Thursday, March 31, 2005

I have just been reading dozens and hundreds of web design articles and the one cliche phrase that I just love is "browser wars." Everyone who has been doing webdesign for 10 years or more remembers the days of IE vs Netscape competing, where they would purposely have mutually exclusively design flukes and such and web designers were forced to basically design for Netscape or design for IE. How many of you have vague memories of splash screens to big websites where you just had to click "Netscape" or "IE" before entering? Funny funny.

Anyway, all these guys are now web design gurus, right, they are the grizzled vets in the field who lived through the Browser Wars, the Dotcom Revolution, etc etc etc, and they all talk like old soldiers. "Most Web designers simply build sites quickly, using all the tricks they learned during the terrible browser wars. Tables for layout, font tags, hundreds of embedded images, single pixel GIFs, and so on" it's so funny, it's like how Kissinger and Gorbechov talk about the cuban missile crisis, like oh my god I cant believe we got through it.

I like that the internet has a violent history, it sort of reminds you that it is indeed a human enterprise and that, like in human history, the worst atrocities are still waiting for us.

And it's great because I remember those days so I feel elite, like I am part of a veterans club. :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Albert Camus: THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS 288535

Albert Camus: THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS 288535

I owe this one to Mr Jones. She's a lookin' at you, oh no I don't think so she's lookin' at me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Well thats random

I like Kofi Annan. Just generally speaking he seems okay in my book. Kofi, man, you ever need anything, you just lemme know, pal. *knuckle crack*

Monday, March 28, 2005

Indefensible Standpoints

BBC NEWS | Business | Microsoft and EU reach agreement

I think if Microsoft wants to include Media Player with Windows, fuck yeah let 'em. It's a solid program but it cannot do everything. What people are worried about is that MS is stifling growth and that might be the case but I have this sort of quiet urge in the back of my mind for a completely unified system, with a single standard. This isn't for ease of use or user-friendly simplicity but rather for compatibility. I dunno, I like the idea that none of the computers in Star Trek seem to have brand names and captain kirk never has to browse for a Mac version of this or that. Maybe the government can step in and encourage cooperation between our industry giants and when some genius steps up with a plan to blow them out of the water somehow make it in their interest to work with him instead of trying to destroy him. Provide tax breaks for adhering to industry standards and bonuses for advancing standards, that sort of thing.

I of course hold equally strong belief in the opposite view. I like the idea of a technological world where information is free (though for fucks sake pay for your software people it doesnt write itself), I like the idea of competing standards and the whole adam smith greed is good blah blah blah, Free Market isnt fashionable but it has its good points. I like that you can start your own empire with a C++ compiler and unhealthy eating and sleeping habits. What say you? Do we want universal compliance and to do away with anti-trust by making it open and collaborative, did I spell that right? or do we want free market open competition where the winners are given the laurel wreath and the losers slink away resenting them?

What about taxes, too. Here's another indefensible opinion I gave serious consideration to after a brief discussion with Jon. Flat sales tax for individuals. Do away with income tax. What? you shriek, your bleeding heart beating hard. That will hurt the poor and help the greedy capitalists. Well, it would if it is implemented that way. With income tax you can do tax breaks and such and make people pay less if they dont have it but if you have a flat tax all those single mothers are paying 30% more for their diapers while saving 10% on their annual taxes. You are outraged. Well, says I, wouldn't it be a simple matter to apply tax breaks to sales tax? Jons take on this was, no, that would involve a lack of privacy, the government always goign into peoples bank accounts to figure out if they deserve it or whatnot...but...what about something like this: there is a 30% tax, and everyone has to pay it. That is the default. Depending on your circumstances, however, you are given the option to apply for vouchers or waivers or whatever. You would of course voluntarily have to open your books to uncle sam and whatnot, but rather than figuring out what kind of check you get back when why etc, you just get a little card type deal, or maybe have it on your Drivers License or rather the digitial national ID card that we should really have moved on to by now that contains driving and tax and residential and everything information with a thumb print scanner. Ne? So then you buy your diapers and you show your card and you get 30% knocked off or whatever.

Corporations have income tax of course, but it deals with the ever-itchy issue of income tax charged twice on corporate earnings, since corporations dont pay sales tax it encourages business expansion, it simplifies the tax issue, it does away with april 14 for fucks sake, and it creates a system where you are held accountable for what you spend. I dont advocate the implementation of such a system necessarily - off the top of my head, it seems like it would be bad for the economy where the MPS would increase like crazy in middle class and up while the lower class would spend more (make sense? sure) though the lower class spending more may provide a bigger burst for the economy than we imagine. Corporate income tax would of course be fucking HIGH, this would encourage them to take advantage of lack of sales tax and stimulate corporate growth. Interseting. This would be a blow against suburban sprawl, forcing business and lower class into a relationship they have never really had, right? Suddenly business needs to expand and suddenly poor people can spend more money, middle and upper class start sitting on their trust funds which are tax free and useless...hmm. What woudl that do? I am almost tempted to support the implementation of such a system just to, ya know, mix things up.

Any thoughts? No of course not you losers never comment.

Boston.com / News / Boston Globe / Ideas / The evolutionary revolutionary

Boston.com / News / Boston Globe / Ideas / The evolutionary revolutionary

Interesting.

spiked-health | Article | Our unhealthy obsession with sickness

spiked-health | Article | Our unhealthy obsession with sickness

What do you think?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Urban Archipelago

Urban Archipelago

This was a fun read. There are interesting thoughts beneath the venemous exterior, but frankly I am attracted to the venom as well.

Friday, March 25, 2005

MKaku.org | Theoretical Physicist Dr. Michio Kaku, science & technology

MKaku.org | Theoretical Physicist Dr. Michio Kaku, science & technology

This guy is pretty slick. I want his books.

I am on my new computer at work. I love all 2300 megahertz's. Whee.

obscure metaphors and arcane applications

So here I am again, sitting down, preparing to spew my conciousness forth into a little box on the screen of my computer. Readers, friends, I was hoping to tell you that I am writing this from my new computer - but alas! It is not to be! Not yet, anyway, they havent arrived yet. A box on both your cowses.

I would like to meet two people named Roman. Then, I could gather a group of all my friends together, as well as a few other Americans I am not necessarily friends with, and the two Romans, and I could make a speech starting with "Friends, Romans and Countrymen, lend me your ears..." Everyone would be holding two ears of corn. You see where I am going with this.

I am getting closer to writing a book. Every day I can feel it coming, and its almost here, and I am just gonna spit it into word so fast it doesnt have time to realize its been written before it gets me a nobel or a pulitzer or a free meal or something.

Tekken 5 next week. Paid next week. Coincidence? I think not! Now to make a friend or two who plays tekken so I'm not just playing against ze computer ze whole time. Jackie, I think I may be forced to teach you.

To the lighthouse is so good it makes me long to be back in my Finnegans Wake class. Modernism is A-Okay. I brought The Wake with me but frankly I can't read it without a group. And don't look at me like that, you can't either.

I fell madly in love with a girl I work with but she has a boyfriend so I fell back out. Shame.

Apparently they are going to have a welcome party for me on Wednesday after I give my little American Culture presentation thing. Sure, okay. I wonder if I can get them to do it at the arcade and throw 100en coins into the machine all night. Thatd be slick.

They have Magic Cards in Japan, I cant remember if I posted aboot it but I found a comic book/card store. Except no comic books, since those are like regular books in Japan. So it's more of a card store. A card/porn store, really. With Gundam Wing action figures and decks of porn cards. All the highschool boys in Niihama seem to hang out there and I have gone there twice and its always the same guy working he must own it and he just looks overjoyed and thrilled to have such a store and to have all the kids like him and to have all the magic cards he could ever want. I kinda like him. The second time I went was to introduce new kid joshka to the place as he is a magic kinda guy.

Japanese Magic Cards are in Japanese, but they also sell English. Nifty ne? And they play every friday from 530 to whenever. I dont wanna be snooty but I got better things to do. Like play tekken at the arcade across the street. Ha. I love being young.

