Friday, December 05, 2008

language interference

As I mentioned a few blogs back, I have been trying to learn Mandarin Chinese at work, just for fun. I haven't made much progress, and doubt I ever really will in the short term. It's more a way to keep my brain active and adaptive. I also find it fascinating to watch my mind tackle another language from near the start of the whole process. I find all sorts of other previous languages interfering and even in some cases helping out. It's a bit of a patch-work quilt at times, a word here and a random guess there. A few weeks ago English popped up and interfered in a major way. But I wasn't aware of this until a few minutes ago, and when I found that out I decided to write a little blog here expressing my stupidity. The teacher was about 30, friendly, a vibrant woman. She was asking me questions, but I was slow, still waking up mentally. "Something something something family?" she says in Chinese seeming to slam at me a mile a minute. I dig in my mind for a memorized Mandarin phrase and throw it back at her in a ear-crunching English-Accent, "Sorry what was that?" She smiles, writes down the phrase with Chinese characters. This helps a bit. Just a bit. I make the mental connection as she says it again, "Who is in your family?" I think too long, and try to flip to a page in my notebook that covers the knowledge gap. Drats. Nothing. What do I know? I start out slow, "Mother..." she smiles and says OK so I continue, "...father..." she encourages me enough that older sister pops into my head at that moment (not at this one) and I enthusiastically shout out "...older sister..." and then I falter... younger brother, younger brother, younger brother, dang it. It's not coming to me. Suddenly like a warrior on a brilliant horse the word brother marches into my brain. But wait, I tell myself, I need younger brother--- not just brother. I improvise. I literally belt out what I think is, "Little brother." (I actually pulled the correct word from my mind but over compensated by adding little to it, and even after reviewing my notes it didn't seem like such a big deal, but...) The teachers eyes get big, and she starts laughing hard. I think I realize that she must imagine my brother being 4 inches tall and running around like a garden gnome so I decide to make it better. With my fingers I try to save my improvised Chinese, I show her the size of my 4 inch brother garden gnome and say, "Not this." This doesn't work. She busts out in more fits of giggles. I knew she was a bubbly sort of teacher but this was unexpected. I try to move it forward with my improvise explanation and say, "I have TWO little brothers." She is snorting a bit through her nose now and she says, "No no no no, not LITTLE brother. Younger brother, younger brother, younger brother." Hmm. I don't get it, but move on to trying to discuss my younger sister. I got it today. I was clicking around on a language learning site, and naturally my eyes fell onto the slang section. I clicked it open and immediately my eyes fell onto my constructed word. If you say little younger brother instead of younger brother it literally means wee wee. dick. cock. that guy. Uh huh. I even went so far as to say I had two.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Moving towards yet another year, almost a decade into this new millennium already? Wow.

I must say I was saddened by the news that US shoppers stampeded through a shop so wildly that they led to the death of a worker, because they stepped all over him. Bloody capitalism. It's times like this that I wonder about the system.

I feel like receding into my memories. This time lets follow me back to the start of 2006, when I was living in Hong Kong.

If you look at the big version (click) you can find the 7/11

I am sitting on my tile floor, looking at the steep hill outside my window. I hear cars and people beyond. I am sipping on some vitasoy lemon tea (my favorite). I woke up sometime ago, but not sure when. If I have no work my days tend to blend into awake and not awake times. I go out of my room. Past the old security guard who is listening to old Japanese pop music on the radio. The security door snaps shut behind me. A wave of pleasant city business hits me. The mixed spice of Hong Kong city life wafts into my nose. I walk down towards the station, walking past the giant frogs in the market waiting to be served as dinner. Maybe I'll get a cheap Hong Kong movie on VCD and watch it, in the last month I have watched over 50 or so. I change my mind. I step into the 7/11 convenience store. I find my favorite melty cheese tuna sandwich, and some more vitasoy lemon tea. Luckily here in Hong Kong the microwaves are self service so there is little conversation with the clerks besides the one way announcement of price. (Unlike in Japan where foreigners must know how to request or answer a question about the heating of purchased items.) But today has been slow, and the clerk throws a wrench in to the turbine and asks me a perky question in Cantonese. I look at her. From her smile, and tone I gather it's simply a conversational question. I scan backwards mentally and grasp the only word I can get with my broken Cantonese. I nod. She said something something something good? And so I reply with a half smile, "Good." She doesn't seem upset or confused by this answer so I turn around and microwave my stuff before heading off up a slanted sidewalk leading to a park and a swing set. The weather is great, wind blowing in my hair, and it's perfect for a small ride on some swings while eating a kickass sandwhich--- and drinking vitasoy lemon tea of course.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

