Tuesday, March 29. 2005

Soldier on

Together, alone

I didnt have anything planned for posting today, but something happened yesterday morning that took me a-mellowing, took me down. I got up and before shipping out to an already cruel Monday morning, I saw the headline. Something so sudden, it lies you out and all you know for sure after something like that is, today will be a shitty day.

October 2002. So long ago now, yet when I think about it Im not so different to who I was then. A day I dont like to think about, because it should have been one of the happier days of the time. I cant bring myself to call it something like happy, not because of the splash but just how far the ripples spread

The J noted once or twice my aversion to airports. This might be where it starts. Here we go, plot element revealing time; oh shit, my life has turned into a novella of some description. Airports. I bet Im not alone in this, theres a whole subsection of society who just hate going out to their local airport. Its always something of a journey, or at least a hike, unless youre dumb enough to actually live nearby. They say playing solitaire is its own punishment. Thats the same as this. Id rather stab myself in the genitals, or play solitaire than live near an airport. Lived not too far from an airbase once. Thats different.

Simply, its always to say goodbye to someone (all too often, out very own J) or to leave something I dont want to be. That day, it was a combination of both and the journey that began that day I had no understanding of just where it would take me. Would I have backed out had someone given it all up to me? I shudder to think. Shudder. Such is the life foundation shaking power of a trip to the airport.

She will be with me always, no-one else has ever connected with me on so many levels. Im shallow at the best of times, but thats because Im cloaking most of the spiny shit. Two porcupines mating, how do they do it? Very carefully. Its not easy to open some doors. But that time, those times, it was like second nature. What I ended up doing sticks me even today. She came out with me that day. Drove me there, too.

Details Id never give up if it werent for yesterday morning.

She gave me a CD. I listened to it on that eternal flight. Ive never seen a plane so empty, seriously, I had so much space to myself. It was great. I looked out and listened to that compilation, looked out at the window. Spirals and towers of pure white cloud stood out of a second layer of ocean, a white ocean that could have gone on forever. Its the most beautiful thing Ive ever seen from an airplane, even more than the full moon as we circled out of Narita on my way to Taipei. The sun was sitting above the horizon and the whole scene was painted orange when the song came on. The last track on the CD. The white went through the citrus end of the spectrum, went to red and crimson and as the track ended, sunk away to end that day. It stole the towers of cloud from me and I could do nothing but cry.

Dust from a distant sun will shower over everyone

Together, Alone is my favourite Crowded House record. I havent listened to it since that day. Right now its up full blast, pissing off the neighbours. I hope his spirit knows its way home.

Too young to travel so far

Rest well, Hessie, I know Im far from alone in having a defining moment coloured by a song you played on. Far, far from alone. I hope youre not right now.

In bad company: part 1

Monday, March 28. 2005
Hopefully you'll find what follows a little more light-hearted than some of the stuff that's been going on here lately. My travel adventures:

So I went on the company trip not really knowing anything about what we were going to be doing. I hadnt gone to any of the meetings discussing the itinerary, not that I wouldve understood them anyway. Id said Id go not knowing the date, Id said Id go not knowing the time I was supposed to arrive.

As it turned out, the date was this weekend just gone and the time was 6:45. Thats 6:45 am. Im not really cut out for early mornings. We were actually divided into two groups; I found out later that the other group was supposed to arrive at 6:15. Ouch.

I was under the impression that we were going to Green Island, but day one was actually spent around Taidong which is where Id spent some of my time at Chinese New Year. Not to worry, I like Taidong.

We actually have tour guides. This doesnt really surprise me at all; I mean were a group, we need guides, right? I used to work as a tour guide, so I have respect for them, even though I know that theyre pretty redundant. Our head guide has a potbelly, an incredibly loud voice, never shuts up, and is genki genki genki. Hes a perfect guide. That said, I was about ready to smack him after five minutes.

One of the first places we stopped was the location of the fault line between the Asian and African tectonic plates. Believe or not, theres actually a school built on it, and there were far more students attending it than I wouldve credited. I guess they must get lots of days off school.

Although it isnt much to look at, knowing that you're sitting on a fault line is pretty cool. I enjoyed the experience, even if I didnt really have a clue what the guy from the school there was talking about.

I think the highlight, though, was that our potbellied guide got a severe nosebleed just after arriving. Poor guy, it mustve been so embarrassing, but it certainly made for some interesting entertainment for the rest of us. I felt even more sorry after he ran out of tissues and was asking people for water.

