True hipsters know.

Saturday, July 30. 2005

Hot coffee? No thanks, tea for me

Friday, July 29. 2005
I am going to cover my pain with a reference to GTA:SA and hope it all goes away. Which it wont, I know but at least I can sleep at night knowing that CJ is getting as much as me.

And you, hurry back selfish, I know, but come back and end this chapter, pitiful little sidenote to what may be the greatest The greatest of all time. Its going to be a long sixteen days and that is just it, I dont yet trust you not to change.

Just come back.

The Amber Hour, part II

Friday, July 29. 2005
Apologies for the extended absence. A lot has happened since I last wrote here, and I'd intended to get it down as it happened but as usual it got away from me.

Instead, for now I'm going to relate something that has been in my mind recently, and casually mentioned, without prompting, by KC too.

For a long time I've said that I don't actually mind hangovers. In my life I've only had once or twice the kind of hangover where you can't even keep water down - those are the worst.

Normal hangovers though - you drink a little water and you start to feel better. I enjoy that. And just recently I think I've figured out why. It's sometimes hard to tell the difference between feeling good and getting better, especially when you've been in such bad shape after a night of drinking. So we confuse the two.

That said, I'm not really looking for anymore hangovers.

Some honesty

Thursday, July 28. 2005
Three things.

The only thing more weird and fucked than the fact that Realdolls are actually real is that there are guys who have multiple dolls and give them all Japanese names.

Computers are way too high maintenance and my silence has been caused by a dying hard drive. Your days will soon be over, but until then its not long to go.

Theres been so much to tell you but I have had things in the way.

The last one is the hardest. I fell for the worst possible girl and shes the best but its only going to be the hardest. Thats honesty. I accept this but still I run, run from the consequences.

Maybe it will all come true and I will get sick. Honesty.

Tokyo Tales [crowded streets crowded prose]

Saturday, July 16. 2005
Afraid of the Dark

The sky around, always a grey, a patch of blue, a glow or red orange crimson at night, pink and purple when the sun slips up or down and browns and blacks when it goes sideways. A searching spotlight, the blaze along the highways, fields of neon stretching the avenues and a million evening wares all lit up so the night owls can feed. Blinding pink blue green white, even; words and pictures so the denizens can find their mark.

Its dark, but never pitch, say its never really dark. Could your eyes have really adjusted to a permanent level of light in the air? Should true black ever banished make a return to this place, would we all become blind? We would, the insides of our eyes have forgotten the feel of real darkness and become fatally attracted to these more real than real colours our science has created.

Every turn, every corner and alley, every box and shelf calls us and we cannot resist this new spectacle and drawn away from the fearful dark retreated as it has away from the city we now stay here, packed and crowded in our apartments lined with LED filled devices and walk from one fluorescent enclosure to another alone with the lights from LCD screens to guide us. Calling now are the neon marked dens of the night we have half shut out, half welcomed to the day.

Mid year announcement

Saturday, July 16. 2005
The House will endure, long after the rest have given up their voice. I promise, this house was not built on sand!

Airport lounge in Vietnam

Wednesday, July 13. 2005
Distance and loneliness, two enemies I really dont have time for now. Ive given a lot of thought to how I might just be wasting my time here for the wrong reasons, causing pain to people I care about most those family who I need more but every day I feel less and less reason to be away from.

Other sad things, I know I am more blessed than cursed but I see it every day, all around, in all places and people. We are infinite in our ability to mess up, to go the wrong way, make the wrong choice and wait at the wrong set of traffic lights. It seems that we have to grab the fleeting chances at happiness as they fly past our windows or ending up with nothing is the certain default result.

Cant I even be poetic tonight? I guess not. Following the incident a few weeks ago, there has been a semi-related exodus of staff from the vicinity. The man at the middle wakes up every day with his future no less certain that when he fell asleep. I havent heard a whisper from him, but he has the eternal comfort of Everquest to sustain him. Not to be flippant, but I hope he is using his time to do more than redigest it all. The manager of our operation is leaving at the end of the month and two other long term teachers are taking this time to move onto greener pastures. I am looking like being on of two survivors from when me moved into the current building back in March. It has been surreal. Not even a semester has passed. Surreal.

This leads to an outbreak of thinking and with no enough time for drinking, ends up as crunching.

Sufjan Stevens, for some reasons, soothes my red aching soul. He manages to fit the word emancipator into his Paul Simon-esque prose, delivered in a very Garfunkel-ish, um, delivery. Also, I do whatever Jeph tells me to.

Its nothing new, either, but since Questionable Content has been boring me lately the only reason I can think of for this is Nothing Nice To Say do the whole semi-mainstream niche music webcomic thing with a lot more menace. I mean it. Those guys have a permanent scowl.

But I still love Jeph. Someone tell him, please.