the future

As many of you might have noticed, I try to avoid political, too personal, and things about work on my blog. But just like last time when work bubbled into the core of what it meant to be me, I will post some thoughts. I am really really happy for America today. While in American college I had endless debates with classmates about what was wrong with American politics. I argued quite simply that politicians are supposed to represent America, but how can it be equal representation when most all politicians are rich old white men? Being a good politician of course transcends personal race and what not, but the fact of the matter is 99% of all presidents were protestant, and until now 100% affiliated themselves as Caucasian-Americans. Diversity, in all things, is strength. I see Obama as the example of a true American, his diverse family background and his strong political savvy make him a near perfect president for a twenty first century America. And on a final more controversial note, McCain and others claimed that Obama was out to "spread the wealth around" which was twisting one sentence Obama said in order to try to spread fear. But I never understood why that was a smear? What's wrong with spreading the wealth around a little bit? If the rich had a little less and the poor had a little more, wouldn't that make a better America and a better world? In any case, I look forward to seeing how this presidential term unfolds.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

stolen words

The other day, I met an Australian friend of mine for some beers with him and his girlfriend. We were talking about this, that, and everything when suddenly he got quite livid about the fact that Japanese people don't borrow the English word for platypus. I pointed out that elephant and rhinoceros are among many other Japanese animal words that have endemic names. I thought he was getting up in arms about how a lot of other words are borrowed phonetically (computer becomes "konpyuta" and smile becomes "sumairu" and so and so forth) but he clarified that he was more annoyed that the word wasn't borrowed as it exists in English because there was no way for a platypus to be local in Japan. That they were local to Australia, and that it made no sense to have a "native" Japanese word. I argued that in Japanese it must just be a translation of the Latin (which I was wrong, apparently platypus means "flat footed" in Latin, I need to brush up on my Latin. Literally it means something akin to "duck's bill" in Japanese which I guess is actually a translation of the nickname "duckbill platypus") but none the less I don't think I really got how frustrated this made him feel. Flashfoward to the next day, focus on my Chinese class. (Yes, I'm taking Mandarin at work. Employee discount, and it's fun!) The teacher shows me a picture of a lady standing in front of the statue of liberty. He asks me (in Chinese of course) "Where is she from?" and I smile, knowing I can ring this one, and answer "She is from America." The teacher (a temperamental old bald man) nods, I've quieted his tamper for the time being. I have answered this question, and he wont get mad at me yet. (He tends to get upset when I answer incorrectly, something that puzzles me as a student. I'm learning, take it easy on me!) He asks, "Where is she from in America?" and I smile, confidence leaking into my grin. "New York." I say in what I assume is a Chinese accent for the place, I get close enough to receive another nod. (Something like "niu yue".) Then he throws me a curve ball, he asks me "Where is she from in New York?" I panic. Whaaaat. I try to throw on a direction word I am learning, "North New York?" He glares, not the faintest hint of a nod. I smile. Still no nod. That doesn't work. I try a Chinese pronunciation for "Queens". It doesn't work. But he decides to cut me some slack, he says, "Queens? ahhh, huang hou qu?" (Keep in mind, qu should be read CHU here.) And I have the "wow, that's what my Ozzy friend ment!" moment. I got it. It felt so weird to have a name that wasn't phonetically borrowed when talking about a borough of New York. Shouldn't it just be a borrowed word? How can there be an endemic word for Queens? It's maybe a translation, instead of a stolen phonetic copy like I was expecting. Thoughts shot through my head. If I didn't misunderstand, that meant something beautiful. There are a million sounds to describe anything. What we tag to things are only the sounds we have been assigned to associate with those things through our connection with our own language frames. There is an infinite way to perceive things. Cool!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


