Category Archives: Book Merah

FOODHACK! HK Poly June 15-17

EELCOIN! (The foodhack was a weekend full of hard work and hope. I was on a team with Beeno, Ann, Sayuri and Kerong. We worked and ate amongst talented people who shared ideas and experiences related to fixing global food challenges.)

Welcome HK Foodhackers!

My name is Stephen Black and I have worked with food as an artist, as a photographer, a videomaker and someone with an interest in AR. Following are introductions to some of my food-related projects, including books.

Bubiko Foodtour is on her way to becoming an AR superstar! This week I just concluded workshops and presentations about AR, here at HK Poly.

Presentations and workshops by Stephen Black

Bubiko Foodtour is on Instagram.

A summary of the AR presentations at HK Poly

My experiences on a permaculture farm in Bali.

I am an unofficial representative for sustainable organic coffee and tea from Northern Thailand.

http://www.blacksteps.tv/anthony-bourdainstephen-blackstreet-foodan-embarrassing-encounter/

photography as part of book cover design

Furikake: japanese rice seasonings. Food-related short stories.

miso!

A national bestseller in Singapore

i ate tiong bahru on Goodreads.

i ate tiong bahru on Amazon

i ate tiong bahru audiobook

Check Amazon for other food-related books by Stephen Black.

And this book features a protagonist who is an amateur chef specializing in molecular cuisine.

AR HKPOLYU Followup 2 (Students Work)

As I began to prepare for the events, I soon discovered a fantastic problem. Three huge AR events had very recently occurred:

- Google held its Developer's Conference on May 8.

- Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference ended on June 8.

-The biggest announcements in AR were made at the Augmented World Expo, which was from May 30 to June 1.

Because my presentations were meant to reflect the State of the Art in AR, I had to organize lot of information in a short period of time. Plus, the materials I had gathered previously had become out of date.

The good news is that nearly all of the materials presented were less than a year old, some just a few days old! The bad news is that in the rush, I had to de-prioritize student's work and ended up not showing any. With this post I remedy that, and am thankful to the teachers and students involved with the work below.(Any students, anywhere: I will be happy to post your AR-related work!)

First is the "home team", the Hong Kong Polytechnic University of Design. Dr. Ludovic Krundell helped secure these images, and he was a most helpful resource and source of welcome advice during my time at PolyU. His support, as well as the guidance of Gino Yu, made my time here an unforgettable experience. OK; the work...

Meow Meow AR Cat Game by HK Poly U Students

AR Game by: LIU MingYi, Kelly
ZHANG Zhenyi
LIU Xiaoyu, Sherry

Meow Meow AR Cat Game by HK Poly U Students 2

Poster for Sound Visualization, an AR project by Zhuang Mengzhou, Dai Mingyi, Dong Genggeng, Hu Xianzhi

Thailand : the Institute for Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology has incorporated AR into junior high school science textbooks.(Info kindly provided by Trasvin Jittidecharak/Silkworm Books.)

The following were kindly provided by Fabian Winkler, the Associate Professor of Visual and Performing Arts, at the Electronic and Time-Based Art Program of Purdue University. Professor Winkler's own work can be seen here.

The following presentations were developed within a short period: less than two weeks. They are about the relationship of the markers (image targets) and the AR content they activate.

from Singapore

Debbie Ding (http://dbbd.sg / http://openurbanism.blogspot.com

Lecturer, Interaction Design

Module Leader for Final Year Project 1 and Final Year Project 2

Publishing as a Discourse Marker

From Wikipedia: In Practical English Usage, Michael Swan defines a discourse marker as "a word or expression which shows the connection between what is being said and the wider context". For him, a discourse marker is something that either connects a sentence to what comes before or after, or indicates a speaker's attitude to what he is saying. He gives three examples: on the other hand; frankly; as a matter of fact.[5] Ian McCormick's The Art of Connection[6] outlines nine classes of connectives based on their purpose:

to provide a sense of where something is in relation to something else;

to supply a sense of when something is happening;

to compare two ideas and express similarities;

to contrast ideas English provides many examples to signal the notion of difference;

to present additional or supplementary ideas;

to indicate that a point in a discussion has been conceded or already taken into account;

to demonstrate a sense of logical sequence;

to offer an illustration or an example;

to deliver a summary of the ideas discussed.