Midnight wet tales

Sunday, July 10. 2005
I used to live in Saitama city. Sakura ward, to be a little more precise, in a very nice looking building with views of the car repair shop across the street and the New Omiya Bypass just over the way. It was a half minute walk from a Seven Eleven but a punishing 15 to 20 minute slog on my ever suffering bicycle to the nearest train station. I had to leave that place a few months ago, the contract that kept me there had some trouble relating to renewal and I had to find new accommodation. So one fine day as the cherry blossoms were firing all over this city, I left like a man making a jail break without looking back and as fast as possible. I had to dispose of most of the things I had acquired and the rest I carried with me. My ever suffering bicycle, however, was left to fend for itself with a shadow of a promise that I would return to collect it someday.

Hey, I could have thrown it into the river at four am, like I did to my pot plant.

Yesterday, I went back for it. More or less three months of dust and dirt had accrued and there were a few scratches I dont remember putting there but it was there. Public transport took me back there and I was going to ride it back to civilization. The tyres were understandably a little flat but that was quickly fixed at the local repair place. The long haul back to my current squat began.

The Bypass, conveniently, runs almost directly past this place too. This is what my research had indicated. I would follow the raised highway until I saw signs pointing to familiarity and then I could use a little luck to pinpoint my exact destination. All sounded good, and possible, since I had a whole Saturday and the weather was supposed to be good. Considering it was a 7000 yen bike, it wasnt worth any more effort than that anyway. Sorry bike, but practicality rules these days.

The bike had been tagged and was due to be removed the next day. I had chosen oh-so wisely the day to end my procrastination.

I made it about 15 minutes down the bypass when the rain started. I stopped at a McDonalds to reconsider my options. There was no backing out now, so I slowly devoured at cheeseburger and waited for it to stop.

It didnt. I sat for forty minutes and no relenting was to be had. So I sucked down the last of the fries and headed out to take my punishment. The rain had washed the months of filth from my bike, so theres a positive. No umbrellas lying around. Damn, but there is a Rogers just up the road. Four hundred yen later I was set and on my way.

All was good until I crossed the Arakawa river into Itabashi. The rain started coming down even harder and it was starting to look like getting dark. Around Akatsuka the bypass morphed into a huge freeway and there was no more path running next to it to follow. I took my chances with my luck and got myself lost. Central Akatsuka had a police box and he sent me in the right direction, I had been kind of pointing in the right direction but wasnt about to find anything familiar.

I got even more lost, wound up going in a big circle and saw all the wonderful rain soaked sights of greater Akatsuka. It was shitty. But the self defence forces have a base around there and looking at it as I rolled past, reminded me of something I once saw when I first arrived in this country Cant put my finger on it, but I felt alive like I havent for a little too long. I cant say, really, what it was. There was nothing particularly impressive about that stretch of road (it wasnt a SDF building either, it was those further down the road I was looking at at the time) but the feeling in the air and the rain all around, something kicked in the middle of my head.

I was even more lost and confused about which way to head when I rolled past the police box I had first paid a visit too. I tried his directions again to find I had simply turned prematurely. I was on the way home before and had for some reason, turned. Who knows. Another police box sent me certain. I made it home soaking wet and tired, in the dark. But Id done it.

It took about four hours, at least twice what it should have. If Id known the way. But my bike is safely sitting outside my window and if I ever had to do it again, I say I could do it in an hour and a half.

Not that Im ever going back to live in Saitama again.

A mixed day

Thursday, July 7. 2005
Today didn't start well. I overslept. I woke up slightly after the time I was supposed to be at work. Not a good start. It seemed that there was some small god smiling on me though; even though I'd crashed at the gf's place (I'd planned to go home in the morning and have a shower and get changed, like I always do). The day before I'd worn two shirts, so I could wear the undershirt without anyone knowing I was recycling! Better yet, Jamie, Alex and I were going to play golf today and I was wearing a t-shirt and jeans, perfect.

I sped off and I managed to get to work only an hour late. I did manage to get pretty pissed off on the way over though. Funny how some days you seem to encounter so many idiots.

To the crusty old lady on the back of the scooter: you can stop looking at me any time you want. Any time you want.
To the prick who thought he could race me, and still managed to lose despite having a faster bike: I hope you enjoy eating shit, you shit-eating bastard.

All that had worn off after entering the office - work actually felt pretty good. Lunchtime rolled around and as planned, Jamie, Alex, Don and I headed off to smack some balls at the driving range (except Don piked en route. Piker!). I have to say that I've never been a fan of golf in anyway except for drunken putt-putt, but I really enjoyed having a hit today. Alex showed me more about how to hit correctly than I learned in several months in Phys. Ed class back in high school, but I don't think it was my much-improved skill that made me enjoyed it. It was the fellowship. It really was too bad Don couldn't have been there. The guys I work with have been great, and Jamie is a great boss. I feel bad especially because I think the tech writing team has been Jamie's success story and now it's more or less being derailed by a number of factors, not least of them staff jumping ship en masse.

And now, I'm off to babysit.

Attention please!

