peteg's blog

Finally, xe ba bánh photos.

/AYAD | Link

Following Andrew T's advice I uploaded a bunch of photos to Google's Picasa. Enjoy. The quality is a lot lower than the originals but you get the idea.

Ye gods.

/noise | Link

Dennis Hopper just fell off the twig. Unbelievable. I suppose they'll now have to abandon any thought of a sequel to Apocalypse Now.

Some years they're dropping like flies.

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Vale, Martin Gardner.

I expect this is a journalistic simplification:

In his philosophical writing Mr. Gardner rejected speculative metaphysics because it could not be proved logically or empirically.

as Gardner surely knew that Popper refuted this position a long time ago. The argument would have been familiar to him, being roughly a diagonalisation: this predicate ("can be proved logically or empirically") refutes the scientific process as a truth-producer just as readily as it refutes metaphysics. Thus one needs some kind of transcendent (speculative?) account of knowledge that cannot be purely logical or empirical. Kant is turning in his grave.

Andrew X. Pham: Catfish and Mandala

/noise/books | Link

I read this book back in August 2008, when I was was on the road around the central and northern reaches of Viêt Nam. This time I was sitting on a couch in District 1 of Hồ Chí Minh City. I ploughed through it too quickly; as before the first half was scintillating, while the second half, mostly focussed on life in America, was less interesting to me. Still, it is difficult to imagine a better account of immigration and identity.

This makes me want to read his more-recent account of his father's life.

Tim Page: Derailed in Uncle Ho's Victory Garden

/noise/books | Link

My old bookseller on the corner of Bến Thành market has moved on, so I dealt with her non-English-speaking colleague. I got this one on the strength of the topic alone, viz taking the train from Hồ Chí Minh City to Hà Nội soon after the country was reunified. It was disappointing though, for Page's style is a pale imitation of Hunter S. Thompson or thereabouts, and there aren't any photos. His attempts to find out what happened to his photojournalist mates failed to grab me. More context and detail would have been better, even if he covered less ground by doing so.

He has a lot to say and has probably said it elsewhere.

The English Patient

/noise/movies | Link

A movie that tries to appeal to everyone: a bit of war, romance, deserts, exotic localities, history and so forth. It succeeds mostly when expansive, and is tedious when personal. Fiennes does OK, but is lumbered by an incoherent character who gets implausibly histrionic when he should have been stone cold. Binoche steals the show, as she always does, and won an Oscar for doing so.

Iron Man

/noise/movies | Link

Ah yes, the original. Apparently I saw this back in August 2008, but it didn't stick with me. It is superior to the sequel. The climaxes in both movies are unsatisfying as the boss dude is killed off way too quickly.

Iron Man 2

/noise/movies | Link

At the Galaxy Cinema on Nguyễn Du with Loan. I enjoyed it, but would have preferred more screen time for Mickey Rourke. There was too much to fit into the time, and it was very dissatisfying that this neo-Vlad got destroyed so quickly. But yeah, something to see.

Infamous

/noise/movies | Link

I had put off watching this one for years, as I'm just not that interested in Capote. There is a narcissism at work here that is truly repellent. Still, good performances all round: Toby Jones is convincing, Bullock almost fabulous, Daniel Craig able. Good Sunday evening fare in Saigon.