McCormick points out that "FANBOYS" is mnemonic to recall co-ordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

5.30 – 7.00pm

Publishing Independently

What is the potential of self-initiated publications as a form of artistic collaboration? What are the benefits and pitfalls of self-publishing versus traditional publishing, and how does it contribute to the cultural field? This panel will explore recent developments in self-publishing and what necessitates these forms of independent production.

Speakers:

Ringo Bunoan (Philippines), artist and co-Founder, Art Book Philippines

Savannah Gorton (Germany/Denmark), curator and co-Founder, Friends with Books

Beatrix Pang (Hong Kong), Founder, Small Tune Press

Stephen Black (Around China) artist, writer and Founder Book Merah

Moderated by Shubigi Rao (India/Singapore), artist

Book Merah Ebook Giveaway June 2018 HONG KONG and BEYOND

It is now noon on Sunday. I will update this in about 12 hours. There are other book discounts and giveaways now available; please check on Amazon. And, actually Alphabet Spikes and Antigone.Cloud have not yet been cleared into the Amazon system. They will appear soon. Thanks for your patience and please check back later. Thank you! Steve More book info here!

The giveaway will coincide with my presentations at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on June 11 and 13.

Information on some of the books can be found here.

I am excited to present two book ideas. The book ideas are: Alphabet Spikes and Antigone.Cloud: Ghost of a Robot I use the word "book ideas" because these two projects will be "normal" books and ebooks someday. For now, they are both inexpensive subscriptions. What do I mean by that? Here is how it works:

1. You buy the book, or get it while it is a free giveaway.

2. You read it.

3. If you like it, send me your email, and I will send you the latest chapters.

4. If you don't like it, I hope you feel that the price was fair and the information and stories were valuable.

So, these two books are something like subscriptions or crowdfunding. Without further ado, the books are:

Alphabet Spikes

Art and entrepreneurship go on a road trip in Southeast Asia. Lots of eating, a few meetings, and nonstop ups and downs.

and

Antigone.Cloud: Ghost of a Robot

A ten year old girl made of software faces the difficulties of growing up.

.................

A national bestseller in Singapore

i ate tiong bahru is a bestseller in Singapore. Here's the link to iatb on Amazon. Here is a link to a blog post with reviews and more information.

photography as part of book cover design

a photograph of a dancer on a farm, the title and the author's name

Short stories that involve rice seasonings. A price discount. What more could you want? (And those blank pages are gone. And a story has been added! I should really update that Amazon description soon. Speaking of Amazon: the link.

The Ipoh photobook is free from June 9-13,2018. This is the book that inspired the world's first AR photo exhibition. On Amazon!

UNGLUE CONTACT WITH SHADOW IMMEDIATELY!

Contact With Shadow in quotes book cover

Printing history and romance collide in this novel by Stephen Black.

from the Internet Cafe in Chung King Mansions

An HK$ 8 paper cup of chai tea is in front of the monitor. Tea reminds me of coffee and I could certainly write at length about my six day crash course on HK coffee culture. Here, I am an unofficial spokesman for northern Thailand coffee and tea.

I could also write about how it feels to be back. I lived in Hong Kong for a few years during the Handover. Food is another obvious topic.

But what I will write about is a list of things I have to do and think about. Probably boring to most people, but here we go:

Hong Kong Polytechnic Workshop. Two workshops, each 3 hours. Two presentations. The workshops will be more conceptual than technical. It will be interesting to learn the AR awareness level of those participating. It is likely many will have much more hands on production experience than I do. The first presentation will be geared towards design students, but open to all. The second is titled AR, VR and Me, which uses my life experiences as a starting point to explain AR and VR. This talk is for the general public.

Kandao! This exciting camera manufacturer is just over the border in Shenzhen. We have agreed to meet, but when? My passport is full; I go to the consulate next Tuesday. I need to finish my movie proposal soon!

"All his life was an incessant research of a language that could conform with the modern man. Speed, words in freedom, war, and revolution are the words that best represent the life of Marinetti, who was called “caffeina d’Europa” (caffeine of Europe), because he was always ready to excite the Old Continent with some novelties."

Stuart Rankin/The Dundercats Now that I am on the home turf of the Dundercats, it's time to brainstorm and plan how their AR plans can be woven into the AR plans of Bubiko Foodtour, Secret Donut World and the Dobots.

