Friday, February 25. 2005

Oscar is coming


Hide the kids, they don't need to see this


And the world
Is something I cannot live without
And the world
Turns all throughout
And the world
Ive loved all along
Is the world
That stope me being strong.



A message to the next Pope

Your time will begin soon. You will be the first new leader of this millennium. Look back across history and you will see like I do, that thousands of years pass without change and that change happens every watershed. You will be a watershed. Change is nothing new to your church and it should not be about bringing the flock back, or making sure the pruning of age amongst the ranks does not kill the tree. The world has come a long way in the last handful of decades. People are in need of guidance more than ever, yes, but what used to be fearful and misunderstood is evermore accepted. There are so many things that you could brighten your umbrella with, an umbrella that so many people need but can no longer fit under. Look to the fundamentals of your faith and you will see there is no wrong in what I ask, only truth. It takes the bravest of men to change his brethren. Can you take this challenge? So few men can change the world, even less can save it. You can be the one to do both.

Specifics? Fill in the gaps as you see fit, gentle reader. As you see fit.

The new Yuki album has made its way to my hot little ears. Its more solid across the board that her previous efforts which were by no means slacking off and pleasing to this writer. My hot little ears were set that way by something called Bloc Party and this unit suggests you give it a twirl. Thats all Im sayin.

Current reading is something warped. Dangerously close to joining the holy list of indispensable works, this one is. A short comment on the art? Those figuring makers would try harder if they knew someone would try this shit.

The J is currently under siege. My personal fortunes have seen a turn for the worse lately, my territorial gains of the last few years have been turned back and I must consolidate. Things will be getting worse before they get better, but I will throw all support possible behind the Js defence effort. His cities are being bombed and the aa-guns are stretched. Todays reinforcements are these words. What youre looking at is so similar to myself in April last year. I see enough similarities to warn you. Be very careful, be very careful. The goings on of the last few days are a direct result of last April. These war drums echo long and deep They will thunder back in your ears if you follow a path like mine.

Its not all bad. We were not all meant to be Emperors. But only you can look into your heart and see if you are destined to be


Thursday, February 24. 2005

This day, on the subway


Or was I just asleep...


Glorious big snowflakes
Fat, beautiful snowflakes

No sleet, no water, just pure
Huge snowflakes,
Gentle blanket, cold world
Cover us all, cover us tonight

Well wake and youll have been an illusion to me.



Tonights pointer. People dont want whats best for their country. Or their people, their borders or their goddamn freedoms. No-one really puts something so homogenising at the top of their priorities. They serve to protect what they grow, not what their neighbour grows. Such a simple idea, when applied to ordinary situations, will tell itself to be true every single time. People who would be switched on, who would like to think themselves involved, turned on or otherwise deliberately oblique are the true self centred parasites of our fat consumer society. I generalise, because I want to know if I am like them. Do people exist outside of this square? I lose hope every day and with each passing death-like moment I fear my mirror will suddenly turn and show the light of the world in a different angle. Showing me as one of them. Then I will be at peace.

I was on the train tonight. Thursday night on the train is always a sallow experience, the time I have to be on the train coincides with too many drunk balding men in painfully form cut suits. They all too often have little else outside their miniscule worlds of beer and paperwork that bothering me becomes a priority. Theres a yardstick for you. If bothering me is something you bring yourself to be doing, you need to re-assess everything. Because you are a true jack-ass.

Usually its some 50-something who wants to try out the English skills hes acquired in the last 25 years behind a desk. Fuck off. I have my own shit to deal with and headphones louder than the ringing in your ears. Tonight a man who was so conscious about the cleanliness of the train that he spilled half of his dried squid jerky all aver the floor attempted to tell me off for having my feet on the seat. His lucky day. I have aggression to take out on something.

I could smell the bastard from across the carriage. He stunk like the winos under the overpass and looked a picture of half completed dreams. He has probably spent more time in the company of his boss than his own children and more than likely doesnt remember his wifes maiden name. A real picture of prosperity. And hes got the gall to touch me and tell me to put my feet down. In that brand of English that makes you wonder why the likes of this motherfucker were ever considered a threat to the USAs global domination attempt. Capitalist soldiers, I laugh at you.