i'm sitting in my ibaraki room, thats decorated like a glorified hotel. which is what it is, i guess. outside i can hear the chirp of crickets and the distant drone of a car at the edge of my ability to hear it. it's quite different than the constant roar of cars flowing past my tokyo house. recently i found out that my boss wants me back in tokyo. it will be great to finally come back to tokyo, enjoy life and sleep on my own futon again. but after being out here for awhile, i feel a little blue about leaving. life is full of cycles, the ending of this extended moment leads to the next. tomorrow is my last day in ibaraki. i ate cheese tonight, hoping that'd give me weird dreams that will inspire me tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

photos at midnight

So not really much to say besides announce about twenty-six new photos of my summer vacations. I didn't have a lot of money to go faraway this summer, but I did manage to make it up to Sendai and down to Wakayama. For those of you who might be less entertained by static images, the high-energy videos of my Wakayama and Sendai forays are alive, and kicking. Maybe a trip report someday, but with this he sleeps.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

brave new world

OK. I am sitting here totally in awe and a little scared of google. I never thought it was a big deal before. But it feels different when it hits so close to home. For awhile they have had a "street view" option in their software that lets you get panoramic photo-realistic views of American streets. Some people were saying it was creepy, and I thought they were over reacting. And I still do. But. Yeah. But. I just found out google launched this function in Japan. And that I can sit here on my computer and get a 360 panoramic view of my neighborhood with photo realism. Heck, I even recognize some of my neighbors walking around near my house and... and I can even see the Ethiopian flag hanging in my own fricking window. (Why do I have that flag? Long story for a different day.) In any case, it's a bit weird. But from a more positive side of things, I started thinking how this has the potential to pull us all together as humans. If you can roll on down the streets in any country of the world, the "mystery" of our differences will began to evaporate and maybe we'll begin to see eachother as just people no matter where we live. It's pretty amazing actually, in a way that I think I'm not able to express in words at the moment.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


I always think I have seen most of Japanese culture and then I always get a glimpse from another point of view. Tonight I met my cute friend (lets call her Ms.I) and she was with another friend who was the stereotype of cute (hanging cleavage, long legs, all that, lets call her Ms.H) I went to a kind of stylish bar with the two of them in Imotesando. The conversation (in Japanese of course) was rapid and right down my alley, fun, bubbly conversation. We decided to have a "bar hopping" night, but by the time we left the first stylish bar the cash in my wallet was almost burned up. So I told them to go to the next bar (they pointed it out) and I would run to the ATM and be back in no time. When I got back, Ms. H was in the restroom and my friend Ms.I was talking with two old (late 60s) businessmen. They see me and one of them says, "Whos this fine young man?" and my friend says, "Yeah, he is a fine young man, he's a friend from college." and I am puzzled so I say "Do you guys know each other?" And the vocal old man laughs with a little bit of rust in his voice and says, "well, we are becoming to know each other right now." Ms. H comes back and after a brief exchange about how hot her legs are, the two old men leave. I am thinking 'dang! what creepy old men!' when Ms. I my friend says "yeah, I met some old guys like that last year, and just because we let them talk to us girls they bought all our drinks, it was so cool." Ms.H laughs and turns to me and advises me, "Be sure to turn into an old guy like that, ok?" The conversation twirls in the warm summer evening and the memory of those two old men begins to fade. But suddenly the vocal old man is back, this time with two young college boys. The old man says, "I know this nice wine bar near here, do you guys wanna go?" and I somehow expect them to react with shock, but instead they are smiling and laughing and agreeing whole-heartily. We move over to the wine bar, where he buys us a lot of wine. The conversation hovers on me for awhile, in an odd way, trying to figure out how much I could communicate I guess. The college boy next to me asks me if we have olives in america too, and I almost thought he was joking until I saw his ernest face. The old man says to me, "You speak this language quite well, so I suppose you know the word pervert?" Ms. H laughs and says "Already with that?" But I ignore the fact that he must be talking about himself and just say frankly, "There are a lot of perverts in Japan, so I am sure I know that word!" but he doesn't seem to be offended, he just laughs. "I am a pervert." he proclaims loudly and the girls smile and laugh. The conversation twirls into the evening air, my friend and her friend talking about how they have always wanted to eat dinner up in a skyscraper but couldnt afford it and other such hints. He pulls out his name card and recommends Ms.I and MS.H email him, with which they say they will for sure. Suddenly we all become aware of final train times, and it's a flurry of feet as we run towards the station. I run towards my train platform, opposite my friend's platform, shout a goodnight as I hop into my train and I am whisked away into another evening leading to the next day.