So I am preparing my cultural exchange thing. I give a self-introduction, talk about sports I have done in a sufficiently self-depracating way (did I spell that right? self? ...) (ie how bad I was when I played baseball as a child and how I never caught anything, and how everyone laughed at me until the last game. Then, in the last inning of the last game, a big fly ball came my way. Naturally, I say, I closed my eyes and protected my face with my hands, unable to move from fear. Suddenly I hear cheering, and I look, and the ball is in my glove. Complete fluke. True story.), then ask them all to introduce themselves and talk about what sports they do and how old they are (so I can tell which of the girls that look here are in my range, cuz ya just cant tell by looking, though I am getting a bit better at it), then I talk about Spectator Sports vs Participatory Sports in America, and our big 5 (base foot soccer basket hockey) and how the only of those that anyone ever realyl DOES is basketball, and do you have sports like that in japan that everyone likes but nobody does, and why do you suppose that is?

Then I go on to talk about sports we all do. I start with how in school we get to do sports and I give the list of what you can do what season soccer crosscountry boysfootball girlscheerleading in fall winter basketball wrestling volleyball spring track baseball something else I cant remember etc. Then I say that if you go on a picnic or something with your friends you need a frisbee it is essential, and I talk about frisbee games like frisbee golf and ultimate, but I dont give explanations so that way they will ask me to explain and it will take more time, and I talk about how if there is a court like at a park there is always volleyball or basketball or badminton and finally how sunday morning in the park are all the people running or riding their bikes for fitness and in Japan what sports do people actually do and why and is it school or private and gender divide or no and all sorts of stuff like that.

THEN (I am assuming each of these question sessions takes maybe a few mins) I talk about motivations for sports and how the Americans or at least myself do sports because its fun and we like to relax and its very hobby-esque and if it is not fun then we dont do it it is not GENERALLY something that people commit to the way they seem to in Japan but that also some people are really about what they are doing and so our reasons for doing sports are 1) health 2) fun 3) social 4) to be like our fathers but not necessarily in that order. So from there, aww, shucks, you know the drill, why do you do sports in japan and you there what did you say you did right soccer and why and do you still and why and you there how old did you say you were oh really lets go out for drinks and why?

Good god grammar is meaningless to me, it's like a vestigial tale did I spell that right? Speeling is gonna go nekst. Soon my writing will e free of all cosntraints and you can call me james joyce and nod patronizingly and shelve me though I scream stop stop stop understand me and you keep nodding cuz I didnt say stop stop stop I said asfdjkl;gj and all you can do is nod and shelve me until you get bored with my presence because even though it is gibberish you feel like it is saying something you dont understand and so you take me from the shelf and try again and fail and then you throw me out because afterall if I am not even legible what is my purpose?. So then you shelve me and I am torn between feeling alive and dead clever and dumb and in the end nothing matters and should we laugh or cry about that? Then you feel kinda the same sort of thing but you dont really know what it is you are feeling and one day after drinking you try again to read me and start on page 73 but really its garbage and in a fit of rage you throw me out, and they we are broken up and it's sad but we are free and it's happy and what the fuck?

What is with the word should, anyway? Where does it get off telling me what to do?

I am in a good mood.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

like, radicals, man. all 214 of 'em.

反面教師 【はんめんきょうし】 a bad example from which one can learn

Hey yall its me again I have been updating like a fiend lately ne. Nobody comments though so I suspect I have lost my fan base. Drat, so much for the book deal.

I was reading some other blog and they had a list of kanji people would want for tattoo purposes and the coolest was 魑魅魍魎 (chimimouryou) just cuz it is so damn busy looking. The meaning is, evil spirits of the mountain, forest and river. I could have four kids and give them each one of the kanji on their head and then teach them crazy martial arts based on whatever kanji they got and then they could team up and it would be like any number of chinese kung fu movies. Asia is weird but ya gotta love it.

So what is new in your lives? I beg of you, post comments, tell me about yourselves. Do I have any secret readers that I dont know? That's mysterious. What about anyone reading that I do know? I am actually interested in you, ya know.

I will say that it has been interesting who I have kept in touch with/who has kept in touch with me. Dan I excuse you on general grounds of madness. Romel though, tsk, if you read this I would get mad at you in here but alas you can't even be bothered, I'm sure. Tubby.

I wonder if any of the people here other than Jackie ever peruse this? Oh and Jackie says I don't make her lovable enough in my blog and that I have to describe her in more glowing terms. But frankly, I think she gets quite a good deal in here and I don't really know what she is complaining about. I dunno that I would read through this sludge myself except that I find myself terribly interesting in a way that you couldn't really imagine. Shocked and apalled you would be all, were you to feel the depths of my narcissism, the scope of my solipsism. Madness and death.

So I have been makin flashcards out of kanji radicals today, I want to just learn them all already. It would really help me to memorize kanji if I knew every radical, and there are only like 200 and change. Then instead of telling myself "Okay, squiggly line and the thing from winter, squiggly line and the thing from winter" to remember I would use the meanings, so like "motion" and "descend" and that sort of thing. Much easier, ne?

I also stumbled upon a pretty slick site for japanese resources, including a nifty new dictionary that I downloaded that is prettier that JWPCE which I use now but which may indeed not be as practical, scary as that sounds. I suppose that would only sound scary if you know that JWPCE is tremendously impractical for E -> J conversion.

CSS Zen Garden is one of the cooler sites I've stumbled upon in my recent cybermeanderings. It illustrates the benefits of standards-compliance and efficient design in an impactful, effective way. Check it out. I think maybe in another life I will be a design student.

Interesting I just stumbled upon something called word press that promises to make my blog more powerful. Apparently I shall be as a god, all I have to do is eat this wordpress apple. Pat, is this what you use? Is it worth dabbling with? Mm, looks like something I can't be playing with until I get my own domain. And that day is coming, I think. I want a web presence.

Wow, and I say that I get a call from Fujita-san upstairs telling me that I will have a new top of the line PC with a 17inch liquid crystal monitor here for me tomorrow and please back up whatever needs to be backed up.

...

Okay, sure. Sounds like a plan. Please understand that I have been slaving away on an ancient box with a monitor that digs daggers into my eyes as I use it. I am happy. :-D

I love internet communities. That cyberspace can act as real space blows my mind every time I think about it, even now. That you can get together and be free. I also like that while it lacks boundaries we face in the physical world it has its own set of boundaries. So it is not transcendent, it is like a parallel universe. I think maybe with my new computer will begin a golden age of internet use at work. I will be able to get a new copy of Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop, etc - all the things where my license expired. That will give me a month, I will have to be careful with the timing. I will pick a month with no other projects on the horizon and I will design a website so astounding that the gods quiver.

Alison tells me I speak in exagerated absolutes, but that is beyond the slightest shadow of a doubt the most preposterous thing I have heard in my twenty-two years and change.

Comment on this I want your thoughts.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I am really getting heavy into the first third eye blind disk.

Dan you're gonna have to do better than that for an update. I hear tell you have become Superdan, Mega Dan if you will, and yet your online presence is smaller than ever. Tsk tsk tsk.

Stumbled upon a page containing all of the writings of H.P. Lovecraft yesterday, so I read "The Call of Cthulu" and I FINALLY feel qualified to read web comics. I tremendously appreciate the reputation Cthulu in geek culture. He is a being of incomprehensible malice, a demon sealed away to await an apocolypse far more terrible than any foretold in even the darkest of human religions, and in geek culture he has been reduced to a plush toy. Apparently there are slippers you can get. Magnificant. Tickle-me-cthulu.

I kinda liked the lovecraft I read but I will be honest, I expected it be a little...I dunno, better? The first story I read was kinda hokey. Cthulu was better, but I dunno, some of the word choice was hackneyed, some of it just a tad too racist/white mans burden to read comfortably. I do like the notion that these demons came from beyond the stars and are operating on some sort of a cosmic time table, and it is all natural, and they will awaken when humanity has reached their level of englightenment and freedom and has tossed away morality and restraint. Then and only then shall Cthulu and his fellow beasts rise up, and they will teach humanity new dances and unheard of delights. It's terrifying and yet so liberating. So I think that it is brilliant to make your unimaginable evil just omnipotent self-indulgence, especially if its aim with relation to humanity is to share those qualities for the purpose of greater delight for all involved. Monstrous and great. Tickle-me-cthulu.

Gonna watch Code 46 tonight. Something about sci fi, probably phillip k dick involved. I wanna read phillip k dick.

Apparently Alison has been having odd dreams. Snicker.