He gets a spray of Japanese I wouldnt give to train groper. At least those guys have some kind of spine, twisted though it may be, he proved to have a yellow streak longer than a train of camels with the running shits. He backed off and stared at me from his alcoholic haze until his stop. I had hoped it would be before mine. It was.

He continued glaring as he took his trash to the bin. As he walked past my window (I feared for a second Id lost him) I took off my headphones and gave him the finger. He went red.

He stuck his head back in the door. He opened his mouth but before he could say anything I started laughing. Manically. Gleefully. Loudly. Everyone turned and looked. He tried to speak but words failed him. I get up and push him out the door as it closes. I give him the bird again and sit down.

The only constant is change

Thursday, February 24. 2005
If I gave you my heart
Would you give yours to me?
If I made a proper start
Would you take me seriously?
If I wait for the right moment
Would you say yes to me?
If all my friends desert me
Would you be there for me?

I don't like putting huge quotations of other people's poetry at the front of what I write. It's an old tradition that is not handled well in an age of bl*gs and copy and paste.

Still, what I'm about to say needs saying.

You can't trust anyone, talk is cheap, and the only constant is change. I used to believe that your mates had to to the last but now I realise that there's only you fighting for you in the last garrison. I know this sounds cynical; it is cynical. You behave the way I do and not be cynical.

There is no such thing as The One, and True Love is a confusing chemical in your blood.

You have two choices I guess: You can be wily and cynical and accept that there are only ever temporary, self-serving alliances, and live with it. Or you can be open-hearted and trusting. Hurt or be hurt.

If you want to move from the former to the latter, there is a process of atonement. It is a process of immense pain.

It's almost impossible - or at least very disingenuine - to express sympathy for someone who is open and trusting, honest and sincere, when you are scheming and cynical. It's like a soldier expressing sympathy for civilians injured in war. Hard to show sympathy when you're on the team that goes around maiming and killing.

But, I suppose we're all human and that is the common denominator. You can't trust anyone, talk is cheap, and the only constant is change. I used to believe that your mates had to to the last but now I realise that there's only you fighting for you in the last garrison. It might be true, but I'll always be there to listen. I'm sorry, mate. I think situations have gotten way beyond our control.

I apologise if I'm rambling. Enough with the emo crap.

Control well it's slipping right through my-
the_j*AT*house-of-the-dragon.com

I'm a dick

Thursday, February 24. 2005
You're probably aware, this lunar year is the Year of the Rooster - or as I prefer, the Year of the Cock. I'm a Year of the Rooster, which should give you some idea of my age (tender as it is). Last night, however, I was a dick.

Last night was Yuanxiao Jie (Lantern festival). It marks the end of the Lunar New Year season, and I forgot to take my camera. I don't know what I'm so forgetful with the damn thing. I always remember to take my wallet, keys, and phone everywhere I go.

My phone. Fortunately I remembered my phone, and fortunately I'm currently "loaning" a phone from work. Don wrote the user manual, and I wrote the quick guide for it. It's the sexiest phone I've ever possessed (though that's not saying much) and it has a camera! A shitty, dick-hole camera but a camera nonetheless. So I've posted some shitty, blurry pictures for your conjectural pleasure.

For Yuanxiao Jie, the entirety of Renai Rd was covered in fairy lights, and I mean covered. Renai Rd runs East-West though Taipei for several kilometres, and it was just dripping with lights. Seiko and I jumped on the bike and rode down. We weren't ready for the massive displays they had down around Sun Yatsen Memorial. There were air-raid search lights and massive moving projections of the side of buildings. We'd missed the concert, but that's ok. In the grounds of Sun Yatsen Memorial itself were dozens of displays, made by schools and artists and representing feelings for the coming year. They were all lit up. Sort of like Christmas.

There was also markets, selling hots dogs and jade jewellery, and loads of crazy-looking fortunes tellers. We didn't get to eat any Tangyuan (Sweet dumplings served in a soup) but we had fun all the same.

As the crowds melted away, we headed home.

Here are the aforementioned pics. I've got a video but I've no idea how to get it into .mpg format.
The bright lights of Renai Rd.
Everyone had to walk through this. More romantic with your loved one.
They had this kind of thing all the way down Renai Rd. Miles of it.
I'm actually in this one.
I know it looks like a firey chicken from hell, but it's actually a pineapple. Coming out of a mango. Really.