Friday, July 25, 2008

bad poetic lines

a dark broken sidewalk leading to my countryside bed. humid night hung low, whispers of a midnight wind. a clear ding of a small tin bell, i step aside, and a bike with a silent rider glides past in the darkness, the single dim headlight glowing like a firefly

Friday, June 20, 2008


walking to the station to ride one stop to work. the walk from the new place I'm staying at (yeah, my boss moved me again) to the station is about 50 minutes. that gives me plenty of time to think so i am walking and typing something on my cellphone.

i am thinking about...

if a friend comes over to our house we let him or her use our spoon or chopsticks but of course never our toothbrush. why? they both go in our mouth, after all. i asked some high level students, and one student had the very clever answer that we wash our spoons and chopsticks with soap but we dont do that with our toothbrushes. very good point. but then i started to wonder, why dont we wash our tooth brushes with soap? dont we want clean tooth brushes? culture is fascinating.

also wondering why i just bought an energy drink when i'm not sleepy. well, that answer is easy. the cycle of caffeine addiction has begun just like last time i lived in japan. its hard to pass on something that brightens up your day. supplements replacing the natural. hmm...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

two houses

Welcome to my second appartment. Like I've said before, i dont like to talk about work unless it bubbles over into my real life... and this case, works kind of effecting my life again. I got transfered to a different district of Japan. It's too far and I didnt want to move out here so my boss is providing (in otherwords, I dont pay) a place in the same area as work. After work I'll sleep there, my days off: back to Tokyo. Its kinda like a hotel. It already has a fridge, bed, sofa, and stuff. Its total countryside so its a lot bigger than my tokyo place. Regretfully its about 30 minutes walk from the station. That sucks. But fun to officially live in two places.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Just a quick post to say nothing more than I finally got around to uploading about 61 new pictures to my photo album (in the album, click "next" on the upper right to see more). For Some reason the photo album service mixed up the chronological order they were in... but thats kind of like my memories of these events (stretches over the last few months) all kind of jumbled... so enjoy as it is, wander through some of my memories. (and of course I never stop updating my cellphone album, thats why I have unlimited bandwidth on my phone. So that I can update it a million times a day. Dont forget to check that out if you like pictures since I get about 1 hit per picture, not sure why I bother to update it, mostly for my memories I suppose. Was this another ad for it or what?!)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

rain & music

Standing here outside listening to an old Japanese punk band on my mp3 player as it drizzles.
"I wanna be as beautiful as a rat,
you cant understand the beautey in a photo"
I guess something is lost in my translation to English.
Next song starts,
"I wanna sing the never ending song for this F'd up world."
Love this song. That one kinda works in translation too. Its still raining and I'm still standing here waiting for my late friend. A life continues, one moment after the last, a cascade of seconds.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


I dont like earthquakes. Its not that I hate them, its just the uncertainty of whether or not the floor will give way or the ceiling will cave in that bugs me. We just had a fairly large one and then a few minutes after that a huge one. At first the official world record keeping website listed it as a 7.1 but they have now officially downgraded it to a 6.8. None the less it was a shaky one. My bookcase was wobbling like it was drunk, my TV threatening to dive down into the pool of my undulating floor. I remember thinking "wow, if a earthquake totally smashes my new iMac, that would be really ironic since I just got it" Yeah, I know, a rather odd materialistic thought.

In other news, my friend (on the left in the above picture) Suah came to visit me here with her cheerful friend Soyoung. It was really fun to show some Korean friends around Tokyo again. I didn't really clean up my house enough to have two female guests though, it was a bit too cluttered, so they forced me to clean up more. I plan to upload some pictures of their trip and many other things soon. For now those who want media should continue to feed off my live cellphone junk.