The township is called Chishang and is famous for growing a certain variety of rice, said to be the best in Taiwan. We had it for lunch and Ive got to say its not bad.

Unfortunately, having Taiwans best rice isnt enough to keep the local economy going, so the locals are pushing tourism Taiwanese style by creating bikeways and renting bicycles. Although it sounds silly, I have to admit its not a bad idea environmentally friendly, and quite relaxing. Theres a private home, which has an amazing European-style gardens, including a large, flat lawn. Seeing this much grass inspired all kinds of strange behaviour in my colleague. Everyone had their cameras out, taking photos with the grass. I think strangest of all was one of the older women from upstairs. Every photo (and there was a lot, all taken by her husband) was in a sort of semi-glamour, semi-cheesecake type pose. Clothes on thankfully. I was reminded, though, of a restaurant Id visited in Jiufen. There, the slightly older-than-middle-age proprietress had covered the walls of the place with glam photos of herself, all of them appalling. Heres me with my gold jewellery. Yick.

After that, we went to Guanshan, which Id visited on my previous trip. We were staying at an admittedly very nice resort. It seemed like it was in the middle of nowhere but it was very new (and incorporated Ionic columns into the design) and had luxurious gardens too.

After dinner, I went and had a herbal sauna and bath. The bath itself was a hot-spring type deal. There were two faucets and three taps hot, cold and yaoshui. Yaoshui literally means herb or medicine water. The faucets and taps were all shaped like ducks heads. It might have just been the power of suggestion, but I swear the yaoshui smelled like chicken soup. The whole experience was great though. Hot springs and baths are always a highlight.

Im writing this at the beginning of day two. Were sitting on the bus and theyve got karaoke videos going on the entertainment system while we wait. Which reminds me: I think for my next project, I want to direct a karaoke video. If I get around to it, I might post the results here.

Saturday, March 26. 2005

News flash

Losing it everywhere

I am going to say something stupid now. Please try and do something else.

Im not much of a protester. Tilting at windmills is far more suitable to me, since I have a much better throwing arm than I do a thick skull. I can throw all day but it would take a single billy club to my head to render me mortally challenged. So I sit here and take wild slings at distant targets. But for some reason, I am going off to protest today.

I think Ill be alone. Just me and my placard. I dont know what it will say yet, but I have little doubt that something humorous will bring itself to my attention. What it says isnt the point. The fact that Ill have one will be the point. That I have one tells the world I have something to protest about.

The poor lass will also be dead by the time I get on the streets, too. No matter. This shit storm has a good couple of days left before the medias attention span runs out and the cameras wipe the tears and Vaseline off the lenses before fucking off. The beautiful thing about my protest is that even once shes gone (I could be a little overboard by suggesting that she was gone 15 years ago, but this is ill the time for pedantry) the targets of my Protestantism will still be there! Prevailing sense tells me the eyes of the media might have long since left them, but theyll remain. They say a bully just wants attention. Some of these days I just cant help myself.

I could care less what you think about euthanasia. If you think that someone can recover from a 15 year coma in any setting other than a retarded Hollywood movie, you got something wrong with you. We have been discussing around the issue of humanity these last few days and given the choice, I might just go with a hundred lashes and a crane swinging me by the neck over 15 years in a hospital bed. I hope sincerely that no-one ever have to make that sort of choice. Id like to think that even the cruellest of the lowest common denominator could see that kind of hell should not be inflicted upon anyone.

Im sure she was a wonderful person. I bet she was. I wont pretend to know the whole story. I dont want to. But the facts that matter, I know all too well. I protest the protesters who cant see past their own self righteousness long enough to realise theyve been used. Youre not trying to save anyone. They went a long time ago. You were used by conservatives who since moved along. I just cant stop the urge to tell random people on the street how fucking dumb you are. Now its almost over I bet youre really wishing you at least put some banners on your site, you could have made a buck out of it all. Too bad for you.

Seems to me that no one really got much out of this. Im feeling oh-so last week by even addressing it. I thought of a slogan for my placard, too.

Vegetables dont need your shit
They grow best with store bought fertiliser
[Your Banner Here! advertising@house-of-the-dragon.com]

It's like a rollercoaster

Friday, March 25. 2005
I don't know how you can do this to me. One post, you're giving my principles a going-over, the next it's treacly sentimental stuff that you know goes straight through my heart like a blunt spoon. You're jerking around with my emotions. Why do you hate me, Kerouac Cat?