Monday, February 21. 2005

And this world won't be the same


See you later, Gonzo, check you later, man. What a way to go out. Well miss you, never forget you, you were one of a kind. The generation changes but only a few get to change a generation.

Affliction: terminal Gonzolitis.
Mission: Global terrorisation.

Carry on, soldier, well do our best to keep it up. Respect eternal from the House of the Dragon.

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (1937 2005)

Sunday, February 20. 2005

I see the old man at the ramen place down the road more than you


But the snow has stopped, and only spring can come now


Woman standing at a platform. Standing, cold, tired. Bag feeling like theirs a brick inside.

Train comes, its turning around and heading back where it came. Everyone gets off, she puts away her phone and takes a seat.

A man sits opposite, he looks at her and looks away. Checks his phone, adjusts his headphones. Puts his head down, then looks up. He glances back at the woman and she catches it. He rolls his neck then stares out the door.

The train fills and leaves. The sway of the train lulls her to a shallow sleep. The rush of cold at the stations and the sudden stops wake her briefly. Its at these stops she catches the man looking at her. Not every stop, but more often than not.

They both get off at the same stop. She goes home and that night dreams about him.


The Sunday watch on the world is not proceeding at planned. The reports coming in from the watchers are strange, as if they were written by someone else. Someone else who has gotten to the watchers and is writing in their stead. Writing to the effect that nothing is wrong and the world is as it should be. I want to trust these watchers and their reports but every passing missive that I read makes me think that perhaps, perhaps the guardians have been compromised.

Could it have been an illusion? That the watchers were always agents of the other agenda? Or maybe something above us all changed, maybe the boss changed ideology. Unlikely, there are powers out there that cannot change.

Maybe hes been cold-handed and hes not the one handing down the orders. Maybe hes been knocked cold or drugged; he hasnt been killed because he cant die, but if no believes in him then hes nothing more than a tree falling with no-one to hear.

Either way, there is something going bad and no-one is doing the right thing. The warning lights stay off. I think theyve been quietly disconnected.


In Shinjuku this evening, I saw a man leave a pachinko parlour to hit the ATM at a money lender. He then returned to throw the money down the machine. The machine is his God now. He gives it all, there is nothing more he cares for more than the machine. It must be fed and he will sacrifice all and three generations to sate it. Making it is hard, so hard, when compared with getting rid of it.

I have done some long, hard soul searching. Some long, punishing hours of looking through the folds and resources of my heart have yielded some results. They are not inspirational, they are not pretty, they are not even happy. They are truths, truths undeniable.

There was something in there that I had felt on occasion, I had an inkling it had gotten in there but Id never seriously considered the possibility and denied it to myself for too long now. William Shatner was in there and now I cant get him out. My heart is filled, possibly with love of some kind, with William Shatner. The Captain has taken control of my centre and now I can accept this and life will be all the better because of it; the love of William Shatner, you see, can SAVE US ALL.

Next week: my emotional affair with Ben Folds.

Tiandian, dianxin, xinxin, xinjian

Saturday, February 19. 2005

Dessert, Dimsum, Confidence, Letters


There's only a small problem with the above adapted game of Shiritori. I cheated by switching two of the characters in the third word. Romanised, my intention still stands, and I suppose the purists could argue that the original Japanese version uses phoenemes anyway. But I digress.

The weekend is here and I still have not written up anything from Chinese New Year, and I'm nowhere near making the fixes to the site that I promised the Cat. The weekend, which I had planned to fill with so much, seems dull and lifeless, like me. Maybe it's the weather.

I had originally planned to go out with Dave from Bikefarm last night. ("Guaranteed girls! ;)" is what he said.) But I eneded up falling asleep on my bed after Chinese class, with all the lights still on. I woke up at 5:00am to hear Seiko and her friend Diva coming home. The lights got turned off this time, but I still slept through to midday.

Get up, pull on some clothes, go and apologize to Dave about last night and ask him to pick up my scooter for repairs, drop off some drycleaning and now here I am at East Road Cafe. I guess I don't talk about it a lot, but I love great food. I'm not gourmet, but a good deal of my time is spent thinking about what and where I'm going to eat.