And a final word about how to listen to me talk for literal hours about random stuff. Me and my friend Nicky have recently started up an audio blog, although it might become a video blog in the future. It's basically a variety show. We have a topic each weak, and we review media and talk tech, but basically just letting you listen in on a conversation between two old friends. If you are interested, check us out at Pizza Bento!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


You can never recapture a moment but you can create other similar moments. Or thats what I'm hoping. I have been wanting to get back into making movies since, well, since the day I stopped. I used equipment in college to make some independent filmy things, and I found it fit me perfectly. I must be visual because it litterally feels good making a script or concept and seeing that become something. In anycase, we used Apple Macs at school and in my attempt to recapture that which is not recapturable, I splurged on a nice iMac from America. It should be here in about a week (as a side note: the apple store in Japan, Ginza, was really not helpful. I wouldnt recommend going in to talk face to face with those silly weirdos.) What I find funny is how culty the Apple brand is. Those of my friends with macs are "welcoming" me as if I was born again or as if I found the path to nirvana. Most of my friends with out macs are shocked at my purchase as if I had commited some deep sin against
society. Its really quite silly. A computer is simply a tool to express our hearts. But I guess humans too often get their identities mixed up with their tools.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I dont like to feel like a capitalist pig, so I try not to want money too much. When the company I was working for went under last winter I lost over 3 months of pay. I tried not to worry about it too much, even when I was down to about one rice triangle a day. It's not like that anymore. I'm back to eating four times a day. And yesterday I was stressing a bit about expensive bills, when suddenly I noticed that the Japanese government had given me 80% of my lost wages. Its as if I was forced to save money. I plan to get back into making movies again, as a hobby of sorts so I guess its good timing.

Winter is starting to melt away. I wonder how fast we'll jump into summer this year? At work, I got transfered to a branch in the state of Ibaraki, not even in Tokyo state. One way, its over an hour from my house plus waiting time between trains. That aint cool. Want to transfer back to Tokyo but I guess that aint gonna happen anytime soon.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

six am rain

So many of my blogs I am sitting here infront of a computer at a ghastly hour at night/in the early morning. And thats where I find myself again. Unable to sleep yet again, I'm sitting here trying to wind down into dream-land. I had a great day. Started the day off with getting a cool postcard from my American friend Candace, then I recorded video for a video blog project I'm trying to put together with another American friend, Nicky. (More details on that soon!) Then I was in happy Wikipedia edit mode for a few hours, had okonomiyaki (Japanese egg pizza is the common explanation for that food) with super cool Japanese buddy Kayo, and although I was too sleepy to be a good conversationalist, it was fun. She is becoming a teacher, so she is looking so professional these days. After that I came home and was going to surf youtube (I have a very geeky life, OK!?) for a bit, but I ended up chatting on the computer with a few American friends I hadn't chatted with on the computer for years and years. Life is good, I guess. The sky is bright outside now and the rain is still pelting the windows. My head is spinning, I'm too tired. It's time to really fade away for tonight.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

late night rumbles

So it is about 3:30 in the morning and they are still doing violent loud construction on the road outside. Seems to have settled down in the last few minutes, at least for now. Hope I can get some sleep, but before that I thought I would put a few thoughts up.

Over here in Asia (at least, maybe the same in other parts of the world) it's really common to walk into a video store and see "sequels" to movies that haven't come out yet, or "versions" of movies that don't have any of the same actors. They look like American movies, but they aren't quite right. I have always wondered about them, but never sat down and watched any. Well, until yesterday when I saw "War of the Worlds 2"... yeah. The first one was an odd Tom Cruise movie that tried too hard to be what it was, for a budget of over 130 million dollars. yeah 130. But "War of the worlds 2" is actually a sequel to a different low budget movie, with a similar title. And they are classic B movie crapola. Mockbusters are what they seem to be called. Designed to lure audiences into renting or buying them when the big name blockbuster isnt currently available. But I couldn't help myself, I enjoyed it. Now I guess it's good to remind anyone reading this that I am a big fan of B movies. That maybe influenced me. But the never ending cliches, the special effects that would have looked bad on a late 1990s TV show, the acting that was for the most part stage-actor sounding, the alien spaceship sets that looked like painted sheets; it all added together to make a fun movie. They are almost a satire of the idea of movies, or atleast the idea of Hollywood movies. It was painful at times, but painful in the way eating cheap candy is. You like the sugarhigh, but you know you are mainly eating artificial flavoring. I would be proud if I could have a movie production studio that could make half of what these guys are doing. Of course, I would make weird artsy strange movies though, that wouldn't rake in the money like their mockbusters are doing. These movies are mainly made by the production company The Asylum, if you are interested.

