending a few years assessing their work, and then coming back to make it even more absurd.
On a more down-to-earth level, I've been eyeing stuff by Michell Engineering. Namely the Gyro. Also Luxman's new turntable, while more straightforward looking, is a lovely sight to behold.
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Last week was rather upsetting, as one of my best friends---someone I love dearly---was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. I suspected something was desperately wrong when she called me, frantic, insisting that there were shadowy figures inserting themselves into her past and shuffling her memories around like a deck of cards. At first I thought she was just messing around, but her claims got more and more alarming, and eventually she refused to leave her apartment. The whole thing just seemed to come out of nowhere. I'm just glad it's being treated now.
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I've got a big ol' lecture to give in two days, and I'm totally unprepared. Noooooo... ;___;