East Road cafe deserves massive props. They're just down the road from me, they serve fine espresso, and the pasta is excellent. Today I had the bacon and creamy white sauce spaghetti. It comes with shellfish, mushrooms and homemade pasta, followed by a large cup of creamy latte. Even the coffee jelly dessert tastes pretty good, and all for NT200. And they have free WLAN.

East Road is one of my weekend haunts, a good place to go when you want good food, somewhere pimpin' to sit, and, if you're by yourself, check your mail. I'll get some photos for you next time.

I've got to be back home at three o'clock, a parcel Yukiko sent me is due to be delivered. In the past, I've complained about the Taiwanese postal system, based on nothing but hearsay. However, I would like to officially revoke those statements and say that Chunghua Post rocks the Dragon. The first time I received a parcel (a few weeks back) they called me to tell me that they hadn't been able to deliver it and when would I be home so they could? When I didn't understand, they spoke English. I told them (in my shite Chinese) that my roommate would be home and they could deliver it to her. They ended up delivering to my neighbours, but I got it in the end.

***

I'm finishing the post later - I actually got a call from the postman, I had to run back to my place to pick up the parcel. I can't imagine back home the postal clerk calling me on a Saturday to ask where I am. That's service.

After that, I went and bought a guitar. I left all my guitars back home, and I've hardly touched strings since I left in April 2004. The guitar I bought is a cheap piece of shit, but I'm hoping it'll kick start my songwriting again - something else I haven't done in a long time. It's a classical - something I never learned how to play very well, so that's another challenge for me.

Christine was an hour late for our English tutorial, but that was ok because I damn near forgot anyway. I met up with Vito and his friends afterwards for dinner. Three of his friends had been on exchange in Japan and spoke pretty damn good Japanese. It was interesting to hear that one of them actually went to Japan because he wanted to learn about Japan design and fashion. Certainly not the reasons I went but I guess I got caught up all the same.

I had planned to go home but Dinna put the call in and we all ended up going to Luxy. It was the first time I'd ever been. It's pretty damn expensive but it's one of those clubs that bills itself as 'premiere'. And it is. It's massive, it has an expensive door charge, two rooms (one hiphop, one techno), dancing girls, a fire-juggling show at the bar and a distinct lack of variety in the beer department. It was pretty damn cool though.

When Luxy closed, we ended up dancing till 7am in Roxy Vibe, not my ideal way of finishing the night.

Blah Friday

Saturday, February 19. 2005
The weather in the denouement of Chinese New Year has been officially downgraded from Awesome to Suckful. Last night it bucketed down in the most torrential manner, and I was out riding in it. I've never ridden in such heavy rain before. It was like riding through walls of water. Then I was out doing it again this morning.

I don't mind riding in the rain so much: Aside from being life-threateningly dangerous, it's kind of fun because I have a good raincoat, it's easy to get a park and the rain takes a lot of the pollution out of the air.

Last night I was out getting party needs: Bottles of vodka, limes, soda, kahlua and milk (for the ladies) etc. The rain was so bad the even my raincoat couldn't keep me dry. I got soaked.

It eased off this morning but my scooter decided to die about half a kilometre from work. I pushed the damn thing from Minquan Bridge.

Work is deadly boring, and I can't get into the small amount of stuff I have to do. I'm running out of excuses for not having my stories from Chinese New Year. Soon, I promise.

Friday, February 18. 2005

Giant women


Giant lingerie models, actually


This is the front the Arche building in Omiya. It's two, maybe three storeys high. He cleavage alone could swallow a grown man.

Friday, February 18. 2005

Working life


Lifetime working


Crawling up the WALLS, melting into the floor and
Freezing to the windows.

Molten skin plasters the floor.

A dry and brittle ribcage lies on the paper thin mattress and
Inside, a moist pale remainder of something, of something that
Used to hold meaning and emotion and uses and prestige and

Now lies waiting to dry up and crumble to powder.


Something caught my eye about a week ago. Seven people were arrested at a raid in Shinjuku on a soapland. Spellchecker tells me that soapland might not be common vocabulary, so heres an image for you. A primer, if you will.