Am now reading To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. I could never do woolf before, Mrs Dalloway has defeated me soundly at every attempt to scale her walls. Lighthouse doesnt seem different and yet it is, completely. It is so smart and so cleverly constructed and I feel brilliant because I pick out subtle elements that I know I wouldn't have been able to find by myslef, say, a year ago. So it is progress, in reading this book and liking it I am lining my education against the wall and marking its height with a pencil.

I also just finished (finally) Hells Angels by Hunter S. Thompson. It was really great, just a joy to read the whole time. The ending was good too, I think I like Thompson and will read more of him. That may induce me to take drugs in scarcely imaginable quantities but frankly I could use a phase like that in my life.

On my list of things I want to read and devour (and if you send me any of this I will love you forever): America the Book by Jon Stewart, Bruce Lee: Artist of Life by John Little, the Calvin and Hobbes canon, and a good book about meditation.

In terms of things going on OUTSIDE my head, let me see. It has been shite weather, raining the past few days. Watched half of Knights Tale the other day, which I really liked but had to turn it off cuz something came up and then we returned it. But to rewind, thursday was I believe Amadeus and two bottles of wine at Jackie's. Went (hungover) to an overnight friday night seminar thing where we talked about the seminar in kyoto in two weeks and then went out drinking and eating (all you can eat all you can drink at asahi beer garden. recommend.) Saturday got home, went (uber hungover) to Matsuyama with Jackie for a party at Kei's. Got to the party. Half heartedly talked to a few girls, the pretty one had a boyfriend, had a few drinks, went to sleep in front of a speaker before the DJ's even wrapped up. Woke up (reeeally hungover, with a speakerbuzz headache) the next morning, had cold refried beans from a can, felt the world spin, assumed it was hangover but was actually the earthquake off kyushu I guess (?), went home. Umm. That night met Joshka the new neighbor of jackie and alex who is sadly not into video games and is who is walking away from the tech game for a while. Sat around a while with him, he left, watched Monsters Ball which was good, then watched About Schmidt which frankly offended me. Did not drink. Crashed at Jackie's. Monday showed Joshka about town, went home and ended up back at Jackie's with Alison and a few movies and we ate dinner and crashed there and then tuesday was work and I worked and then went home even though I forgot my pillow at jackie's because frankly I forgot what my apartment looked like. So today am at work for another 50 mins then (surprise surprise) dinner and movie at jackies then I have to return movie at tsutaya by my house so I go home and then tomorrow is work and friday is work and weekend is beach BBQ if the weather likes us. Cannot wait to get back into beach bbq season.

I have like 9000 yen until 4/1 which is 90 dollars which should be okay but I owe 30 dollars to karate so I have been ducking the teacher but thats bad so Ill just take care of it tomorrow and use my emergency do not use under any circumstances money in the bank at the states which I have already touched twice but have about a hundred bucks left woooo.

Who is coming to visit me? Karen? Zach? Sarah? Dan? Turner? Pateras? I am demanding all of you to come. Seriously for like 700 bucks you could hop a round trip to osaka and a hotel room (or we stay at Pats, hey buddy) and we bum around kansai for a day or two. You can eat raw horse, drink good sake and knock up a fillipino sex worker in a snack bar. It'd be a good time.

I am learning so much Japanese lately it makes my head spin. I am on the verge of being advanced but my vocab blows which blows.

Oh and come on no need to flame my posts with comments, please? My fragile self-esteem is balancing on a razor's edge, you are going to send me spiraling into painful oblivion. Or just kinda irritate me, if you dont wanna read my blog please dont read it.

Anyway 45 minutes left of work, gah. Am preparing for my cultural exchange thing next week. It wont be as bad as I was afraid it would be, I am writing everything I will say out in advance, preparing tons of questions for everyone, etc. The theme is sports, so we will talk about popular sports to do in america vs japan, pop sports to watch, the reason people do sports, the attitudes behind sports (interesting note: according to my teacher, in Japan kids are handled very strictly when it comes to sports. The idea is, "What the fuck do you mean you cant?!?" and so the kids try really hard in order to not anger or disappoint their coaches and parents; in America, on the other hand, the general attitude is one of "Good job!" and so kids try hard in order to get praised even more.)(Also, the sort of silent "Do" attached to every sport - not so silent in traditional Japanese stuff (kendo, judo, kyudo, etc) "do" 道 means way or path or road, so its a much more goal oriented process, whereas in the states its much more fun oriented. Again, I am generalizing), then I will teach them some english (body parts!)(arms and legs, people, minds out of the gutter), then we will play a game of some sort with the body parts.(!) Simon says or something similar. It's an hour and a half but I can give a 10 minute self introduction (witty and charming, as it must necessarily be), talk for 5 minutes about the goals of these cultural exchange nights, spend 40 minutes addressing various aspects of the theme (sports: 10mins whats popular, 10mins why do it, 10mins what have you done, etc), then the rest of the time with english and game. No problem at all, though I do wish theyd tell me if its going to be like 10 people or 60.

After this, then, I have to prepare a speech about ukrainian history for the niihama guide club. Half an hour. Last time I did something like this I sort of danced around for 45 minutes relating vague anecdotes about the Cossacks and Poles and Russians and Turks, though I left out much of the venerable zeal such stories contained when I heard them in my youth from various nationalistic ukrainian old people. And of course the jewish conspiracies behind it all, the japanese just wouldnt understand the subtlties involved. (this is me rolling my eyes at the silly games of the old world) Anyway this time I would like to prepare better and maybe tell some folk stories. The part of me that is ukrainian still wont play right with the rest of me, I need to sort out my relationship with my heritage. I think if I could I would shed it like dead skin, but sadly that's easier said than done. And dont get me wrong I dont find it worthless, I just...I dunno, I identify myself as world citizen and so the treasures of ukrainian heritage wouldnt be any less mine were I to shed any sort of ukrainian identity I have in favor of a more world-embracing less jew-and-russian-hating viewpoint.

Except of course those treasures of ukrainian heritage which involve spitting in the face of overwhelming odds, of refusing to play the role assigned by the world etc. That sort of Romantic notion of course appeals to me very strongly, but it goes hand in hand with nationalism and bigotry and I am philosophically opposed. But it's cool. In the end its all just religion and fucked up education. I'd like to see a world where the outcasts are the ones trying to impose anything to begin with, because world citizens are so secure in their situation that tyrany is laughable. Then maybe I would favor nationalism, when nation could be defined as nothing more than a club of malcontents, friends all, intent on turning a perfect world on its side out of ennui. Tyrrany would be open opposition to freedom in the name of inequality, which of course it is now but somehow has the opposite reputation depending on the color of the flag.

I think I might be a bad person. I tend to hold others in contempt, my natural inclination is to dislike most people. I have been giving this much thought. I can act real nice and cordial to everyone but then I am being fake, putting on a show to seem like I am not really bad. But of course bad I am, bad am I, and in that case I am not only bad but dishonest, so isnt that worse? So maybe there isnt just a single bipolar spectrum between good person and bad person, it crosses with the one for true person or false person. And then our final rating is "okay" or "not okay." Generally I act rude and selfish because fuck you, so that makes me bad and honest, so that means I am okay. Were I bad and dishonest, I would be not okay. This is like the Ayako thing, I could have kept dating her but it would have been a sham and I would have felt dishonest and it drives me nuts. Were I a good human being I would have just been happy, right, and this isnt just an ayako thing of course but a good human being is content and at peace with his surroundings, not filled with hate, so were I a good human being it wouldnt have been dishonest to stay with her, but since I am a bad human being the only way I can keep my "ok" status was to leave her. Actually now that I think about it there is no reason to overlap the good/bad with real/false, I am only talking about real/false. I like people who are real even if they are bad, but do I like people who are false under any circumstances? Maybe. Must think through. And anyway its all just about who I wanna hang with anyway, so universal ethical structures can suck my moped. Which I dont have. Anyway this is why I can hang out with Chris Guile who is kinda bad just as easily as I can hang out with Brian Turner who may be Christ Come Again.

But I recognize that most people even among my friends are just putting on shows out of fear. I used to think people were afraid of each other but am starting to think that the reason for the mask or facade is fear of self.

I know this sounds all very holden caulfield and of course we all wear masks for situations, but a group of rebels in a perfect world would shed their masks from each other at the very least so that they could work in honest unison to do a bad thing knowingly. And I respect that in a sense.

Madness?

Are you still following me?

Hello?