I also watched the original Logan's Run tonight. That is a good chunk of scifi movie, although I found it quite ironic that the special effects in this movie (which I guess was a fairly big budget at the time) were quite cheesy. The long-distance shots were clearly a plastic display model, and the outfits of the people were clearly 70s sexy sci-fi movie clothes, instead of any logical social construction. And the plot holes, the massive plot holes, rained down on this movie like a storm. (How 1000s of people who have never seen an animal and believe they aren't eating flash suddenly be expected to become violent omnivores? and is there anything to eat since the oldman said the fish died? well, the old man did have a lot of cats. and there are green bushes, I guess they could eat the cats or the plants, but how will they know which plants can be eaten or how to cook a cat? Why didnt the runners just try to brake the walls of the dome if they knew they were escaping? And did I really just see someone in the crowd give the spock sign for the camera? OK. If you havent seen the movie this rant just made no sense.) Don't get me wrong though, it's for sure a classic movie. I think I'm also pointing out a movie doesnt have to have 130 million dollars of modern special effects to be watchable.

In a technical note, I have found some more posts from years ago. I have filled them into this diary, so those who like to backsurf into the past can now read some of what I was thinking (in Korea) in 2005. If I ever find the other missing posts (or if you have any saved?!) I'll be sure to add them in there. The diary only goes back so far, my old online diary from 2002-2003 has over a 100 posts so importing that into here would be a lot of work... something for a different day.

Well, the construction has fallen quiet. Creepy quiet. I guess that means its time for dreams.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

mp3 player

here i am today listening to my mp3 player on my way to work, country joe and the fish is playing, it's interesting how reality is filtered by music. i originally got this cheap player to work on my crappy cantonese (audio lessons) but the lessons only took 500MB of the 2Gigs. with the extra space I put on music, which distracts me from actually studying. oops. but its like living in a soundtrack, i am one of those odd people who sometimes mouths the words along with the song. and i even move along with a really good groove. yeah, i know. that's really sad, huh? haaaha!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

flickers of a flashback

i am sitting on my floor in my tiny appartment in america on bill mcdonald parkway. i dont know yet, but living on the floor of this tiny appartment will be good practice for living in tokyo. it's rainy, and i'm writing a poem about my endless days in this town. an eternity that all too soon came to an end. i pause and look up at my window and feel the sound of the fresh rain. i remember thinking i loved the smell of newly fallen rain.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

audioblog 01

I'm not sure why, but I couldn't get my first audioblog to embed in this post. (Yeah, I am creepily inspired by Diego to audioblog. Yeah, so I'm a copycat. Sue me! haa!)

I talk about rain and play some clips from music I've been running into these days. If you can play OGG files play this, otherwise most people should go here to stream it (in slightly less quality) from the internet. Cheers

Thursday, March 13, 2008

trash man

It's been a series of unfortunate events. Four weeks ago I didn't have too much trash so I was lazy and thought "I'll take both weeks out next week" but the following week my boss changed my schedule so my day off was on trash day. I ended up being out around town and didnt take my trash out. And the same problem next week. Thats too much garbage so I decided to stay home and watch movies on the fourth week of no garbage out. And just my luck! They were doing construction on my road so no one put out garbage that week. It's been over a month. I have a nasty pile of garbage bags I wanna throw out! This is sad. It's kinda something ya shouldn't tell people, huh? oops!

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Tonight I'm thinking about cultural asimlation. I have always wanted shop people to stop giving so many bags when I go shopping, its such a waste so I usually make noise when staff try to put my 3 things in 8 bags. But tonight when the quiet old man at the 24 hour discount mart carefully placed and wrapped my cheap things in too many bags, I couldnt bring my self to complain. I wondered, on the walk home, if thats somehow what cultural asimulation feels like... I think I'm still going to refuse a bag for a candybar though, no matter what!

Monday, February 25, 2008

mcdonalds conversations

Sitting at McDonalds waiting to meet someone. On my left and right two young professionals are talking on their cell phones.

The man on the left, jeans and a stylish jacket.
"Dadadadon dada"
"No at the end put another da."
"Left right left right, like rhythm"
"Yeah, next dandandan. No like the last one. Yeah."