There's a few things I've got to get through in this post; they really deserve more time from me but I'm going to be on a company trip to Green Island for the next three days, so expect radio silence. If I didn't deal with these things now, however, they'd be cold by the time I got back.

First things first: The actual quote is 'If you're not a communist at 16 you don't have a heart, if you're still a communist at 60 you don't have a brain'.

I don't think the numbers actually matter that much, though for the record I'm not yet twenty-six. The locus of this issue revolves around the two different animals that are communism and socialism.

According to Marxist Communism, socialism is the fifth and penultimate stage in a society's transformation into communism. After socialism, the government is supposed to "whither and die" as it is no longer needed.

Unfortunately, there is not a single example of a society reaching the sixth and final stage and becoming a Marxist Communist Society, not in history nor in present day. You see, the government just refuses to die, mostly because it's a superlatively corrupt body headed by a power-mad dictator and staffed by similar cronies.

While I might find the notion of communism to be pleasantly idealistic, I'm a true capitalist. I find socialism offensive and distateful, not to mention an example of a completely unworkable (in the long-term) political model. I'm a realist. I'm not looking for Utopia, I know we have to work with what we've got. More on this shortly.

Secondly: In an ideal world, a justice system would be unnecessary. I can't imagine that we'll ever reach that point.

I think we're heading a long way from from the topic.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I will accept that society will never be perfect, and I'll accept that humans may desire revenge and control on a fundamental level. That's not an excuse, however, to give up and say we can't do better. If that were the case, I'm not sure why we're having this argument.

To me, what makes us truly human in the desire to rise above our lot.

Incidentally, I think Stalin, Mao and Castro are all good examples for the case against capital punishment. They're also good reasons for the kind of social awareness model that I vaguely hinted at in my last post about this.

Lastly: There's something else I'd like to touch on, but I don't think I've got the courage to do it. I had considered mentioning it when I discussed the Amber Hour, but my judgement got the better of me. KC touched on it too. I'm really not sure I can deal with it all right now.

Later. I'm off to Green Island.

Thursday, March 24. 2005

Daze, those were

Those were the days

It was a steamy night, by memory, but likely it was bollocking cold. The date was February 7th, 2003. This fact alone tells me it must have been cold.

Kawaguchi. Highest crime rate in the area, in the national top five. Not that its a bad place, its Nishi-Kawaguchi home of the biggest red light district in Saitama just down the train line that brings all that. That night it was host to a yakitori run, at the instigation of a boy named Taro. Theres a once in a lifetime figure, truly; the likes of that boy and the times that were had when he was around will never come this way again. That night was no exception.

Actually, the plain vanilla details arent thrilling. There was much skewered meat eaten and generous amounts of beer to follow. As a result, all there present were in stages of tipsy to roaring drunk, and back down again. Let the record show that both the J and I were present and between us shared honours for Biggest Glutton and Most Magnificent Drunk. Many photos were taken that fine evening, including last nights preview and the below, a charming work youll agree. Conjured up in the spirit of the occasion as a postcard, I believe the theme was, with the rudimentary photo editing skills that ought have me locked away. Or at least kept from such software. The likely lads have thankfully had their identities carefully obscured, ironically by the same technology. Aint it a bitch.

So, back to the details. Taro did the ring around and he had us all gather at a place he knew. It was yakitori, but since the grill was next to the front window the smoke was minimal and the clothing was safe. Both turned out to be lies, all lies but the place was worth remembering. Not that anyone did. When Taro calls, you know sensibilities are to be abandoned and its on Taro usually did things in private, but as it turns out the rules of engagement dont change for public outings. A lot of faces there that night stir up emotion in me, as I look over the photos. Even my own, I look younger and mystifyingly happier. The J looks as I remember him from that visit. I think he needs to revisit that haircut so that we might be brothers in hippie-dom when we next meet.

Service was slow on the meat but prompt on the ale. Aye, no complaints there. But the lineup, like that, dont matter whats been imbibed I had an in depth discussion of the term yummy mummy on the walk from the station. It can only go downhill from there. The international feel of the lineup only helps the occasion. Sadly, several couples from that night are no longer part of the scene. How the pieces shift.

They shifted that night, too. Both the J and I were blessed, although in different amounts, that night as we met a certain young lady. Shes a good friend of mine to this day and no fear how things turn, will still be part of both our lives in one way or another.