Signal 8 Publishers. I had a great time at the launch of two books: Xu Xi's Insignificance and Marshall Moore's Inhospitable. The Sunday afternoon was anything but inhospitable, and it was very significant to me, on several levels; one being that Xu Xi will be leaving HK for New York. I should also note that her husband Bill was there, and he reminded me of an evening in Manhattan when I bumped into him in midtown. He was in a pack of karaoke singers, and for some reason I was invited. I went to where they were going. I ate a bowl of soup and left. Or so Bill says. I don't remember that happening, but a chance meeting on the streets of NYC, followed by a bowl of soup sounds about my speed.

Speaking of food: CONFUSION reigns!

Super Rare! Block chain. I need to have a conversation with them. The plot twist here is that I would like to use some of Toyo's images as the basis for simple digital artworks. As I Toyo and I were discussing things l;ike this before he passed away, I feel it is OK. However, I have tried to contact his family first, so as to get their thoughts.

Alphabet Spikes: the book I am writing about the Bubiko Orwell Tour. I am still filling notebooks, still frustrated that I do not have a laptop. Here is the blurb: Art and entrepreneurship go on a road trip in Southeast Asia. Lots of eating, a few meetings, and nonstop ups and downs.

The other book:

Antigone. Cloud: Ghost of a Robot A ten year old girl made of software faces the difficulties of growing up.

Back in HK, I instantly remembered Visage.

Back in HK, I instantly remembered the Star Ferry.

Back in HK, I instantly remembered the prices of housing and food. Ouch! We came here planning to do a month-long house sit.However, this fell through a couple of days before we got on the plane. SO... if anyone in HK has any leads on housesitting or inexpensive housing, please do get in touch asap. Chung King certainly has its charms, but...

Oh yes: since I am in HK: 3how! The Silent State

Self-published. No marketing. What happens?

Today, for the first time in about two years, I looked at the sales reports for my eight books. Fully expected to see no sales. Zero. No sales would be an expected consequence of doing no marketing and being self-published. Over ten years ago, I made it clear that I would do no marketing until I had written eight books.

So, today was a pleasant surprise.

self-publishing statistics

Stephen Black does no marketing...

My biggest "audience" is in Japan, then the US, then India. Interesting. I have not lived in Japan for quite awhile. Have never been to India. Kindle's programs that allow people to sample the book seem to be helping.

Amazon and self-publishing

The number of Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) read determines the royalties you earn from KU (Kindle Unlimited) and KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library). This graph is updated as pages are read by customers who borrow your book from KU and KOLL.

I am now working on two books. One is a novel ( Antigone.Cloud: Ghost of a Robot), the themes of which are AR, sentient software, Southeast Asia and children. The other, Alphabet Spikes, is a journal; of my entrepreneurial, food-related and art adventures in Southeast Asia. I would be thrilled to find a publisher and or an agent, but if not, that is that.

Some may laugh at the above sales figure, but to me it is encouraging. What will happen when I finally start to do marketing?

Marketing is not easy, but thanks to Amazon, services like Adwords, and social media, things can be very efficient. Within the next three months, I will give away free ebooks, hoping this will lead to spikes in sales. I will start marketing in October.

About my books, here is a post that includes videos.

FWIW, the stats on this blog:

An experiment with Amazon

As for my bestseller, I sold it in bookstores and in certain areas of Singapore. The first edition is almost completely sold out; 2000 copies, which in Singapore qualifies it to be a national bestseller.The print version of i ate tiong bahru is a bestseller in Singapore There is an audiobook version as well.

Cupping Steve’s Wild Coffee (part 1)

Later, I will talk about my experiences using coffee in my visual art projects and writing. For example, one of my books contains a chapter about coffee. For now, I will simply say that creating my own brand of coffee would combine several longtime interests, including, ultimately, AR. (Presentations about AR at HK Poly. A post about AR and Coffee)

This post is about my first cupping experience, which occurred on May 12, 2018, at Once Cafe in Chiang Rai, Thailand. I had discovered Once the day before the testing, by accident.Lucky! The barista was Neung (Matorose Plengsai).

Coffee cupping preparation

Neung (Matorose Plengsai).from Once Cafe in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

She is deeply connected with coffee. Her husband is involved with the production of organic foods, including coffee: at one point he made his own roaster. Neung supervised the creation of Once Coffee, the signature of her cafe. In the course of discussing Once Coffee, it was agreed that I could bring some to Hong Kong, for a tasting event I am planning.