Wednesday, July 6. 2005
I should explain that my company has the "Japanese" thing going on, where you take your shoes off outside before coming in. It's a bit of a joke because they do it in such a half-arsed way (no shoe racks or anything) but I don't really mind. You're not supposed to leave your shoes outside the door; though this was something I assumed was a rule that everyone just ignored without great consequence. It must've been a problem though, because this appeared on the door yesterday morning:
Image courtesy Alex

Alex wasn't here at the time. He was off putting in paperwork to have his marriage recognised by the Taiwanese government, which he continuously erroneously refers to as "becoming Taiwanese", which is like saying you eat salad and become a vegetable. Sorry for that awful analogy, I was just trying to, you know, spice things up a bit.

When I saw Pitdog's note, the first thing I thought was, "this is really going to push Alex's buttons, anti-authoritarian, big-boss hatin' guy that he is".

Well, I was kinda right. It pushed his button - but not the one I thought. Instead, when I arrived at work this morning, he had a pen out and was going to correct the errors. I begged him not to, because I wanted to take a picture (...for this post). As it happened, Alex actaully had his camera (more organised than me), so he took the photo... then defaced it:
Photo courtesy of Alex

I guess it's pretty funny, considering we're a translation company.

As for myself, I don't really mind the idea of not being allowed to leave my shoes there; it's not like I really ever do anyway. I do think it's a bit heavy-handed (and possibly illegal) to permanently confiscate employees' shoes, but I'm willing to overlook that because hey, it's a damn dog! And he's talking to me! And he's called Pitdog! That's so cute!

In other news, the other day Jamie mentioned going out for a meal with all the TW staff and also hitting the driving range together. He said, "Well it's your last day after all".

That was kinda weird for me. I know it's not a huge thing to leave a job - some have people left more jobs than years I've spent in educational institutions - but it's a bit like hearing someone read your obituary.

The things is, I'm not a particularly good person at breaking things off - relationships, jobs, whatever. If you examine my record, it shows that I normally let things get to the point where they just whither and die of their own accord. I don't know, I just feel like once you say, that's it! then you've blown your load - but if you hold on to your cards you've always got choices. I realise this might not be the best strategy for all situations.

So yeah. It'll sure be weird not working here any more. There's some problems in upper management but that never really affected me, and I've enjoyed most of the work. The big deal is that I really enjoy the people I work with. That, and being allowed to surf the internet while I work. It's like give vampires blood banks and whatnot.

There you go.

I got a fever, and I'm all outta cowbells

Tuesday, July 5. 2005
Jesus crapping Christ I was not well yesterday. I sat at work all day, totally useless. My eyeballs felt like they'd been in a microwave. Somehow, I'd managed to get a fever. I guess the lack of sleep weakened my immune system. When I get a fever, I get really achey bones and joints. My achey breaky bones and joints. This, combined with the muscle pain from Sunday night's deadlift session made my entire body feel like it had been run over by Taipei peak hour traffic.

Oddly enough, I crashed at home, and after just four hours of sleep, the edge of it had been taken off. My temperature was back down towards something normal, and I'd even got my appetite back. I've never had a fever disappear so quickly.

In other news, my Lemo gag seems to have run away with itself, and I just saw the video for Green Day's Wake Me Up When September Ends. Holy shit.

Monday morning

Monday, July 4. 2005
A late night session at the gym followed by four hours of interrupted sleep is not the way to start the week.

Update: It's now 5 pm... one and a half hours to go. Sweet Jesus.

Proud Australians, a minute of silence please:

Sunday night

Sunday, July 3. 2005
Live 8: raising awareness for the new Coldplay record.
All the people who paid money for the Crazy Frog CD single: utterly beyond salvation.
Dick Cheney: unable to have an orgasm without seeing Condoleeza Rice biting the head off a live rabbit.
Condoleeza Rice: still considered a spelling error in Bill Gates world.
Sting: still not returning my phone calls.
The entire nation of people who watch Big Brother: still fucking retarded.

Its Sunday night, raining and I am hungry. You should be too.


Sunday, July 3. 2005
The situation outlined further down this page has not been resolved, nor has it gotten any worse. That is the trouble, the waiting period, this limbo where we listen for news but are condemned to not hear. My stricken colleague is at home, he was released into his wifes custody (since his alleged crime was of a non-violent nature and he is married to a local if he were not, he might well still be there). He was required to sign a release form of sorts, which included a built in statement where he was required to confess to the allegations simply to go home. He had that removed from the form before he signed it.

The entire incident has the stink of low-level blue collar racism about it, but I cannot elaborate here, not yet, so I will stop.

My sister arrived here, flight cased and ready to roll a while back. She came bearing punk rock compilation CDs from my punk ass of a little brother. I rapidly devoured these sources of Lemo nutrition, in the process of which I unwittingly listened to the music of several bands I swore never to expose my ears to. While My Chemical Romance and Jet are not as yet outlawed by the Geneva convention, they left my senses relatively innocent. The bigger issue was that, to my horror, I found I had rather enjoyed Dashboard Confessional. Thats right. The very cardboard cutouts of the Lemo scene, the original whinging white boys. Why did I like it? Because, gentle reader, I got the feeling that if I were making music, thats what it might sound like. Thats the default of my own musical abilities, level of showmanship and, dare I say it, lyrical ability. I scared myself with that last one.

Someone tell me Im wrong.