If you have come this far congratulations, here is a cigar ====. I dont actually know how to make an ascii cigar. I wonder how long this particular rant is. I wish I wrote more things I liked a lot, that way I could publish this as a sort of gonzo blogging. Blogs are the natural forum actually for gonzo arent they? They are all about being in the middle of the shit. Blogs and embedded reporters should all take a look at Hunter.

So what is this I hear about some woman with a feeding tube and crazy parents? I hear tell it is on all the news and reasonable people the country over are kind of amazed that it is a big deal. Well, duh. America has become fundamentalist.

I want to establish RIGHT HERE and RIGHT NOW: if I am EVER in a persistant vegitative state where my mind is jelly and there is no hope of recovery, for gods sake slit my wrists, dont keep me alive at tremendous expense for whatever half-baked warm tingly feeling it gives you to see my moronically grinning mug. Unless all I am to you is a body, and my physical presence hooked up to gleaming metal instruments is really all you want from me, well, I guess I cannot stop you. But that is terribly disrespectful, I would hate to think I was being kept alive just so you could look at my face. Talk about objectification. But if you care about me, respect my wishes and waste me. No pulling no feeding tubes, either, just shoot me. And if anyone objects I want them buried with me.

Ha, actually, see if you can mummify me, that would be cool. Then maybe get my favorite professors and servant girls together and send 'em into the pyramid with me along with one reactionary conservative for every complaint.

I also like this "little eichmans" professor, but that's probably just because I am a flaming liberal and understand his point. Freedom of speech is fading fast. But, you ask, what if some professor started blaming the jews or something? Wouldnt I want him fired? Nah. I would just want him to debate openly on the subject matter with evidence for his claims. All this professor has done was draw a comparison between two examples of oppression, in my opinion, and the veracity of his claim can be tested with careful examination. To my understanding he is not making vague claims or citing mysterious texts or protecting sources. If you are upset by him then show his claim to be untenable. Even then dont fire him, either he will relent or he will be forced to acknowledge his claim to be irrational. Right?

Ah but if you find his claim to be distasteful regardless of its veracity, well, thats another matter. But that's kinda personal, no? Maybe challenge him to a duel but I dont know that he could reasonably lost his job over it.

Though America and its inhabitants surprise me every day. They have the highest standard of living in the world bar none and yet this? Surely Americans are looked up to as paragons of how to live by people everywhere (granted, not necessarily as paragons of how to conduct foreign policy) because we all need the sense of justice in the world, but wow, can you imagine the disillusionment of nepalese peasants to learn that they are more in touch with reasonable living than the people who voted bush in? or bush himself? Good stuff.

Anyway I can never tell if it is bad when I get heavily into my own opinions in my blog. On the one hand it is my blog and thus my prerogative (did I spell that right?) but on the other hand it is probably irritating to read, unless you find me interesting in which case we should go out for coffee.

But yeah, comment, tell me what you like and dont like about my blog. I am not promising to cater to my readers, but I am curious. I would appreciate the feedback.

Monday, March 21, 2005

So you should all go rent Amadeus

It's really good.

Here is the first draft of my second-quarter report, hot off the presses, just written, I haven't so much as glanced over it so forgive any glaring errors in typing or judgment.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mykola Bilokonsky
Ichimiya Group Intern Report
Winter Quarter

General
The past few months have been magnificent. January turned out to be rather slow in the beginning, as the whole company was just coming back from winter break and everyone was too busy to deal much with the intern. As a result, I had a lot of downtime which I spent studying Japanese and writing reports and frankly trying desperately to spend in some meaningful way. By contrast, the latter half of the month was quite busy – I spent a day at Ichimiya Kosan, went to Toyo Kibou no Ie with Yasui-senmu, and went with Nakamoto-san to city hall where I received a tour of Niihama with introductions to various facilities like the school cafeteria food center, the garbage processing center and Hirose Park. The result was that in my last week or so before transferring to Nissen Kagaku I was so busy I didn’t have time to breathe, and my report and “News I” came out about a week late despite my plans to have it all over and done with before leaving Kaihatsu Group.
But, in February, leave Kaihatsu Group I did. I began work at Nissen Kagaku with a few distinct projects and a strong sense of purpose, elements that had been hard to find during my time at Kaihatsu Group because of the constantly fluctuating schedule. My tasks, to be specific, are as follows.
1. Nissen Website. The current homepage of Nissen Kagaku was designed in 2000 by a previous intern. It has not been updated since, and neither the content nor the design has aged gracefully. My task here has several parts. First I updated old information on the current page, and then I translated it into English. The third step in the process is to create an entirely new page, a task I am greatly looking forward to.
2. Cultural Exchange. In March, May and July I will host American-Japanese Cultural Exchange Events. In truth the very notion scares me, simply because the idea is so vague. Basically I will meet with anyone interested for about an hour and a half after work once every other month, and we will talk about some theme in culture (this month we will speak about Sports). There is to be some element of English-language instruction, but nothing too difficult. This is an exchange by definition and not a lecture or a lesson from me, and therein can be found the source of my nervousness because I am not sure to what degree I can count on the attendees to interact with me. One thing I have learned from my very occasional attempts to teach English while here is that if someone is too embarrassed to answer a question there is no stigma against sitting in silence with eyes on the ground until the questioner moves on, so I am having a terrifying vision of a room full of employees who don’t really want to be there and aren’t really sure what to do and how to interact with me and so sit in silence as we stare at each other awkwardly. I am preparing as best I can and will be sure to include a description of how things went in my next report.
3. Internship Website. To date, there is no place to get information about this internship. For the sake of future students interested in coming to study at Ichimiya, I want to consolidate various information and create an internet headquarters for this program. The creation of this site is contingent on how quickly I can finish the Nissen site.
4. Miscellaneous. I serve in my capacity as English Speaking Japanese Student, so I have typed up a few documents in English and help translate letters and that sort of thing.

Also in January, I took a trip to Naoshima with a few friends who have a more artistic bent. Naoshima is an island off the coast of Takamatsu with a strong artistic presence – there is a museum designed by Tadao Ando, various galleries, some interestingly decorated shrines and a few buildings in the city designed as works of art in themselves. My favorite involved an enormous structure which was entirely hollow and pitch black – I don’t know that I have ever been in such complete unrelenting darkness. Mounted in the far corner was a light so faint as to be almost invisible, and I guess the idea was that the unearthly dimness of the light made you feel as though you were seeing things. It was creepy and exciting.

February
As far as work goes, February was spent brushing up on HTML, learning CSS and other web-design skills, and typing up a 50 page document for Jinno Buchou. When I was younger, web design was a hobby of mine and so I am not entirely clueless about how to put a website together – but I haven’t done it in 10 years and the few weeks I spent brushing up proved invaluable. Basically every day I would start from scratch and create a website, each time a little more complicated than the time before. I’d learn a new technique just about every day (for instance, suckerfish drop-menus or java-enabled popup-windows) and by the next day would be able to write the whole thing in using hard code and start from there. I am confident in my ability to provide Nissen with a professional page by the time I am done here, something more akin to the current Ichimiya Transportation page than what they now.
The 50 page document was a long set of bylaws and contracts for use at London Industries – dress codes and patent registration and computer rules and so on. Apparently there was no computerized version, as all the files were hard-copy only. So I took a week and entered 10 pages a day. When I was done I was asked to translate the lot of it into Japanese, but after some consideration I had to tell Jinno Bucho that it was simply too difficult for me. My Japanese is improving by leaps and bounds, but to translate 50 pages of tightly-written American legal jargon into readable Japanese is a task that would take me all day every day from now until the time I left Nissen, and even then I would be bothering my boss every other word.
As a sort of alternative, I am copy-and-pasting it line by line into Babelfish, the online automatic translator, and creating a document that way, which I will then pass on to Jinno Bucho for editing. I have my doubts as to the efficacy of this procedure as such internet translations are notorious for spewing out gibberish, but it is as per his request and I have no problem complying. It beats me pouring over it and tearing my hair out in frustration.
On a more personal note, February saw me taking a second trip to Honshu. I took a weekend with my girlfriend at the time to Kyoto, where I did a lot of sight-seeing and eating of delicious food. We did all the main sites, Nijojo and Kiyomizudera and Kinkakuji and the like, but I have a confession to make. For all of my interest in Japanese history, my favorite site in Kyoto was the train station. Never in my life have I seen a building so magnificent, at-odds though it may be with Kyoto’s old-world reputation. The enormous outdoor staircase spanning ten floors to the top of the building, the panoramic view of the city, the restaurants – it was all incredibly impressive.
We also spent some time in Osaka during the trip and I shudder to confess that frankly I think I like Osaka more than I like Kyoto. What such an opinion is worth after only two days in each city is certainly up for debate, but the atmosphere in Osaka feels much more vibrant to me.
Having gone to Osaka for New Years, Naoshima in January and then Kyoto in February, I felt financial constrictions tightening. By the end of January I had torn through the money I put away in October when the Guide Club had paid me rather generously to proofread some literature. It is very generous of Ichimiya Group to not only provide airfare and a place to stay for interns, but also a monthly stipend. 100,000 is certainly enough to get by in Niihama, and with careful use is enough to either go out every weekend or go on a trip every month, but on that income any sort of extended travel becomes very difficult, which is unfortunate. I would imagine that most interns come because they are interested in Japan as a whole – so spending all but the occasional weekend in Niihama and environs can be quite frankly stifling at times. I would recommend, then, that future interns save a few hundred dollars so that they can take 3 or 4 days in Honshu now and again without worrying about making ends meet. In my opinion it is a good idea to see the stipend as “Niihama money”, and anything earned on the side as fit for spending on travel and the like.
Also in February I got really sick. I am not sure what caused it, but for four days I could barely leave my futon. Eating was more or less beyond me as I couldn’t keep anything in my stomach, and I had a fever dancing around 40 degrees. A few days of rest and two trips to the hospital finally set things right, but the I.V. I had to get was agonizing – I have a needle thing.