Here is my description of Once Coffee:

Made from Peaberry beans, Once is light-hearted and slightly fruity, yet powerful-- an excellent choice for lattes and cappuccinos. Organically grown, processed and roasted on a single estate in northern Thailand, Once is a blend of roasts: medium and dark. The blend is constantly monitored and adjusted to maintain Once’s signature flavor.

Once treats the people it is involved with fairly.

Let the cupping begin!

Once was cupped in the afternoon. The cupping for Steve’s Wild Coffee (the name for now, anyway) started at 8:30 AM. Besides Neung, we were fortunate to have Boss (Pattapong Valuvanarak), who manages a restaurant called Kafe Journal.

thoughtful coffee drinker

Boss!

We had three types of Steve’s Wild Coffee (SWC). The beans are Arabica: a medium roast, a dark roast and a mix of 80% medium and 20% dark.

Like most coffees, the dark roast and the 80/20 mixture will work well with lattes and cappuccinos. No surprises there. The medium roast was judged to be very suitable for simple, hot coffees. Again, no surprises.

What follows are notes on what I learned, observed and thought about. I am a fresh arrival into this part of the coffee world. Also, the wild coffee is almost completely undocumented. So, we were in the rare position of being able to respond to what we were tasting with very few preconceived ideas.

I should state that wild coffee is a new venture by a company with over forty years experience producing high grade organic teas. It is not a secret who they are, and I will later identify them, especially on all packaging. They are now applying for a USDA organic certificate.

Cofffe packaging

Once Cafe, in Chiang Rai, Thailand. The first cupping of Steve's Wild Coffee.

So... the cupping!

Neung opened the medium roast, and Boss spread some beans out on a plate. He picked something up, showed it to Neung and they laughed. “Elephant ears”, he said. Elephant ears are shells of beans that are empty. I looked, and yes, the shell of an empty coffee bean looks just like the ears of an elephant. Boss showed me another bean that had a tiny hole in it. “An insect ate some.” I made a mental note to find out why this was bad. Psychologically, perhaps it is not good, but in terms of the coffee making process, why is it bad? There was no insect, of course. I wonder if, by eating the coffee bean, the insect allowed air into the heart of the fruit. This would mean oxygen being added into the fruit’s “manufacturing process”. Perhaps this is the reason for the rejection. The coffee is roasted, which kills bacteria and other micro-organisms. Simply, I must learn more about insects eating coffee beans. Is it a cosmetic issue, or something more?

No fungus was detected and the other beans which were rejected were chipped, a common fault. But again I wonder if this is cosmetic or something more serious. Could it be that the chipping results in the bean drying out in that area and losing flavor?

(PART 2 is here)

An Instagram post of the cupping.

SE Asia Bookstore Energy!

Thailand is full of surprises, but one of the best was the discovery of so many healthy bookstores. Besides the work on my startup, I am now writing two books, both with connections to Thailand. Discovering bookstores has been an inspirational part of the Bubiko Orwell Tour.

Additionally... I recently had a pleasant conversation with Trasvin Jittidecharak, the publisher of Silkworm Press. We took no photos, though! We did discuss, however, this very interesting book.

And, before I entered Thailand, just after Christmas, I was lucky to have 30 minutes of quality time with Gareth Richards, in his office above the legendary Gerakbudya Bookshop in Penang, Malaysia. The team headquartered here recently won an award for their outstanding work on the Georgetown Literary Festival.

About a year ago, in Kuala Lumpur, I had a very brief exchange with Raman Krishnan, the proprietor of Silverfish Books, an English language, Malaysian-themed independent bookstore.

And... in Singapore: Kenny Leck and Books Actually. Plus:Booktique, run by Anthony Koh Waugh! But for now... Thailand.

papersmith bookshop

Dao, a woman who is soon opening a bookshop. Her deep respect and passion for books made a strong impression upon me. Thailand and Southeast Asia and the world of books. OnwARd!

Because of Facebook and the Mekong Review, I just discovered Bangkok's Open House Bookshop.

Oh yeah... you're here because you are enigmatic, intelligent and interested in w o r d s... I dare ya... ONE DOS San !

Esbe over view rough draft (AR startup, AR -themed novel)

Esbe is the name of my planned AR startup...