I had to get the last train home and ended up getting a ride on the back of a nice young mans bicycle as he took pity on my running drunken ass. Now that I think of that part, it was pretty goddamn cold.

What else? Oh yeah, the Amber Hour theory. I actually have a very proper study proposal, given my academic background, that just begs to receive proper treatment. And funding. Needs thorough research, that one. Was it born that night? Thats pretty fuzzy. It was born around that time. All the more testament to its powers!

This has been a House of the Dragon flashback.

Thursday, March 24. 2005

Bad news comes

don't you worry

I dreamed I was making something
Putting it all together
Putting all my effort into it
Making it good and strong and working

I wasnt even aware I wasnt awake
Such sleep earns no rest
But some fucked up images
How did I make them come out?

We'll float on, good news is on the way.

The world turns. A major company fails the blue collar employees by allowing a situation to occur where fourteen of them die. Their blood? All over the place. The punishment, supposed to be dealt out by the governments agencies? Invisible. I mean, I sure as hell cant see them and theres no way theyre just not there, right?

The world keeps turning and the criminals, we can but hope, struggle to live with their wealth-bought consequence free actions. Ive never been to Texas, but I know theres not even a memorial of some kind to the people who die like that.

The fascist regime in Zimbabwe continues to roll on. Reports shall be made in this space, but you, the freedom-loving reader, must remain vigilant and keep your own attention on events as the next election nears.

If you arent a socialist at 16, you dont have a heart. If youre still a socialist at 26, you dont have a brain. That I can thrown this quote back at the J, even in this discourse, is the second tier of my left vs. right discussions. If society were capable of holding up an ideal in living, from each according to his ability and all that, we would also have a society with no need for capital or corporate punishment. Just as surely as power corrupts, there will always be a necessity to punish corruption. History proves me right. As surely as suppression of the revenge instinct and an infallible judicial system would be necessary elements of a symbiotic relationship in the Js ideal world, the world I have come to see revolves around its lowest common denominator. The feelings that pulse there in the hearts of every man are there at the same low throb as the ones that stop our world from being open, free and, well, utopian. They relate to the primal instincts, the survival instincts. Survival of the fittest may not hold as strong in the human world as it does in the wild, but the echoes still reverberate through our human souls.

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt the flight or fight instinct kick in? We escaped the savannahs by listening to the flight call when things got hairy or, we survived long enough that we could move to greener lands. But the true survivors, the leaders who fathered modern man were very much in tune with what happened when their instincts kicked into fight mode. Ive seen it. Ive felt it. All the ideals in the world, all the religion cannot save a man when he stands face to face with himself.

All animals are created equal, but some animals are created more equal. It killed me to learn how an ideal perverts to this. Seeing how socialist revolution became communist dictatorship in both Russia and China, looking at the parallels and the similarities to other countries that endured communist control, we cannot kid ourselves. Socialism is a dream and will stay that way because humans cant help themselves. Stalin, Mao, Castro inevitable. The millions dead will testify to their collective sins.

This is what the beginning quote is getting at, that as nice as an idea socialism might be, practical application is not sensible. Because the human factor is such a great variable, hope must survive somewhere for us, but enough practical testing has shown what happens. When I first had that line thrown at me, I was shocked, hurt; I was also just past my sixteen year phase. It was a learning, growing point, acceptance of the truth behind the facetiousness didnt come from giving in and becoming jaded. George Orwell had his hand in; since becoming financially independent I have had to appreciate the real workings of a modern capitalist society and can compare to what I learned in history.

As surely as the revolution will sell-out, we need controls in place to help the same kind of urges from expressing themselves. Suppression of urges through enlightenment, what a wonderful refrain. I say most of the animal out there benefit from a visual reminder of what society has in store for them should they lose control and take the easy way out of a conflict. It is so easy to start a conflict but it takes a truly big man to walk away from one. The red haze comes more easily for some. Freedom will be taken for granted, I say and possibly it isnt so clear here, but this discourse is becoming rather interesting.

This post was brought to you by Anxiety . Nothing beats good ol Anxiety !

I really mean it

Thursday, March 24. 2005
OK, you fucking shitbags, it's time we had a little talk.

I can't stand your smoking around me anymore. I shouldn't have to share that gunk with you when I'm taking a piss. Or when I'm walking up the stairs, or queuing up for a coffee.