March
And that brings us to March. Work has gotten a bit busier as several of my projects have begun to demand attention at once. Japanese study has gotten more intensive as I have moved on to yet another book. My teacher tells me that as far as grammar and speaking/listening are concerned I am far beyond other people at my level but that when it comes to vocabulary I am pathetic. For this I simultaneously thank and blame the JSL program, which does an excellent job instilling grammar but which, admittedly, works with relatively small vocabulary.
As a sort of stopgap, I began in January to memorize four words (noun, verb, adjective, adverb/misc.) and a yojijukugo every day. I have compiled quite a list now, and while I can’t quite claim to remember all of them I can certainly say that my vocabulary has increased tremendously.
Another project that has come to the forefront is preparation for the New Employee Induction Ceremony in Kyoto on April 1st. I have been asked to prepare an English lesson, and so I have put together something about parts of the body and related expressions (te = hand, te wo kashite = give me a hand, etc). Still, the idea of standing in front of 70 new employees and trying to get them to participate for any extended period leaves me feeling somewhat nervous.
A sort of practice-run through of the various presentations was held at an overnight seminar on Friday, March 18th. When my turn came I opened up my Power Point presentation and was irritated to find that the timing on my slides was completely wrong – instead of things coming in point by point so that I could discuss each item individually, everything came on screen in large jumbles and my presentation became more of an explanation of how my presentation was going to go. It was terribly embarrassing and I am sure I looked like I had failed to prepare properly; everyone smiled and applauded when I was finished but it upset me. I don’t understand why it changed all of the settings, it might have had something to do with the fact that I was running it on a different computer – but nobody else seemed to have that problem. So that is something else I have to iron out. I did enjoy the tabe- and nomihodai at the Asahi beer factory afterwards. Tanaka-kyokuchou and I set the pace with beer and the food was delicious. I do enjoy the work-hard play-hard ethic that seems to run through the Japanese business world.
Also, the first of my aforementioned Cultural Exchange Nights is looming on the ever-approaching horizon. As I am talking about sports, the body-part English lesson is a good fit, but that leaves me with about an hour to somehow make interesting. I am worried but am not entirely unprepared. I’m planning on discussing what sports are most popular in America (both to watch and to do) and to ask about Japan; to give a history of my personal involvement in Athletics, things I have liked and things I haven’t liked, etc, and hopefully from there start a discussion about who does what sports and yeah let’s get together for a game of Frisbee some time; I want to do a bit about how to cheer in America as opposed to Japan – “Yeah! Come on! Go go go!” etc. I realize, though, that as embarrassed as I will be shouting at an imaginary athletic competition in front of 20-50 tired salarymen it will be very difficult to get anyone to show me just how people cheer in Japan. The whole thing feels like it might be a mistake, so I still have to work on it. I don’t think it will be bad but it has been the largest source of stress I have had hanging over me.
I finished the translation of the current Nissen site into English. Fukushima-san and myself presented it to management, and basically put it up page by page so that they could compare with the original site. The result was unfortunate – management seemed to realize for the first time that the current web page is 5 years out of date, so the plan now is for me to completely update the current page, and then translate the update, and THEN create a new page. To me it doesn’t make a lot of sense to fix the old page when the plan is to replace it so soon, especially when it will take a month to get the relevant information and updated photographs together. I am wondering if maybe they don’t have a lot of confidence in my ability to replace it.
Finally, I am still working with the London Industry documents, feeding them into babelfish a little every day. It sounds simple but the formatting means I have to go about one line at a time and then make sure it doesn’t screw everything up when I paste it, so it is slow going.
In short, I have been very busy with a handful of specific challenges to work out. I greatly enjoy this element of my internship – at Kaihatsu Group I had long periods of time when I simply didn’t know what I should be doing, and on the whole prefer to be in a situation when I have 5 tasks arrayed in front of me – especially since they are all incredibly challenging and are all very frustrating to some degree. It makes me feel like I am using my time to grow, and while right now I find myself stressing about this or that I know that when I am finished with all of this I will be relieved and feel a sense of accomplishment.
My personal life, my “Japan Experience,” has been slow in March. As mentioned before my money situation is tight, and travel has been more or less out of the question; I had a girlfriend in Saijo, but we broke up this month; I have spent a lot of time just biking or walking around Niihama, now that the weather is nicer. Also, I have given up on Kendo. After stumbling around trying half-heartedly to find some way to make it work, I have decided that my time could be better spent in other pursuits. Specifically, pursuits that didn’t involve a lack of armor and an awkward practice schedule. So, for the time being, I have joined a Karate class with a friend of mine out here. I’ve been doing it for a little over a month now, attending twice a week, and I greatly enjoy it so far. I regret the kendo situation, and various coworkers enjoy teasing me about it once in a while as I made the mistake upon my arrival to talk about how I did kendo at university and how I want to do it here. I consider that my only real failure here, but at this point there’s nothing I can do about it. The karate allows me my fix of violence and screaming and I enjoy having a friend to do it with, so March has been relaxing, steady and peaceful – a welcome change from the hectic pace of the last few months.

Conclusion
So that’s where I stand at the moment. I have several projects arrayed before me, a work environment that I greatly enjoy (I forgot to mention above how much I like my co-workers at Nissen. They are great!), a lifestyle I am settling into, and the recently emerged promise of warm sunny days ahead. A Japanese friend of mine (my conversation partner the summer prior to this trip) will be returning to Japan for a bit in the near future and we are planning a trip out to Matsuyama and Dogo Onsen, which I have not yet visited. The warm weather means that weekend-long beach barbeques are on the horizon. My web-design skills improve every day, and there is some talk of a fact-finding mission across Japan to the various factories and offices so that I can get photographs and updated information for the website, which would be great.
In short, I am having a great time out here, but not the sort of great time I feel guilty for having. It is a lot of work and a lot of play, the whole experience right now is like the seminar followed by the enkai at the Asahi beer plant. In the end I am left with vague feelings of frustration at the challenges in front of me, vague feelings of anticipation for as-yet-unknown warm-weather fun to be had, and a general sense of appreciation for being here.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nifty, ne? And all true.

I eat like a pig and it has never bothered me but maybe I shouldn't let me get fat. I am okay sexy now though. It's just always funny when I eat with the girls because I just have so much it is almost obscene, but at least its usually more or less healthy. Though that cake I bought last night was maybe a bit much.

Which one of you fucks was it recommended About Schmidt to me? That was...so bad. I am not even going to talk about that contrived chunk of rubbish, there was almost nothing in it worth seeing. How do you make a movie like that and then convince the world it is somehow stimulating? Every joke was fucking ordered from Acme Generic Jokes, Inc. Every plot twist was inevitable, and all the gimmicks? The 2 minutes floundering in a water bed? The "oh-look-its-funny-cuz-he-has-a-kink-in-his-neck-and-cant-keep-his-head-straight?" Followed by its sister, then "oh-look-he-took-too-much-medication-and-now-its-like-hes-high" coupled with their bastard lovechild "hes-at-a-formal-ocassion-acting-like-an-ass". The naked old lady? I mean its like American Pie for old retards. And if you dare tell me I just didnt understand it I will come back and hit you. Jack Nicholson is dead to me.