Augmented reality novels

Here is glimpse into esbe

Well, the Thai university project has yet to happen. BUT I am doing a two day workshop and two presentations at Hong Kong Polytechnic!

I am also excited about being so close to Shenzhen.I will update this chart in a month or two.

Here is Bubiko's Instagram account.

Antigone Cloud and Yves Arc: Dialogue Sample

Thanks for joining this adventure!

Antigone Cloud is the name of the novel I'm now working on (it is related to my AR startup). I won't say anything more, as the text below should give a clue or two. Please keep in mind that the following is minimal; in the book, there are visual cues and other devices to provide more information. My thinking is that if the following basic dialogue can be understood, then the planned text additions will only make the scene easier to understand, and more pleasant to read.

PLEASE leave a comment or question, of any kind. THANK YOU

And, if you have any visual materials that are even remotely related to young adults, AR and/or Southeast Asia, I would be very happy to feature them on my blog and elsewhere. Drawings, 3D scans, 3D models.. anything. I would really love to see images of young people recorded with 3D volumetric cameras. I would, of course, credit and backlink, as well as share information about your image/software/company/artistic motivation.

Antigone meets Yves

Yves Arc: Hello... archild. (He emphasizes ‘child”, drawing it out, stretching his mouth into a terrible smile.)

Antigone Cloud: I’m...I’m...

Yves Arc: You're the blip that popped up on TPS last night, correct? 6:17PM. Your Source is on the 5th floor, room 521. In the Life Shelter, on a shelf above a bicycle.

Antigone Cloud: Your voice is like Sir Caboose! Are your Pparents from Cambridge? Do you have a bedder?

Yves Arc: Someone has the international pop culture app, now don’t they? Your Pparents would seem to have excellent taste. Yes, my voice was inspired by Sir Caboose.

And your voice? American? (Yves coughs).

Antigone Cloud: Yes. Sailor Jayne.

Yves Arc: ... oh. A pop star...

(Yves coughs again.)

Well, we can’t all have the voices of Liz and Dick, now can we?

Antigone Cloud: I am sorry; can you repeat that?

Yves Arc: Repeat it? Why? I enounced and pronounced perfectly. 57 decibels. The ambient noise is easily canceled out. Obviously you lack culture-related software. Richard Burton. Elizabeth Taylor. Dick and Liz! Superstars of stage and cinema. The most fabulous couple of the modern age. Nec plus ultra!

(Yves looks at her, sees his reflection in her glasses. Sighs.) I suppose I should simply state everything in Star Quest mode. Or would you prefer cartoon mode?

Antigone Cloud: Star Quest mode, please. (in a quiet voice). Thank you.

Yves Arc: What age you are supposed to be?

Antigone Cloud: Ten.

Yves Arc: Ten? Why, when I was a ten-year old, I was in charge of a factory with 34 air conditioners,18 surveillance cams, 9 quality control systems, 6 robots and an assembly line 28.9 meters long that constantly needed replacement parts from a mythical place in China! Plus, overseas clients. Six languages!

Antigone Cloud: I don’t believe you! You're just a boy!

Yves Arc:: First of all, in three days I will be upgraded to arman. Second, I have been carefully curated by...

Antigone Cloud: Curated!? You mean you’re made with a bunch of mixed up old software junk with a bunch of new programs that are buggy. Buggy buggy buggy! (Antigone sings the last two lines of a commercial.)

We are curates, tried and true,

Helpful curates and we love you!

Yves Arc: Please stop. It's tacky. (Antigone’s expression shows that she doesn’t understand.) The commercial... it takes advantage of lonely people who don’t have much money. It doesn’t care for them. It doesn’t care for arbots. (Yves watches the palm trees react to the wind).

Antigone Cloud: But it has achieved economic success.

Yves Arc: Yes, Commander, affirmative. A lot of us have been sold.

Antigone Cloud: 37% of all curates are removed from TPS within the first month.

Yves Arc: That statistic would seem to be true. (He looks worried.) I must reSource now. The increasing humidity is decreasing my strength.

Antigone Cloud: Me too. (She looks at Yves with apprehension) Your TPS is a fifth floor flat above Books Hontoni? In the Life Shelter, on a rattan chair with a broken seat?

Yves Arc: Affirmative, Commander, affirmative. (Yves sighs and walks away.) Why can’t Pparents ever respect privacy mode?

.........................................

Thanks for reading this far. Looking forward to your comments.