I guess he was dictating music over the phone. The man on the right, expensive pin striped gray suit. Briefcase up on the counter where we are all sitting, phone charger plugged into a provided socket, wallet open revealing his company ID which boasts that his company is a "green printer" company.
He makes a lot of quick calls, in bursts.
"hello? yes, we should check that Club Invaders is available. OK? Right. Have a good one."
No greeting at all simply "Find out? Ok. I'll check if we can do that."
Seems to be talking to an answering machine. "This is Omura. I know I've called a lot this month." His confidence seems to waiver, he takes a breath. "I was just wondering if you could call me back? Thanks, have a good night."
He fades in to silence for about 20 minutes fiddeling with a few forms on the counter. And then begins his fourth phone call,
"Sorry. Hello, sorry about calling this late at night. Sorry. Yeah. It's about this witness testimony...Yeah, I don't understand what I put on page 2, line 3, yeah, yeah, yeah, I understand, yeah, yeah. I understand. That's ok right? Not in such a hurry. A fax would be OK? Well, for now I'll just write it. OK, if I dont understand again I'll call back. Right. Thanks. Goodnight."

he laughs,
"Basterd. So what should we do? OK. Next time. See ya."
What was that second guy's conversations all about? A drop in the ocean of daily external noise. Take a moment to listen as it fades past.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

anti-anime & time travel

I have recently noticed that I am quite "anti-anime" in my thinking. I intentionally avoid watching Japanese cartoons, and when someone I really respect talked about watching some I started to think about why. I remembered my scary room mates in college that would non-stop watch anime all day, every day. When they went to class they would leave the TV on playing anime and if I changed channels or anything they would get mad, because they wanted to hear and see it the minute they walked in the door. I kid you not. But added to that, when ever my Japanese friends came over they would ignore them. You would think you would want to talk to people who come from the land that produced your desires, but I guess they were too busy watching anime. Too busy infact to even clean their dishes. Now I'm a dirty person, but when you share a kitchen with people I expect a little bit of cleanliness. No luck there. They would leave ALL their dishes in the sink, every last one. At first I would wash their dishes for them, but I finally had enough and said (while they were watching anime) "I'm not going to wash anymore of your dishes!" and one of the two really responded, verbatim, "It's OK, we'll just buy new plates next time we go shopping." Gong! What the heck. A final oddness was they would often watch really creepy almost porn-ish anime. And I'm liberally minded. But public cartoon porn is just weird. So basically these guys gave me psychological damage apparently, because I have always kind of avoided Japanese cartoons after that. Well, after being inspired by the blog post previously mentioned, I decided to check out something. A few days ago I had stumbled (literally) across a review of a Japanese anime movie titled (in English) "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" and so I gave it a try. My first non-forced not super mainstream Japanese cartoon (i.e. not Akira, Princess Mononoke, etc) It was cool! It was childish (no more than an american G rating I'm sure) I guess, and few plot holes bugged me. But I saw an old school Indian Jones movie after that, and even that had some big plot holes, so I started thinking that movies can be kind of like watching a dream, they don't always make total sense when you scrutinize them, but we can have a lot of fun if we just let go and just enjoy it. The movie itself is based on a time travel story (no surprise, read the title!) but it is more than that, it explores relationships and life, like most good Japanese movies.
And continuing on that time-travel theme (must admit I have an interest in those kind of movies I guess) I saw an awesome independent film. If you like to think when you watch movies, please watch "Primer" And this film gives such inspiration to independent film makers everywhere, it was made for about US$7000 and its awesome. Makes you think, it looks cool, a bit of a geeky flavor, and had a nice complex but satisfying plot. Coolness. Big thumbs up on this one, if you can find it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

sleepy eyes

Here I am thinking about silly things again. I really want to get back into making things, kind of like being the student, not the teacher, I guess. I want to create, to make, to experiment again. Creation is one of those things that some people desire and some people could care less about. I'm one of those "gotta make stuff!!" kind of people. So because of that, I'm thinking about buying a camera that is the new high quality ones, its cheap, its small, and maybe I can make some stuff with it. A movie? Who knows. This is like a rant, but with no energy, and directed to myself. Anyone else have that "must create" fire inside?

Speaking of which, I just realized I didn't blog about my digital camera passing away. And although I have some more archived and not uploaded yet, until I get a new camera there wont be too many more photos to share. Although there are quite a few up that I havent publicly mentioned before, and since I always seem to blabber on about new pictures... check out some new ones, if you haven't already.

Just click on the thumbnail above to jump on over and take a look.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

turn the page

Lets try to recapture the whispy fog that was my experience of last night...