Okay, now I have Japanese Homework to do. Sigh.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Ichiro's Hamstring

I want to write a blog update. Things are going okay. Today at work I am preparing an English lesson for three separate occasions within the next two weeks, they are going to be keeping me busy. I was going to talk about sports and kinda whittled it down to talking about body parts and their definitions in English. My “big plan,” as it were, is to put up a picture of Ichiro Suzuki the baseball player (who is worshipped as a sort of deity over here) and I have arrows pointing to arms and neck and feet and whatnot and we are going to go over definitions.

As an added bonus, I am throwing in some cultural information which may or may not help them to remember. For instance, when I teach them “Neck” I will also teach them “Pain in the Neck” so that they associate the two. You would be surprised how many Japanese expressions mirror our own – puffed out chest and nose in the air for pride, rosy cheeks for the glow of youth, double chin, give me a hand – they even have “Benkei’s Shin” which is basically Achilles Heel. So hopefully this will prove effective and my boss won’t beat me.

Karate is ever more fun though I did not go yesterday as having just broken up with Ayako I decided to embrace my sadness by scrounging around for auto-destructive things to do while avoiding things that could be construed as good for me. I was going to eat at McDonald’s and drink a lot, but then Jackie fed me a nice healthy meal and I had a glass of wine while watching The Graduate. Not quite as detrimental to my well-being as I had hoped, but oh well. I have got my first kata DOWN, tho, so if you attack me with a large group in a specific order I will put you down. Just do it slowly. And start from my left.

Apparently Karen from Jamaica starts this week, possibly yesterday. I kinda don’t like her, she is loud rude and abrasive, and moreso to anyone trying to be kind to her. That personality just doesn’t fit in Japan, she makes a complete ass of herself everywhere she goes and you are never sure if you want her to keep being rude to the Japanese or turn on you, which is just as irritating. Either way her company is unpleasant, I can’t wait to hear her complain about sitting in seizan during meditation before practice, or to see her “teach” the sensei how punches SHOULD work. On the plus side I may get to hit her repeatedly eventually, so it may all pay off.

Firefox continues to impress the hell out of me, it is breathing yet more life into the internet. I wonder should I make a stink about getting net access at my pad. The year is wrapping up, half over already, but now no ayako means more time sitting around at home, although now that the weather is getting better it means more time out doing stuff, so yeah, I probably don’t need it but it would be nice.

I had just written a message in here to Ayako, because I know she will be reading this, but I deleted it cuz that’s kinda lame. I will say though that there is nobody on this planet that cannot teach you something and anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong. But it really does depend on our willingness to learn.

Genki Sudo, the fighter Jon introduced me to, wrote a piece about how the world is our mirror, and the way we try to see the world is how we see it. Don’t laugh because you are happy, he writes, become happy by laughing. It’s so simple but I dunno. Sometimes it is easier to be sad? But I am not, I am feeling very okay right now. I do hate, though, when my blog takes a turn for 16-year-old-emokid emotional ranting.

But why is that, do I hate my emotions? No, I feel them and they are okay. It’s control issues perhaps. I’ve always been emotional even/especially when I try not to be, but trying anything regarding emotions is silly, isn’t it? I guess you really do just have to do what you feel like doing.

I also hate feeling self-conscious when I write. I get that though when I talk about emotions which is why I throw out some sort of self-disparaging comment about how I am acting like a child every time I so much as think about using the word “feel” in here. That’s silly, I do feel. Interesting. Life is too short to worry/think about, maybe feeling is the best way to go. I guess what’s wrong about being ashamed about feelings is that it doesn’t make any sense – I really don’t think that the distinction between reason and emotion is as sharp or meaningful as traditional western thing says it is. You simply are. That would be like saying it’s okay to acknowledge thoughts but not physical sensations – ha, and come to think of it, they say that too. But it’s total package, isn’t it?

God if you want me to fight some element of myself, I guess I could, but I don’t reeeeeally see a reason to. I could fight an army with my teeth tied behind my tongue if it made a difference. I kinda just wanted to use a weird expression, I am not necessarily making any sense here. Unless it means something to you in which case, sure, I meant that.

I think “kinda” will be a word within 15 years, in all the major dictionaries. What was the other one? Oh, right, the other day I was talking to someone who kept mistyping “each other” as “eachother” but I found it strangely appropriate. I would like that to be a compound word, but it won’t.

So there is this new guy Joshka from Utah arriving in Niihama to replace pat next week. At first we were all like “Josh…ka? Utah? Pat what have you done you got us a Mormon!!!!” but as it turns out he is not. We did some background checking on the internet about him, tho, (Josh if you end up reading this don’t take it personal ;)) and he seems like he’s okay. From what little I can find, anyway. Looks to be into Magic Cards at least, from the Wizards of the Coast page we found him on, and he is a certified tech geek which is greeeeeat. If he isn’t already into Tekken I will convert him (as I suspect he will be the most easily converted of the people I socialize with out here) and we shall make glorious Tekken together until august. Jackie and Alison are going to be shocked and appalled when they realize the depths of nerdom I am capable of. I am excited, I think I am going to like this guy.

Of course he could be a total wanker. We poured all of our worry into “What if hes mormon!?!?” and stressed about that so when we found out he wasn’t we all kinda breathed a sigh of relief and decided he was awesome but ya know, maybe not. He has a beard, I think it’s a good sign Jackie thinks no. Either way he is moving into Jackie and Alex’s building so we’ll be seeing him.

Alright I been typing this for a few mins now so I should probably go back to labeling pieces of Ichiro’s body. Can anybody think of a common saying about triceps?

Ichiro's Hamstring

I want to write a blog update. Things are going okay. Today at work I am preparing an English lesson for three separate occasions within the next two weeks, they are going to be keeping me busy. I was going to talk about sports and kinda whittled it down to talking about body parts and their definitions in English. My “big plan,” as it were, is to put up a picture of Ichiro Suzuki the baseball player (who is worshipped as a sort of deity over here) and I have arrows pointing to arms and neck and feet and whatnot and we are going to go over definitions.

As an added bonus, I am throwing in some cultural information which may or may not help them to remember. For instance, when I teach them “Neck” I will also teach them “Pain in the Neck” so that they associate the two. You would be surprised how many Japanese expressions mirror our own – puffed out chest and nose in the air for pride, rosy cheeks for the glow of youth, double chin, give me a hand – they even have “Benkei’s Shin” which is basically Achilles Heel. So hopefully this will prove effective and my boss won’t beat me.

Karate is ever more fun though I did not go yesterday as having just broken up with Ayako I decided to embrace my sadness by scrounging around for auto-destructive things to do while avoiding things that could be construed as good for me. I was going to eat at McDonald’s and drink a lot, but then Jackie fed me a nice healthy meal and I had a glass of wine while watching The Graduate. Not quite as detrimental to my well-being as I had hoped, but oh well. I have got my first kata DOWN, tho, so if you attack me with a large group in a specific order I will put you down. Just do it slowly. And start from my left.

Apparently Karen from Jamaica starts this week, possibly yesterday. I kinda don’t like her, she is loud rude and abrasive, and moreso to anyone trying to be kind to her. That personality just doesn’t fit in Japan, she makes a complete ass of herself everywhere she goes and you are never sure if you want her to keep being rude to the Japanese or turn on you, which is just as irritating. Either way her company is unpleasant, I can’t wait to hear her complain about sitting in seizan during meditation before practice, or to see her “teach” the sensei how punches SHOULD work. On the plus side I may get to hit her repeatedly eventually, so it may all pay off.

Firefox continues to impress the hell out of me, it is breathing yet more life into the internet. I wonder should I make a stink about getting net access at my pad. The year is wrapping up, half over already, but now no ayako means more time sitting around at home, although now that the weather is getting better it means more time out doing stuff, so yeah, I probably don’t need it but it would be nice.

I had just written a message in here to Ayako, because I know she will be reading this, but I deleted it cuz that’s kinda lame. I will say though that there is nobody on this planet that cannot teach you something and anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong. But it really does depend on our willingness to learn.