We all know what a brothel is. In my high school days I once convinced a slower boy that the word meant two storey house and he went excitedly around proclaiming his newly learned knowledge by telling all sundry that he lived in a brothel. This happy episode ended when a teacher heard him and promptly gave him detention, despite his protesting. I never felt bad about it despite the young man growing up to a rather likeable chap.

Imagine a brothel (one storey or more, you decide) but instead of bedrooms and mirrors on the ceiling, its basically on big bathroom. Little clarification is needed on the finer details; if you arent sure yet, have a look here.

The seven ladies (yep, all were female) who were arrested all ran several prominent Shinjuku soaplands. As former working girls who showed the grit and pelvic fortitude required to climb the slippery ladder of this shady world, they had earned their positions through ways you and I might not be proud to ever admit. It wasnt all skulduggery, Im sure, but enough of it was so that they were taken down on charges somewhere along the lines of kidnap and slavery. Im sure the official terms werent quite so Victorian, but that it was it boils down to.

Soaplands? Slavery? I know, its not the biggest leap of logic but surely the kind you might only see in a cheap shot novel or equally cheap softcore production from New York. I guess thats where they make them, because it sure as hell aint here. But there it was, these seven boss ladies carted away in handcuffs to think about what theyd done. No one would pretend that they got what they had in life through the virtues of hard work and purity, the bad fiction writer in me imagines more than enough stiletto heels driving into pink fleshy parts and probably a little lotion-assisted head splitting on bathroom tiles. Yes, its a flowery world and if it were left to the confines of paper and ink bound in a vaguely erotic cover, there it could stay and I wouldnt have ever thought about it. Im much too aware of my manhood potential to ever visit, much as my curiosity might be, the voice telling me that with enough effort and persistence I could re-create the effect at home and save my ego the strain.

But here they were, parading out of my TV and into the living room. The announcer told the nation that not only were they prominent owners and runners of brothels but they also ran host clubs. Heres another one for those out there who arent so au fait on Tokyo night life.

Hostess bars are places where man of all walks of life can go to pay shitloads of money to talk to friendly girls and have their wallets gouged. The practices used by these places are amazing, lower than a snakes belly, the last time I was actually shocked was when I heard about it. Thats not todays topic, but I might get around to it later. Host bars are the male equivalent, where weary females from across the city can go and drink cocktails with handsome young men and have every single 10,000 yen note removed from their Gucci handbag.

What happens when theres not enough cash to please the bouncers? Guys going to hostess bars get the living shit beat out of them by the bouncers (but leaving no visible bruising, because not being able to go to work would severely limit the extortion opportunities in future) and made to sign impossible looking IOU forms. Girls at host bars who outdo themselves? Well, in this story the unfortunate ladies were told to work it off at our other business. Theyd been living at the soapland and working as prostitutes against their will for about four months before the police found out.


There are very few prospects as depressing as losing your job just because circumstances work against you. But Im staring down the barrel of that. I hate applying for jobs, its an inherently depressing business. I thought for more than a few minutes about trying my luck as a host. I bet I could rock that world, but selling souls aint on the agenda just yet. I dont know.

Tuesday, February 15. 2005


We'll be back after this announcement


The House is not a bl*g.
The House is not a LiveJournal.
The House isnt anything like what you learned at university.
The House is a monument to our egos.
The House might be a tray of kitty litter.
The House is possibly Sophist. Look it up.
The House is not unwilling to use double negatives.
The House is not ISO9001 compliant.
The House is not available in convenient 12-packs.
The House is not your fucking khakis.
The House is not signed to Sony Entertainment.
The House is not artificially sweetened.
The House is not tested on animals.
The House is authoritative.
The House always wins.
The House is not made in Indonesia. Yet.
The House may or not go better with Coke.
The House is not bringing you the greatest hits of the 70s, 80s and 90s.
The House is not Che:::AP V!:::aG::::R@.
The House is not available in your choice of colours.

