Me and the Major?

Tuesday, January 31. 2006
Me and the Bancho could become close friends cause we
Get on the same train and he wants to talk to me
Me and the Bancho could become close friends cause we
Get on the same train and he wants to talk
But there is too much history, too much biography between us

Me and the Bancho don't see eye to eye on a
Number of things, he'll take a guy like me and then
Me and the Bancho don't see eye to eye on a
Number of things, he'll take a guy like me
And put him in the army
Cause Bush's own army makes a man of you

But he doesn't understand and he doesn't try
He knows there's something missing and he knows it's you and I
We're the younger generation, we grew up fast
All the others did drugs
They're taking it out on us
They're taking it out on us

Me and the Bancho are from different worlds, but if
I get stuck in the lift it's always with a toff
Me and the Bancho are from different worlds, but if
I get stuck in the lift it's always with a man
Of noble standing who looks down on me like I was never born

I think the Bancho's going quite insane, he goes
Along the pavement and comes back again, oh yeah
I think the Bancho's going quite insane, he goes
Along the pavement and comes back again
Like he is on parade, and he is on parade
At least he thinks so

Now he is swapping his tent for a sheltered home
He doesn't have a family, he is living alone
He remembers all the punks and the hippies too
And he remembers Roxy Music in seventy-two
He doesn't understand and he doesn't try
He knows there's something missing and he knows it's you and I
We're the younger generation, we grew up fast
All the others did drugs
They're taking it out on us
They're taking it out on us
They're taking it out on us

I want a dance, I want a drink of whisky so I
Forget the Bancho and go up the town
Because the snow is falling



Massive apologies to B and S!

Notice of Absenteeism

Saturday, January 28. 2006
I'll be riding around the island for Chinese New Year, and I don't expect to be posting any updates from the road, so this is your official notice that I won't be here. Not that anything will change significantly.

I'm taking my digital still and video cameras, and it's a sorry reflection on me that this does not guarantee I'll have something to show you when I get back.

Charles and I plan to leave later today, heading first to Taizhong. We have a basic iternary, but I fear this trip is not going to go well. We're going to buy a tent and sleeping bags in an hour, I still haven't bought a gift for Dinna's parents, or had my bike serviced. We haven't booked any hotels, and are planning on finding places to camp in cities.

I'll let you know how our disaster goes.

CNY

Wednesday, January 25. 2006
Hiatus checklist:

  • No Christmas message

  • No New Year's message

  • No explanation




I could go into details of my long, self-imposed-for-no-go-reason hiatus but that would take more time than I've got, and that's one of the reasons I've been on hiatus.

Chinese New Year begins on Saturday. In ways, I've come to hate Chinese New Year. It's such a idiotic exercise in many aspects. Everything is busy before CNY, and then you have a week of crappy holidays. See, CNY is the only string of holidays in the year. Everyone goes back to their hometown. Airline tickets go through the roof and more or less cannot be had. The island's highways are jammed. Taipei is deserted. Everything is closed.

That said, I'm hanging out for the time off like you wouldn't believe. I just can't wait for this week to be over. Today is hump day, but to speed that a long a little, it's also pay day.

Spin and spin, fall this way

Sunday, January 15. 2006
Six months ago
Id be out, walking
More wandering, since I dont know
The neighbourhood
Along the streets, looking for
Something interesting,
Seeing where the river goes;
Instead I strain my eyes with the glare
Of this screen and wish

That I could just have a little more of your attention.

Where am I?

Saturday, January 14. 2006
I am the top half of the Marunouchi line,
My wallet doesnt stretch part Ochanomizu.

I am the mountains bordering the city on the north and west,
Lined with snow but only those winter mornings.

I am the neon east of Yasukuni avenue,
But it stays on my skin and my clothes stay on.

I am the kids in Harajuku every day of the week,
And they let me in whenever I need to be at home.

I am the trees in the precious parks,
Rare edge of the scenery.

I am all alone in a club in Shibuya and home is hours away,
Dont you know that Ill be alone a lot longer than that.

I am Tokyo bay by moonlight,
One way or another all the crap this city has comes to me and I still shine.

I am the haze that hangs above us all,
I see you but you try and succeed in not seeing me.

I am the blue ocean beyond the concrete houses lining the high points of the Chuo line,
Only its not really there only in my head.

I am the homeless man sleeping under the overpass,
The traffic ignores me and as much as it keeps me up I will miss it if I go.

I am a forgotten spirit hiding away from the bulldozers in a corner of the forest,
No-one remembers I am here and wouldnt care even if they did.

I am a soul with no-where left to go except this car park under a mountain,
These sealed black windows and charcoal heater take me away.

I am a thousand desperate nights and men who pay for company,
Those ladies buy the brands with their very souls.

I am the sounds of an unbearable summers day in a pine tree,
Sticky needles and screaming insects paint a picture to everything except our eyes.

I am, I am, I am I am part of it all, but I am leaving. I am gone.