I'm not unreasonable about this. Despite the drain you place on healthcare and the taxes you waste, I'm not going to stamp on your right to smoke. I don't mind it when I go to pubs or clubs. I choose to go to those places, and I accept what I must about them.

I don't have to put up with it when I'm using the facilities of my office. I shouldn't have to put up with it with I'm lining up to buy a coffee, and by god I don't have to put up with it when I'm in the 7-11. Smoking is actually forbidden in there, you fucking spaced-out hick.

I've never understood the deal with smoking in toilets. Sitting there taking a crap while you smoke? You're a goddam pervert. Standing at the urinal having a drag? I know I don't want my dick out while I'm holding hot ash. I hope it falls on you and burns your cock off.

Smoking while you are waiting inline is for shits. Stop inflicting your sickness on others captured waiting.

And to that boys' club who smoke in the goddam stairwell: You always seem to be out there when I go for a piss or whatever. Do you actually do any work? Don't fucking smoke in the fucking stairwell. I have to walk up and down those things and you pollute them up. And especially you, with the permed mullet and the crucifix earring: You look like a Korean soap-opera star. Give me one reason why I shouldn't kick your arse to Korea.

So here's the warning: I'm getting closer and closer to snapping. Don't smoke around me in public places, because sooner or later I will snap, and then I'm going to hold your head against the nearest wall and put my fist through the back of it, via your face. You'd better hope it's not at the coffee stand, because all those plate glass shards will fall down your neck.

Thursday, March 24. 2005

A slice of history

Slow cooked over hot coals!

Given that the outstanding graphical interior of the House was built almost exclusively by the J, I may indeed be about to shock some of the regulars. They know, deep down, that as surely as Monet himself honed his talents and surely wasted as much crimson paint as canvas, so did the J have his learning curve. The early versions of the House stand as testaments to his education and, for better or for worse, do not stand out for public appraisal.

In fact, until now, none of his early digital manipulations have been on prominent public display. He mentioned the birth of the Amber Hour theory (which, due to the power of stated theory, I am powerless to confirm or deny the accuracy of his claim all I can say is I think hes right) and despite my personal haze over the table talk, the concrete details dont escape me. Since I need to get to bed, Ill fill in the spaces later and leave you with this.

The inescapable power of the amber and the grip it maintained. This wasnt all of it, but that caption does not lie.

The Commercial

Wednesday, March 23. 2005
Hi. I'm a well-known record producer. When I say well-known, I mean I'm well-known in the industry. You might've heard of me. I work with some very high-profile artists. You've almost definitely got some of the records that I've produced in your home collection.

Anyway, because I don't have the recognition of a normal celebrity, I can't command very high sums for endorsements and promotional work. This, combined with my air of commitment to hard work makes me perfect for budget-minded advertisers who are looking for someone who is both serious and credible to promote their product.

As such, I've been picked up by this company who makes canned coffee.

That's right, I'm here to tell you that despite what you might think, the recording industry is not fueled by cocaine snorted from the bellies of naked groupies, or fifth-bottles of Jack Daniels. No, I make it through my insane 20-hour days of coaxing saleable product from self-important, irritable, irritating celebrity muscians by knocking back can after can of canned coffee.

Nothing focuses my concentration like the preservatives and trace amounts of caffeine in [insert product], and I guarantee it can help you too. Your days of working unpaid overtime for a go-nowhere company will breeze by.

Trust me. You already have some of the records that I've produced in your home collection.

This is science:

Wednesday, March 23. 2005

The Amber Hour

Recently, the second anniversary of a hypothesis jointly developed by the Cat and me was marked. Though formally announced in late February 2003, the idea had been postulated in various forms as early as 1999.

References to the Amber Hour have been made on this site before, and no doubt will be again, so I thought this an appropriate time to explain in more detail what is perhaps one of the Dragon's more successful forays into science.

Of course, at the time, the Dragon was still a concept in the dark recesses of KC's mind; but it was not long after that the Dragon took form, crystallising into something which was nothing like what you see today. But that's a story for another day. The births of the Amber Hour and HotD are separated by time, but in many ways the same series of events acted as catalysts for those births.

The Amber Hour, in its present form, was articulated in a yakitori joint somewhere in Saitama. I think. I'm a little fuzzy on those details; you'll have to ask the Cat. He knows the place better than I do, though I think we were both massively drunk. Well, I know I was massively drunk and so I'm assuming KC was too.