Monday, February 14. 2005

State of the Union : 14/2/05


State of the Union : 14/2/05


Big it up to the J for getting it together with so much style. I have been inspired, so in spite of the lingering lack of hustle, I will put this up there and out there so that I might take some strength from it; hey, stranger things have happened. Maybe Ill find the voice I had this time last year. Maybe the J will get his venom back. And maybe Ill start reviewing what I eat for lunch. Get this: Seven 11s new selection, review tomorrow. It was weak, it didnt know what it wanted to be and there was too much rice. Youre better off sticking with a less Jack of all Trades style offering, unless its all thats left. In which case, its still better than am/pm.

Sorry.

This will be the last non-form post. When we opened the House I came up with a post template and stuck to it for the first era of the Dragon. Since version 4 hit the server I havent used it, or stuck to anything resembling a schedule. Form and structure are important and shall be henceforth be woven into the walls of the House.

Here is a tentative update schedule. I say tentative because creativity follows no timetable. Tech support doesnt answer when I call about my muse feeling low. So, here we go.

Form posts three times a week. Here I will deal with the micro and the macro of everything visible from the watchtower on the roof of the House. There will also be musings from the couch / fireside / back porch and these posts will be of decent length.

There will be a more freeform posting once a week. These will, in theory, be filed under T-Art. Therapeutic Art will also receive a major contribution at least once a month.

Now watch me eat these words. But remember, everything starts and stops right here with me. Its open now, oh yes, and it looks good. But there is an open face and a very small tolerance level in here. So keep watching and watch your mouth because something will blow. Something.


Monday, February 14. 2005

Cold days


One ending is another beginning


I sit here, the day after. Writing letters to the directors and cast, while the feeling is still fresh. I feel empty, but this is not a new empty. I know this one, I know the words to make it feel less dark inside it. I know the cause all too well, but fret not, precious reader, because I expected it and knew it was going to happen.

Even so, I am glad today is my day off.

This is the last time you will perform this show together, as we made it, with this cast. The directors words, I think I was the only one who knew how true and how sad they were. I caught the youngest of the cast with tears on her cheek halfway through, so I think everyone felt the weight of the occasion. I only joined the cast for the last half, too. Theyd been working on it since last April. Thats a long way to come for a sudden ending. But thats theatre, you know, thats what it comes down to. Im not such a good actor but I enjoy the ride.

Im going to hit Menmin for lunch. See you back later tonight for a State of the Union announcement.

Monday, February 14. 2005

I'm back, and I brought fish


OK so I didn't really bring fish, but I did have an awesome time. I did more in the days between Wednesday and Saturday than I imagined, and still not everything I wanted to. And then the rest of the weekend still managed to blow my mind.

So here I am back at work. It feels a little surreal. I've got loads of stuff to fills these pages in the coming days. Stay tuned.

Ctrl + Break@
the_j*AT*house-of-the-dragon.com

Thursday, February 10. 2005

Here's to Eternity


Weapons and the Royalty


Everything sacred, however soiled history may see it, is sacred for reasons above and beyond humanitys reach. Always strong, always spit-shine clean in they eyes of the deity. So be it, I say, I dont write the rules, I tilt at windmills. These eternal bastions of God and man, posts held by one-time leaders of men.

Until they take it to themselves and defile the institution unto their own, in ways only they can create and one day, hope to top. Past indiscretions become the stuff of legends, heads role with blood flowing ankle, knee and head deep. Swords and dragons, mystic rights and other such mischief.

What place in a modern day do tales like these have? In the classroom, the history book. Sadly, however, the human side persists. A sad remnant, a crippled malformation in our modern democracy. The princess of the people had a heart and searched for more, attracting the scum who feed off the bottom. Her life ended some twisted escape story; give or take the bloodline and you have a sad figure.

Her son, not worthy of too long a comment here. I dont know if he made it to Auschwitz for the anniversary, but I do pray he did. And that he felt as stupid as the rest of the educated world thought he was, and maybe he learned something more.

What place, then, for the father in this twisted wreck? Pointless, placeless owner of succession in a world where obsolete does not begin to describe his place. From leader of men to parasite, every step is the wrong direction. Look at your headlines and we see a step so far that denial is a waste of energy, a defiling generations could not top has been completed.

The only redemption is the possibility of their being a body piercing left to name after him.

And North Korea has tipped their hand. The last man in the world we need to have his finger on the button and he has the bomb. God help the fucking lot of us, because Charles wont.

I blame Trey Parker and Matt Stone.