Heatstroke

Thursday, January 12. 2006
The lone soldier sits at beside his radio, waiting. Night after night, he sits. And waits. During the day he fights, fights enemies he can only just hear and sees only after he kills them. He cant ever tell if they were the right targets, technically; but if they are dead and he is not, they were right as far as he is concerned. He retreats to his safe havens at night, places he know he noises of his struggles to communicate will not cross ears set on finding him.

He grew used to hearing back, but the silence has grown deafening. It has been an eternity in his head since he heard a friendly, calming voice and he grows more agitated every day. Waiting, he is patient, but the fuel of his patience was the voices and he needed that patience to continue the fight. The fight. It will go on only as long as he does because he knows it will outlast him and he participates as long as he breathes. Theres no respite except the voices over the radio at night. During the day is heat, jungle, bullets.

Heat is all around. Everything bakes, boils or fries. It all goes eventually. Some days it is worse than others but never bearable. It is another fight all together. The night brings cool enough to rest but without the voices, it might as well be an oven in those safe places for all the respite he gets.

He cant wait any longer. Half the pain comes from knowing that the voices on the other end might have given up their fighting and crossed over. There will be no hearing from them ever again, no resonance or closure. Crossing over is the total goodbye.

Sitting by his radio, he sweats more than he does during the day. Straining to the static, he cant tell if the river coming from his tightly clenched jaw is sweat from his head, or tears, or blood. It matters not. Just a whisper

Didnt Quite Get That Far

Tuesday, January 10. 2006
Its done, finished, the time is all gone and the result is in front of you. You get out of this what you put in. Did you think your input was worth so much more? Did you expect more of yourself, maybe, or perhaps you just hate everything it took to create. Either way, it is over. Over, done. Step away and if you need to, walk away.

I remember telling you to put more effort into it all a long time ago. What difference would it have made anyway? Especially now. You dont feel anything. I imagine running a marathon, somehow making it all the way to the end and finishing near the back of the pack. All that effort and no-one but me will ever take notice past the formalities. To me, that hurts the most.

I know what you did, I know what it took and what you went through. I know it was a trial for you to get somewhere else and you will look back one day and feel something totally different to what is in your head this day.

But for today, take it for what it is, this has been a learning experience for all present.


Off in forgotten corners lie dust balls. They arent made of dust, but of memories. Memories too insubstantial to stay in their owners heads, too vaporous to cling to other memories and now too dusty to recall and recognise. These are where the in between days go. The days we did nothing, the time we let ourselves sit and go nowhere. As dusty as the memories themselves are now is how we truly were when they were created. This is how life ends without a sound. In a dark corner. Maybe a ray of sunlight will pass over them and the dim effort of recollection comes nearby, on a search for something else, only to drift away as recognition fails to place the right label. Oh well, too little, too pointless is what these days are. Remembering would only make the owners sad, so the little balls of dust crawl further away into the corner and endeavour to make sure they dont get found by accident. God save the poor soul forced to address the dusty corners of his mind through some freak accident.


White hot, I feel, as I see the second time around and realise this horrible truth. I saw this all exactly a year ago and that is when some horrible mistakes were made. The mire of last spring were born out of those black effortless throwaways. Did I learn from these lessons? Christ, looks like I didnt and that, my friend, is the only genuine mistake. Is it my fault Im probably not capable of learning from that situation? Either way, that is pointless introspection. The only important thing here is I failed. Did I repeat anything fatal? Time will tell and how I dread it


No new messages. The curse of the modern user. No-one had anything to say to me, he says, and dies a little inside. Check again. Does he even know he is killing his soul?


The whistle blows. I kick the ball off with my left foot and run onto it with my right. I stumble ever so slightly as the traction again fails to hold these boots to the dirt we play on. The ball wants to get away but I have it for now. Just got to get around this one guy, then the keeper. I can take the keeper, as I thrust the ball out an extra metre to the right and watch my opponent lunge after it. I half-skip forward and catch the ball under my right foot just in time to roll it away from his probing kick and then I turn back and away. I take my chance and run, running the ball with the outside of my foot as I half skip along. I turn to take my chance as the sweat drips in my eyes and know almost right away that it was the wrong time, I never had a chance. I hit the dirt and get an eyeful of crap, the ball cleared. I get up and jog to the back of the line to go again. Damn training drills. Why do I keep doing this? I know I got the wrong approach to it all but Ill never get it if they dont point me in the right direction Maybe Im just so bad they think it would only be a waste of time.

I rolled my ankle one too many times doing a backwards running drill. The easiest, simplest of tasks and it just went the wrong way and down I went. Couldnt walk home, not that day. Between that and the twisted knee Id managed at fourteen years old I had enough. There must be something else out there.

A Shower In The Morning

Tuesday, January 10. 2006
And a band I saw who I cant remember what they sounded like, but Christ my ears are ringing and the backup singers were fantastic.