I say hypothesis, but it's more accurate to say postulate. If you've ever studied a language for a reasonable length of time and you're not a tee-totaller, you most likely have experienced the Amber Hour. You just weren't smart enough to give it a catchy name. Welcome to the big bad world of science.

Simply put, the Amber Hour is a window of time, which exists somewhere in between when you first commence drinking, and when you puke, collapse and pass out over the bar. More specifically, it begins just after the intoxicating effects of alcohol begin, and ends when you're when you start becoming incoherent. The effects observed in the Amber Hour are consistent with the effects of alcohol consumption; increased confidence, impaired motor skills, general inhibition, and, to steal from Shakespeare, provoked desire and reduced performance.

The most important observed effect is that of improved comprehension and fluency in second languages. Yes, you are golden-tongued in the Amber Hour. Most likely a side-effect of reduced inhibition, you suddenly find yourself speaking your second language with a fluency you never had before. It will last until a point, after which you begin to lose verbal skills to the point where they're below where you started from.

The Amber Hour is a euphoric, liberating experience. As scientists, students of language and drinkers, we at the Dragon are committed to further research - with the particular aim of finding a method of prolonging the Amber Hour indefinitely. We're also looking for corporate sponsor. If you work for any reputable brewery, this is the chance for your company to be involved in some prestigious, serious linguistic research. Email the j now!

The professional

Tuesday, March 22. 2005
So I'm working full-time again for the rest of this week. Alex is away and we've got suddenly busy. It always seems to happen like that.

I started at 9:00 am today; I used to start at 8:30 when I used full-time, and I've got to say that there are more morons on the road after 8:30. And when I say morons, I mean anyone who's not me.

I don't talk about work much here, but it's on my mind so I'll lay a few things out. This site has been seen by my immediate boss, Jamie. I'm not sure if he's going to be a regular reader, but I took the liberty of deleting from the archive every instance of abuse directed at you, Jamie. I'm sure you'll find the new-look sanitised HotD to your liking, and less to my firing.

I like to think of myself as fairly professional in regard to my colleagues but today I'm going to break out a little. I'll hang on to a thin modicum of decorum by not naming names, and take it another step further and use a non-gender-specific pronoun. There is a member of our team, specifically, someone part of the art team, whom Alex and I have long suspected of having OCD. Every morning, they come in and clean their desk - and by this I mean spraying it down with alcohol and wiping everything. On worse days, this may occur several times before the end of the shift.

Alex always whispers "[They're] doing it again!" and we watch. There's something compelling about watching someone wipe down everything on their desk. I suppose it's more compelling when you suspect them of having a disorder which compels them to do it. The compulsion of OCD is certainly contagious.

Sally, one of the Project Manager Assistants, is busy driving me crazy. There's this stupid Help file I've been writing, and its path has been littered with client feedback. Everytime I change something and think I'm done, something new would come along. My temper regarding the project was not helped by frequent mistakes on my part. The database structure was originally so confused that I would make changes to the wrong file etc etc. Not really excusable, but highly frustrating nonetheless.

Something else - I wonder why all our clients seem to be so damn dumb, and some of their products so crappy. We had a couple out to replace a TV for which I'm updating a manual. They seemed to be complete boneheads, and they completely ignored me, which pissed me off. I'm writing the damn thing boneheads! Smile, or I'll put hidden messages in the text cursing you and your offspring! The TV though, is an OEM piece being made for a well-known Japanese electronics firm, who I can't name. It has a VGA-in port, and the LCD is a hefty 20 inches. It will display at resolutions higher than 800 x 600, but not legibly. A 20-inch TV that can't display crisply higher than 800 x 600! What's going on in their minds? Does anybody still use 800 x 600? (Yo' granma not withstanding.)

End invitation to litigate.

A taste for it

Sunday, March 20. 2005
The desire for revenge; the conviction in the principle of an eye for an eye. It's one of the most fundamental human urges, right? Up there with the urges to breath, to procreate, to deny universal suffrage and to drive 5.7 litre V8 sedans.

Personally, I don't believe that the desire for revenge is a fundamental human urge. That's not what I'm going to argue today, however.

Humans are the most socialogically and culturally sophisticated animals on the planet. I believe that even if the revenge beats in the heart of every human, our societies should be humane enough to supress it.

Supress it? I suppose that smacks of some kind of Orwellian Socialist utopia. The Junior Anti-Sex League. I guess what I mean is we can educate it away. Not only can, but should. Our children need to be instilled with notions of forgiveness and humanity. That hot sense of justice that consumes right-wing pro-capital punishment nutcases shouldn't should not be allowed to blossom.

