Tuesday, November 27, 2007

electric shock!

I usually sleep while my driver weaves his way through the daily traffic. However, last Monday, I found myself keenly observing the street life along our route. It must have been the two cups of coffee I had for breakfast.

There were the usual elements of my morning ride – busy roads, crowded sidewalks, etc. Nothing extraordinary.

Until I saw a dead cat lying on a pavement, its legs stiff and outstretched.

The poor thing had a puddle of blood under its head, suggesting that it fell from above. So I looked up to see where that could be.

I saw an electrical post, with multiple wires that crisscrossed like spider webs, much like the ones on the right. The kitty probably suffered a high-voltage surge before it crashed to the ground!

As we drove on, I was shocked to see countless identical posts along the way. Tall, grotesque structures – what eyesores! How come I never noticed how they looked before?

Then an old saying came to mind: "What you see everyday, you no longer see."

In fact, it took a dead cat for me to realize how badly some communities need a safer and more modern electrical infrastructure. I wonder what it will take for local authorities to wake up and see this problem. 100,000 volts, perhaps?

(Top, left) The Series 4 Horror Be@rbrick, released in 2002, was the first 'glow-in-the-dark' Bearbrick ever released.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

dreadful dogs

I didn't like dogs when I was a kid.

Our entire neighborhood kept them solely for security. Most were caged or tied to a post, and released at night to keep out burglars. One family had a particularly vicious German Shepherd. We had to walk stealthily every time we passed by their house for fear that it might break loose. I actually discovered how fast I could run when it jumped against wrought iron gates, towards me, with its frightening fangs in full view.

When I was in Grade 6, a classmate's mother died because of a bite from a rabid mongrel. That fact that she had to suffer multiple needle injections (ouch!) before she succumbed to the rabies virus was the clincher for us kids, especially me – I was never going to like dogs for the rest of my life.

Until many years later.

I was in a mall with a friend, and we chanced upon a pet shop window with the most adorable puppies on earth. I told myself, 'These aren't killers, they're nice little... toys!' Cute toys that breathed, jumped, barked, ate and pooped. (Later, I found out how fun and easy it was to give the dog a bath – I simply placed it under the faucet with one hand like I was washing a coffee mug.)

How did I overcome my fear of dogs? I got myself a cute one to love. :-)

(Top) Petrified Duo: The 2002 Toycon Bearbricks were created by award-winning Hong Kong designer Colan Ho and are part of a series of six (6).

(Kenzo Comic Strip by me, made with Comic Life Software for Macs.)

Friday, November 9, 2007

the dark, dark world of h.r. giger

Do you know H.R. Giger, the creator of the most famous alien in Hollywood? His slimy, egg-laying monster (below) in the 1979 Sigourney Weaver sci-fi flick is the most ingenious and horrifying one I've seen so far.

Do you know that he also designed the cover of Debbie Harry's 'Kookoo' CD (left), producing an image so psychologically perturbing that it was banned from London's Underground years ago? In Japan, her single from this album made use of a less unnerving picture on its sleeve.

Have you heard of the magnificently macabre Giger Bars that he conceived and built in Switzerland? Spine-like buttresses, skull-encrusted furniture, and warped biomorphic shapes adorn their dim interiors. Just look at the pictures I've posted here – you can almost imagine the walls begin to move. (Right: That's Giger at the door of his bar in Chur, Switzerland.)

I'm quite sure that creatives all over the world have seen some form of his multi-faceted art. After all, Giger has dabbled in film, painting, sculpture, illustration, architecture, interior design, furniture design, graphic design and jewelry design. He even fashioned a special microphone stand for Jonathan Davis, lead singer of the rock band, Korn (below)!

Technically taut. Psychologically profound. Giger art is the best kind of art, if you ask me. :-)

The White Giger Artist Bearbrick (top) is part of Series 12. There is a black version, fyi.

(H.R. Giger pics/info from www.hrgiger.com.)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

elephants in bangkok

Before I flew to Bangkok, Thailand for a 4-day Halloween vacation, I packed my Series 12 Animal Be@rbrick, a mini representation of an elephant carrying an apple at the end of its trunk.

You see, I meant to take a nice pic of it within the capital, as the elephant is a very important symbol of the Kingdom of Thailand. During the 18th century Thai-Burmese war, the King rode it to fight for his country's honor and glory. Since then, it has been acknowledged as an animal suited only for royal duties. In fact, a white elephant in particular is a gift fit for a king, and for him to acquire one is supposed to bring prosperity and happiness to his entire kingdom. It is customary for a monarch to own many (even as much as nineteen white elephants) during his reign.

Years ago, domesticated elephants in Bangkok were commonplace and served as an attraction to Western tourists that were hungry for exotic imagery. But many accidents and complaints later, the law prohibited them from entering the city.

Today, the most visible elephant around is the Tuk Chang (Elephant Tower) in the Chatuchak district. See pic below. The yellow protrusion on the right is supposed to be the tusk. It's easy to spot the eye and the ear, of course. However, the thick trunk isn't very recognizable. Nevertheless, I give it high marks for 'effort'. A multi-storey concrete elephant – not many builders will even bother to come up with a idea as 'big' as this!

(Elephant building pic and info from neatorama.com. Elephant info from chiangmai-chiangrai.com & circleofasia.com)