I boil water. Pour some into a small cup of instant curry udon noodles. I pour the rest into my yutanpo (plastic hot water bottle to warm up my bed) I convince my self to cut short my Wikipedia editing spree. I gulp down the hot noodles, puffs of my breath visible in the cold room. Turn out the lights and curl my knees against the yutanpo. It feels like I'm in a bathtub. The heat is soothing, I'm alive. But I can't sleep. Its 3, but I cant sleep. I got work tomorrow. I want to sleep. Eventually sleep pulls me down to a room with crickets and celery...

The picture is the view out of the window at work today. Nice blue sky.

Friday, February 15, 2008

odd english

I have been really busy doing nothing, and I almost never update this blog. So this is an update from my cellphone in an attempt to start updating more often.
Since I am at work (having lunch) I'm thinking about the English language. It's such a strange language. "Take off" means to remove something like clothes but "take on" means to challenge something, NOT put some clothes on like you'd logically think. "Put on" is the choice of words used for wearing clothes, but oddly "put off" means to do something later, and so we have to use "take off" as that asymetrical pair in this case. And continuing along this chain of reasoning, shouldn't "stressed out" mean a reduction in stress... I mean, the stress is going out right? Why does it mean an increase in stress? Shouldn't that be "stressed in" or something? And don't even get me started on "catch up" to some one. How am I supposed to logically deduce that means to match speeds with you? Or on the other end of the spectrum, how about created words that are too simple? "Fireplace" used to annoy me that way, the place where you have fire. Genius, pure genius. Or how about the area in Canada n
amed "Newfoundland" ...oh! Don't tell me, was that land that was recently discovered? You don't say! Language is one of those things that if you start thinking about it long enough, nothing make sense and it all seems quite odd.

And in an unrelate random final note... did you know elephants have a 22 month pregnancy period and that the typical birth can last about 11 hours! Freaky cool.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

things i bet you didnt know

1. If you see an ethnic Korean online chat or BBS and you see people add three Ks next to their message, they arent an evil member of a white supremest klan, they are instead phonetically representing in English the way Koreans write snickering in their language on the internet. Really.

2. It's cold right now. I sleep with a big red plastic hot bottle (or rather bottle I put hot water in to) that Japanese people call "yutanpo" it helps me sleep, but if I roll over and it touches my belly, it makes me too hot and makes me have weird bloody dreams. Odd, I know. So I have to wrap it in a blanket layer so I don't overheat.

3. I would love to live in this Stanford torus style space colony station.
Yeah I know its super geeky or whatever. But living on the inside of a donut shaped world that is slowly spinning in space, with a glittery space backdrop, soft light filtered through solar mirrors and lush artificial landscaping, with the horizon stretching up and away from you on both sides. Nice, beyond words!

4. I haven't written a poem in awhile, I really need to get more creative.

5. I want to know what happened to 15 year old Gertrude Seifert and her 17 year old loverman. Who're they you may ask? Here they are:

Still confused? Well, recently I have been a bit addicted to "deep diving" on the internet again. Even thinking about starting up a blog about it. Recently on some of my expeditions I've been digging up massively ancient newspapers, this one is "The San Francisco Call" from April 1, 1910 (page 3, to be precise) ...Still confused a bit about who they are? Let's read the original text:

Maid Who Eloped With Boy
Will Be Taken Abroad for
Indefinite Stay
SAN DIEGO. March 31
Gertrude Seifert, whose sensational elopement with Thomas Foreman, aged 17 years, Tuesday startled San Diego, was removed from the custody of the jail matron at 2 o'clock this morning by her father and mother, placed on the Owl train without being given a chance to communicate with boy lover and today is speeding eastward to New York-city and Germany for an indefinite stay. Thomas Foreman, kept in ignorance by the jail matron, at noon today had not learned of the move. During their elopement young Foreman held a pursuing posse at bay with his rifle. They were captured only after an exciting chase through the brush. The lad did not surrender until he was covered by the guns of the deputy sheriffs, and then only to protect the girl. - - - The elder Seifert promised to let them marry after his daughter had spent 18 months abroad, but this may have been only a subterfuge.
All original content CC 2002-2012 BY NC SA - first design from dilarangmelarang altered by neonvirus and thunderbunny.