I don't feel anything like righteousness when I hear about cases like the one below. I feel sad that our society fails these people twice - once by letting them get to this stage, then again by killing them.

I understand that victims (or family of victims) can have their lives destroyed by crimes like this. I don't speak from a position of experience. Yet I can not but feel that we have to agree as a society the limitations of our justice system, and accept those limitations, even when they apply to the people who have hurt and taken away from us.

To kill for killing is not the answer. Regardless of confessions, the possibility of incorrect convictions, beyond all the pros and cons, to kill for killing makes us baser than animals. It is pathetic. As humane humans, we need to rise above such childish logic and change our views of even the lowest members of our society.

In the particular case below, I find the corporal punishment administered to be particularly pathetic. I would like to at least susbcribe the notion that capital punishment is an understandable, if somewhat childish reaction, to rid society of undesireables. To inflict pain in such a way before execution is callous and shows only the lack of humaneness in some humans.

The notion of a criminal justice system being a penal system is outdated and barbaric. A shift in perception is required. The the criminal justice system is not designed to bring some kind of equalisation to victims and their families. The criminal justice system should not be designed only mete out punitive measures. The criminal justice system's ultimate goal should be the reabilitation of those than can be reabilitated, and the indefinite imprisonment of those that can not be reabilitated.

I do not care for arguments as to the costs of keeping prisoners on life sentences. The amounts your governments spend on buying weapons, on sending armies to fight pointless wars, on lying to you so that they might be re-elected and on lining their own pockets would go a long way to covering it. I ask you not what is the financial cost, but what is the social cost? I do not wish to live in a demoralised, hate-filled, revenge-seeking society.

Of course, I'm wrong. The cynic in me knows that nothing will correct your pathetic behaviour or beliefs. Humans are actually worse than animals. Nothing but a delicate thread of civilisation keeps you from murdering your fellow man for no good reason.

I say we put all of you in a giant arena, arm you with blunt weapons and let you all kill your damn selves. I know I'll feel the world is a better place.

Saturday, March 19. 2005

Where left meets right

This is no middle ground

Swing, brother, swing;
You wanted it this way.

Lost, boy, lost;
Thats one more kid wholl never go to school.

Search, all you onlookers, search;
Condemn with your voice, but your soul cannot lie to you.

Today a man who confessed to murdering seventeen children and three adults was lashed one hundred times and then hung from a crane. Capital punishment will always remain a grey area, for no case can be clear cut for such a clear-cut punishment. I am not going to talk about the situation in the USA, at least not today. Its too easy, far too easy.

This happened in Iran. Details are everywhere else; demands for your link addiction fix can be addressed via e-mail. Look it up from your source of choosing, with the slant of your preference.

The man confessed to the crines, all evidence supported him. What a strange sounding sentence. He must have felt something like guilt, remorse; the great serial killers do not, they say, they feel something approaching happiness. Dissection of such minds is a task beyond me. Killers look at the world as they look at themselves, they pick at the holes.

He killed and was in turn killed as punishment. What right do we have to chooses who lives and dies? Enlightenment is a far dream for a society that allows, not condemns this kind of action. Wouldnt it be awesome if no-one ended up in such a state that they kill? The world is vast and every possibility will play out along the infinite time-line. This world is finite but vast enough that it gets hard to tell the difference.

What I want to say is, did you hear about what happened and feel just a little bit of righteousness? That he got what he deserved, to boil it down to its essence, that he was served. I know I did.

Youll see a lot of left-wing (some might say liberal) thinking going on within these walls, but sometimes the far left and right meet back up in the middle. The fundamental idea that killing someone is wrong, wrong in any situation, undergoes intense scrutiny in the hearts of men, in the darkest recess. Are humans essentially vengeful? Take a look and see. Society has no right to decide who lives and dies, but I cannot help but smile just a little when I hear about this man hanging from a crane by his neck, being swung around for the crowd.

I think you do, too.

From The Arcade:
I am happy to announce that the legal issues surrounding our book have been settled. The rights to our own work are once again in our hands. This means you can finally expect to see new printed Penny Arcade material. Ill keep you updated.
High fives all around.

The new Weezer single hit radio not too many hours ago. I would like to congratulate the boys on their successful evolution in Kiss.