Genki Sudo, the fighter Jon introduced me to, wrote a piece about how the world is our mirror, and the way we try to see the world is how we see it. Don’t laugh because you are happy, he writes, become happy by laughing. It’s so simple but I dunno. Sometimes it is easier to be sad? But I am not, I am feeling very okay right now. I do hate, though, when my blog takes a turn for 16-year-old-emokid emotional ranting.

But why is that, do I hate my emotions? No, I feel them and they are okay. It’s control issues perhaps. I’ve always been emotional even/especially when I try not to be, but trying anything regarding emotions is silly, isn’t it? I guess you really do just have to do what you feel like doing.

I also hate feeling self-conscious when I write. I get that though when I talk about emotions which is why I throw out some sort of self-disparaging comment about how I am acting like a child every time I so much as think about using the word “feel” in here. That’s silly, I do feel. Interesting. Life is too short to worry/think about, maybe feeling is the best way to go. I guess what’s wrong about being ashamed about feelings is that it doesn’t make any sense – I really don’t think that the distinction between reason and emotion is as sharp or meaningful as traditional western thing says it is. You simply are. That would be like saying it’s okay to acknowledge thoughts but not physical sensations – ha, and come to think of it, they say that too. But it’s total package, isn’t it?

God if you want me to fight some element of myself, I guess I could, but I don’t reeeeeally see a reason to. I could fight an army with my teeth tied behind my tongue if it made a difference. I kinda just wanted to use a weird expression, I am not necessarily making any sense here. Unless it means something to you in which case, sure, I meant that.

I think “kinda” will be a word within 15 years, in all the major dictionaries. What was the other one? Oh, right, the other day I was talking to someone who kept mistyping “each other” as “eachother” but I found it strangely appropriate. I would like that to be a compound word, but it won’t.

So there is this new guy Joshka from Utah arriving in Niihama to replace pat next week. At first we were all like “Josh…ka? Utah? Pat what have you done you got us a Mormon!!!!” but as it turns out he is not. We did some background checking on the internet about him, tho, (Josh if you end up reading this don’t take it personal ;)) and he seems like he’s okay. From what little I can find, anyway. Looks to be into Magic Cards at least, from the Wizards of the Coast page we found him on, and he is a certified tech geek which is greeeeeat. If he isn’t already into Tekken I will convert him (as I suspect he will be the most easily converted of the people I socialize with out here) and we shall make glorious Tekken together until august. Jackie and Alison are going to be shocked and appalled when they realize the depths of nerdom I am capable of. I am excited, I think I am going to like this guy.

Of course he could be a total wanker. We poured all of our worry into “What if hes mormon!?!?” and stressed about that so when we found out he wasn’t we all kinda breathed a sigh of relief and decided he was awesome but ya know, maybe not. He has a beard, I think it’s a good sign Jackie thinks no. Either way he is moving into Jackie and Alex’s building so we’ll be seeing him.

Alright I been typing this for a few mins now so I should probably go back to labeling pieces of Ichiro’s body. Can anybody think of a common saying about triceps?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Yeah so me and ayako broke up. Really sad but really inevitable. I wish I could just complain about her but realistically she was great, I think I just have a really hard time being happy and I am not sure why. I sure don’t like it.

In other news I learned a few more kanji expressions which I will share with you all:

色即是空 – shikisokuzekuu – apparently this is one of yoshimitsu’s lines in t5 dan. It is from the lotus sutra, and it basically means that “All is vanity,” the “real world” is an illusion, nothing is real. It’s probably the Japanese for what J says at the end of CB, though I have to go watch ep26 to be sure.

生者必滅 - shoujahitsumetsu. This means that all living things die. Boy, I hate to be predictable, but the old Japanese must have just loved this stuff as much as I do. I do love the doom and gloomy and theatrical despair, though I don’t like actually being unhappy. I am pretty sure the two are almost unrelated.

悲歌慷慨 - hikakougai. Indignant lamentation over the evils in the world.

針小棒大 - shinshouboudai. Small needle big pole, ie, turning a molehill into a mountain.

主客転倒 - shukakutentou. The host and the guest are reversed (like in a bar). It means that priorities are backwards, things are fucked up, relative importance is skewed. A college student who spends all his time working and not enough time studying.

面従腹背 ― menjuufukuhai. Face forward stomach back. IE, loyalty on one’s face but betrayal in one’s heart.

明鏡止水 - meikyoushisui. Polished mirror still water. Serenity.

一期一会 - ichigoichie. Once in a lifetime, but I guess the usage is more like, every time you meet with someone, every time you do something, treat it like it matters because it could be the last time or somesuch. Just act like everything you do it is your only chance to do it. I like this one a lot.

泣き面に鉢 - nakitsura ni hachi. This isn’t a yojijukugo, it is just an expression, but how can you say no to “Bees to a crying face”? It’s like salt in wounds, when it rains it pours etc.

半死半生 - hanshihanshou. Half dead half alive. Self-explanatory.

酒池肉林 - shuchinikurin. Fountain of booze, forest of flesh. Debauchery, extravagance.


So on a less (more?) serious note, I had never been able to beat tekken force before (and this part I suppose is relevant only to those who know what I am talking about). I would occasionally make it to stage 3 but never farther, though I suppose I never really sat down to get the damn job done. After Ayako left last night I was so angry with myself that I decided to take it out on Heihachi and his cronies and I just played through the whole damn thing on one life, fueled by rage and auto-destructive impulses. Nobody could touch me. It almost scared me, like I wasn’t even the one doing it, steve just did his thing, he was pissed off. I felt so powerful.

It’s of course not about the stupid game, it’s the clarity of purpose and essentially intuitive problem solving. It happened to be tekken but I probably would have beat the shit out of say Karen from Jamaica or had some breakthrough in my Japanese or built a website designed and powered by fury had that been the situation.

And the source of that energy was the detachment, I didn’t give a shit what I was doing I just wanted to break things. I am glad I was in my apartment and sober and not at a party with a bunch of people that irritated me. And I’m glad I got it out of my system before I left, I went to Pats to eat with him and alex and Jackie later that night and was just kinda sad and no longer furious.

I don’t understand why simple happiness is so complicated. I could delight ayako for a week with a smile. How crummy of me to leave her instead. But I guess I have to try to keep looking. I dunno. No matter what or who I find its never enough, so the problem is inside, but fuck if I know. This is why I didn’t date for most of college. I think I might just become a slag like Todd and ravage the Japanese countryside in desperation and fury. Fuck ‘em all.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Orwell: Politics and the English Language

Orwell: Politics and the English Language: "# Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
# Never us a long word where a short one will do.
# If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
# Never use the passive where you can use the active.
# Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
# Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous."

If only his essay wasn't so damn dry and hard to read. Still, maybe I will use these. It makes writing harder. Blah.

Also, an essay I read about successul writing for the web stresses that we should add links graciously, especially in editorial or personal sites. For that reason, I am gonna throw out a link to Dan's blog, a list apart (my new favorite website) , and, uh, Basil's journal which he hasn't updated in forever.

Please view these sites, they help me to grow daily.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Look what I found!

I just...didn't expect it so soon. Where to now?

Man, use firefox, it is more awesome by the day. There are some really great extensions available.

a baffled king

websmart nerdy type guys - is it cool to use SWF in a business page, or is it still not 100% integrated so theres the chance that when my boss's boss shows the page to the client it won't be able to load? 96% or something? what do you think, should I shy away from Flash to be safe?

Went out drinking with Ayako's dad and brother last night, that was cool. They took me to a few snack bars in Saijo where the girls all flirted with me. You'd think it would be awkward to flirted at in the presence of your girlfriend's father and brother but youd be wrong, it was a good night.

Pitched my website to the management this morning, along with my boss Fukashima-san, who I like. They were like "We have a web page?" No not quite, but what happened was, we were showing them my english version to get permission to put it up so I can get it behind me. But to make the english version make sense they had to have the Japanese version too. So for two hours they basically tore apart the Japanese site and pointed out all the dated information and whatnot. This is a site they have had for 5 years. It's going to take me at least two weeks to make all the changes they want and translate them and basically get to where I thought I was at this morning. Probably closer to a month as they make me fix more and more detailed stuff.