To close, I am sick as a dog. I had to assist in a move today, an event which has drained me of the will to live. Big D is coming down from Miyagi today and plans are looking a little unstable. If there is radio silence for a few days, worry not.

Everything ends where it begins

Thursday, March 17. 2005
And we were making such good progress too! The lull in updates is inexcusable, especially on my part. I've had loads to write, as usual, and felt a distinct lack of motivation, as usual.

The big news I have is that I am moved, as in I finally moved out of my old apartment. I'm now living back with Helen - her place has much more TV, broadband internet, pimpin' furniture and amicable conversation than my old place. That's not to say I don't feel fond of The Wolong St pad. It had it's charms, you can expect eulogies from both me and the Cat later on.

The moving itself took a lot longer than I had planned; not helped by the fact that I got nothing done on Friday or Saturday; In the end it took all day Sunday and half of Monday; luckily I had the morning off from work.

I'd tried hard not to buy too much crap while I've been here. I realise how much crap weighs you down, when you probably don't need any of it. Yet I seemed to have way more stuff than I ever remember acquiring. I guess that's the way of moving.

Better wrap this up and get back to work.

Monday, March 14. 2005


Phantom weather

Feels like crying out in your sleep
Trying to scream, you dont even realise its just a dream
Just a dream, yet without someone
There to wake you, shake you, hold you
Theres no sound, just turning and aching

Aching to hear that sound, scream at something
At what?
A harsh partner, a dream, who should choose what flashes
Moments you remember, all a fluke
Like a new word born out of a typo.

Feels like every foot that hit the street trampled me
And I couldnt even scream.

Shit, its cold again, and Taiwan rarely hits the international headlines. I guess the other half here knows all about it and surely has a more informed opinion that me, but I feel saddened when the only thing that keeps Taiwan in the eye of the world is the shadow of the neighbour. Military force has been approved should Taiwan try to stand on its own. I should be careful with my wording, because it is clear to all sundry that Taiwan stands very much on its own two feet, more steadily than the drunken old man across the straights. But should any words to this effect pass from one to the other, we probably wont even feel it. Well see a bright flash here in Japan and thats it.

Like a bitter old man who cant bear to see his son outdo him, I see. All I see? No. But this opinion is second in line here, on this subject. But a dirty old man shouldnt drag his neighbours into a family feud and this is a step toward that. The flash will blind us all. It is official now and hearts are vested here in the House of the Dragon.

From yesterdays media distribution comments, I flirted with the subject of music. Piracy, we shall call it, call it by its name. Theft is a harsh word and there are greater crimes afoot. Paying thirty dollars in a shopping centre for a Nickleback CD, thats a crime. Ill leave this here today.

Correspondence. The observant will see that comments are enabled even on my hallowed postings. These are utilised mainly by the J and I hope it doesnt go too far past there. I care not for the ease it lends the reader. I prefer e-mail, because even though it is still remarkably easy to send me your pissed off poorly thought out missive, it holds up a small barrier that might make you re-think. Back in the analogue era we had to write letters. Sit down, get some paper and a pen, write our thoughts in our own handwriting. No anonymous fonts here, your own, personal unforgeable handwriting. You signed it, found a envelope and had to address, stamp and seal that sucker before going out an posting it. This process, me my mind, echoed the necessary cooling off period. It gave you time to think, oh my, what if I really hurt someone with this? Would I say it to their face? Could I handle that and the reply it might generate? Stop, think, think and maybe re-think your actions.

The internet does make you stupid. It also makes you short tempered and, occasionally, fucking retarded. Its way too easy to flame off on some forum or comment just because its there and instant. IRC is plagued by this too. Man, this place is full of boys and boys are just young men, stupid by default. Such easy access to anonymous removed correspondence is just plain stupid. It hurts, words hurt, fly, sting; regrets are none too easy when you never see the guys face. So by all means, send an e-mail if you have something to say, comment if you will. Just think it through first.

Bad spelling and grammar loses points, too. Take pride in your words, dress them up like they deserve.

Its just another Monday here. Ive been making roadmaps in my head. This time next month Ill need to follow one of them and it gets harder every passing hour to know which one makes the best path. There is no best path, I know as well as you. But thats just me. It you dont play to win, get off the fucking field. History doesnt remember second place. Is life just a game? Man, I got to stop thinking like it might be. Games have referees. I must have lost sight of him, too.

I cant seem to write the obituary I want to. Every time I try, it wont come out. Like those road maps, I cant seem to get it onto paper.