It's not a big deal, but here's the thing. The page is completely terrible, and I am going to make a new one just as soon as I can stop working on the old one. They are going to cost me one of the 5 months I have left here by making me fix the current page before I scrap it and make an entirely new, pretty page. It's a little like taking your car in to the shop to fix a scratch you've had for 20 years a week before you get a new car, and then getting the new car a month late cuz paying for the scratch repairs set you back too much to get the new car when you thought you would. Then you get the new car, finally, and you destroy the old one. It's just kind of silly, Fukushima-san seemed a bit irritated as well. Really it's their fault that they've had this page for 5 years and nobody has looked at it. On the plus side, upper management likes my ideas for rennovating the site, they thought some of the demo stuff I showed them was very clever. Clever like, replacing words and tiny pictures with giant pictures and less text for browsing and the like. And click the part of the car where the carpart is installed and it pops up. That sort of thing.

If I use flash I can rock their goofy little socks off. Even if I can't I can crap out a page thats prettier than this one, and this one is fucking complexly made, he has like 10 pages of code for one ugly webpage, its so silly.

So anyway yeah thats what Im up to. I look forward to having the current page behind me and getting my ass in gear on the new one, which will be magnificant.

Oh, another question for the nerdy types, Pat and Matt take note. Using CSS I know I can alter the style on all my pages by editing one file, but is there anything comparable for content? Like, if my menus are the same on every page, can I somehow create that externally and then import it into the page? So if my boss is like "Yeah thats pretty but I want this word and not that one on that menu" I dont have to crawl through 30 pages to do it?

that is all.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I cant get this song out of my head

"Well I've heard there was a secret(sacred?) chord
That David played, and it pleased the lord -
But you don't really care for music, do ya?

And it goes like this, the fourth, the fifth,
The minor fall, and the major lift (what a line) -
A baffled king composing hallelujah..."

What words. The minor fall and the major lift? Talk about salvation in music. A baffled king composing hallelujah? Beautiful.

But I digress, I always get very annoyed when people talk about their music in their blogs, so I apologize for the indulgence.

I watched Mulholland Drive last night. Now, I have heard that it was terrible, that it was gibberish, that it was mental masturbation and not worth watching. That may be true, but I enjoyed the hell out of it. It was one of the more creative films I've seen in a while, and while certainly I am not up to the task of unifying the whole thing into a coherent single stream I certainly noticed several themes that were deftly explored (I like that word deftly, so rarely get to use it). My favorite was that, at least for a while, it was about characters when their movie gets cancelled, their story abandoned. They flounder around and disappear. Very vonnegut in a sense, but darker, broodier.

But frankly the lesbian sex was highly overrated.

My Japanese is getting better. I feel a more complete human being. I am not sure if I want to come back to Japan to teach, at least if I want to right away. I think maybe I want to do something in the states first, maybe grad school? Maybe law school? Maybe tekken with Dan until we attain sattori?

Thats all for now got me some japanese to study.

Monday, March 07, 2005

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/xcbucket/

Sunday, March 06, 2005

leonard cohen

Am finding poetry in motion and music. The latter isn't so much an accomplishment, but a joy nonetheless. The former may be a result of the latter but is more likely the result of a week-long depression I am crawling out of.

This line is good:

"You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word,
It doesn't matter which you heard -
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah"

What is an example of an action taken out of neither fear nor desire? I will vaguely imply that I will send you a box of pocky if you convince me.

I am now reading a heartbreaking work of staggering genius. It might be okay. I miss James Joyce dearly, though, and will probably delve deeply into at least 2 pages of Finnegans Wake before the month is out.

I have decided that my favorite word out of Joyce is, to date, "unbewised" as used in "in the buginning was the woid, in the muddle was the soundance, and thereinofter we are in the unbewised again, vund vulsy volsy." or something to that effect. Unbewitched, un-made-wise, a place to be returned to, Eden before the fall, union, unity. An end to match the beginning, a point of departure and point of return, the Ithaca of our human odyssey. The unbewised is where we all feel home.

So I sold all of my video games but tekken 4 and the first two metal gears cuz they are effectively worthless, and I bought Final Fantasy X2 - International + Last Mission. International = mostly english. X2 = Yuna's concert. Yuna's Concert = slick.

May buy a gamecube, they kinda cheap here (75ish). Then I can get mario cart and aya will be happy.

"I saw your flag on the victory arch,
But love is not a victory march -
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah."

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I've not updated in a while. gomen.

Not a whole lot to say maybe?

Work is providing me with less fodder for my ravenous wit, which can only live on righteous indignation. I have been really loving the hell out of my job, and I pour over Dreamweaver and Flash MX2004 and Photoshop all day every day. Hell I would do it on the weekends if I had internet at my apartment. This is absolutely fantastic. I can make flash animations now! How cool is that? I have yet to make a really pretty one but I threw together something simple as a title page for the nissen website where you just choose english or japanese. I will put it up at www.ichimiya.co.jp/nissen/new/nissen-choose.htm Once you learn the basic shit like this it becomes a matter of getting nice photographs and refined looking buttons, right, so this is 90% of the work. The thing I love most about web design is that people who are good at it like to talk about it, and have a forum at their disposal which is a direct result of their abilities. As a consequence, the web is filled with tutorials and explanations of even the most obscure features of the most unused codes or techiniques. It is magnificant, you can pay thousands of dollars to learn web design or you can take a week with a computer and the internet and a few gigs of pirated software and you can put together something good.

Aesthetics of course will get you every time, if you are me. I really just have a hard time creating the actual graphics, but I think there might be someone here who will do that for me, tho I dont understand exactly. But even that will come if I take a week and learn photoshop inside out before it expires. If you know enough in the way of techinque you can almost replace the need for creativity, right? It's all embedded in the software...

Matt, Zach, how is the housing situation looking?

Kendo, how are you guys doing?

Jon, Dan, how is tekken 5 treating you?

Mom, sorry I forgot your birthday.

Kate, I was gonna email you and decided to write a brief blog instead.

Brian, congratulations on winning 100 bucks for being smart. Come to OSU.

Pat, all set for Osaka? When can I swipe those chairs from ya?

I don't know who actually reads this.

I went to Imabari with Aya this past weekend and bought a little 8-ball pillow that feels really comfortable, much like Alison's star pillows but bigger and it's an 8 ball. And I cleaned the hell out of my apartment. Okay not really but I pushed all the junk to the walls and found my vacuum cleaner. And did laundry.

Yeah, I guess these are the slow days. Osaka and Kyoto are so cool that I get back to Niihama and don't have much to say. I guess I could join various friends in lamenting the passing of the college era, but it doesn't ring true for me. You guys are all about to take off and rule the world, and I have another year. For what it is worth, I will miss you all tremendously - this last year of school for me when I get back is going to feel so hollow. I guess nothing for it but to live for the moment and enjoy the time as such. I am not trying to diss the few friends I will have remaining at OSU, I value you guys just as much, but it is going to be such a different scene.

I have kept this blog up for like 7 months now. Is that cool or what? How many hundreds of pages must I have typed into here? Madness and vanity. Every year I look at "Me up to this point" and violently reject everything that had come before, embracing the future. The result is that I always feel out of touch with who I was and who I will be, I am sort of a maelstrom of autodestructive tendencies that exists perpetually in the present. Maybe that will change once I finally sort my shit out, but it leaves me wondering if I am just going to despise this blog the way I despise my old live journal? As the unwelcome footprint-in-the-cement of a trespasser who used my body for a while?

I am kind of a really sad guy. I am no longer depressed like I was when I was 18-20, but I don't see a happy future like I did when I was 00-18. I just kind of see me doing whatever it is I happen to be doing unitl I die. And that's what we all do. I am turning this into yet another episode of Myk wears his heart on his sleeve and undergoes depressive psueudo-insight that belonged in 7th grade. Fuck that. I don't know. I don't care. I kinda just wanna sleep. Or work on web pages.

Momentum is everything for me. I want it to be nothing. I profess to like to change on a whim but I never change, I just keep going on the same basic line with my moods the only fluctuation. I don't like change, I like stasis and stagnation. I admire change for its difference from me. But I am rotting like most of you.

I want to be able to stop on a dime and go the other way and not care. Now how to bring that about. I need a pirate (air)ship and a crew of loyal mates. Or a stiff drink.

Don't mind the depressive tone I have other issues floating around right now that I don't want to write about but that are dragging me down. I would go back and delete the whining but I dont feel like checking where the website euphoria stopped and the bitching began so you get the whole dose. Bon apetit.

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