A regular dedicated emergency, I saw you under the big screen out the front of the station. And again in the middle of the club, it was your friend wither hair all done up thrashing away at the front. I never seen a band get a room of almost all girls worked up and jumping like that; sure the guitarist clearly was in love with Slipknot (or some similar crap) but the ladies were all over your gear, fellas, you have the right strings going somewhere.

I was you, I swear, as I got my coat and turned to leave. Maybe it was divine punishment for going home early and missing the last band I told my friend it was because I had to work the next day and Im here at nearly two am typing away but I know it had to be you there again. What the hell is this, this search for flow and some form of lucidity?

I was wandering the streets of Shibuya way too late at night for the first of two consecutive Saturday nights in a row and I tell you, I never had so many Philipino ladies talk to me. It wasnt in the good, lets chat way, but more in the you pay me too much money and I do some great things with your thing kind of way. I shouldnt have been in that part of town but I was sick of the crowd in the club that night and the trains werent going anywhere for another few hours. Lucid, I was barely there when I got home. The rest of the house was still awake but my head was on another planet. The new year and I glow, the feathers gifted to me slick and all this water just flowing off my back.

Two in the morning and I hate what tomorrow will bring. The bands were good enough and my ears have never been this bad. In the future, where will I be? Vapid, but stick that guitar line behind it and you got me. Got me good. Two in the morning a few nights back and I was still on those Shibuya streets, the ones I need to start saying farewell to. I dont say farewell very well.

Damn, Im trying to escape it again but you were there in a cameo. In my very dreams. Coming Of Age Day, and I think of you every year. Stuck in a photo is the you I loved, the you I was allowed to love in a way I never ever thought Id get banned from. This is what it is, even if I choose my action there will be nothing over there to reciprocate. This is the cold morning, I tell you it must be raining but it might be sleet cause its dark so I cant see and so cold, it wouldnt matter if it started snowing. You, in my dream, last night. It was a time machine, back to a place Id never actually been. You havent either, at least that I know of. Do you still think of me, at all, ever? Dont worry, I have these moments with just about all the girls Ive slept with at some point. Damn, my head. Think of me. I know you wont dream of me.

I knew it all, what Id done and, from that place and time, what Id do to you. You were young and free, fresh like before me, before all last year, before I had to watch you get crushed. It wasnt all me. I sometimes wish it was, just so I might take responsibility. I feel that would be what I deserve and then the punishment would meet my expectations. You hadnt met me yet, what happened in my head last night is now our first meeting. Not that early evening in 2002 when you had red permed hair, that day you hadnt been able to wash your face because the water in your apartment hadnt come out. We went to karaoke and you laughed until your stomach hurt because I did my Utada Hikaru impersonation. The dance is the killer.

That day, consigned to second place. You said one thing to me last night. In an English accent, for whatever reason. And smiled, and laughed. Id have fallen if Id not known it was you.

I laughed back and you disappeared after your drunk friend. I fell into a desperation, wondering where you had gone, I didnt talk to anyone else. I didnt realise it was only a dream and despair and god knows what roused me. Dragging me from that magic place to this bed.

What will become of me. Does this day next year have the answer?


The world has transformed
I shed all that skin
The world moved along
To find I liked things just the way
They were, that funny day

I sat with my results and my envelope
Of answers, open on the concrete mountain
The end of the game, the culmination of hope
I never knew it would be
Tears, I could just as easily have stopped them
As stopped the fountain.

Cant stop the change, the flow, cant ever go back
This is why I need to go forward, go on, go on
Be a new hero, to someone special
These feet are itchy and scared of the track
Princess, dont worry, princess, so wonderful

Ill save me, I know you dont need it
But if you can simply,
Easily, someday, someday
Want it all, want at all

The world will move some more and this long game
Will only grow into more than we know.

From out the Ether

Sunday, January 8. 2006
Out here, theres nothing. The great black that surrounds us and the millions upon millions of tiny pinpricks of light that mark the ancient light of a billion stars. The explorers of the universe saw a whole lot of nothing. Here are their stories.

AD 3500
January 27th
Shit, even though I know Im trapped, theres usually nothing that makes me feel like its actually true. All I do I hurtle through space hoping to hit something. Like a pioneering kamikaze pilot intent on telling something, anything out there: we are humans. We are here. We are humans and we are here to destroy. I keep reminding myself of my mission and it gives me strength. Even though all muscle in my legs has long since wasted away. Even though The great black will probably run out before something gets in my way.

I am one of millions, hundreds of millions, just dying to find the human race something new to kill.

March 2nd
Woke up, still nothing. Took a leak. The first time in at least two years. This sustenance pumped directly into my blood not only reduces bodily functions to a bare minimum but keeps the parts working in the meantime.

Still, there aint nothing like a good slash in the morning. Is it morning? Its morning somewhere.

July 18th
Saw a comet. Then everything felt colder.


AD3501
February 11th
Came across a fellow probe. Had a good chat. He hadnt seen anything either. Hes gone now. I think his mind had started to wander.

December 5th
All the stars are gone. The guy I met in February, now I think he wasnt even there. What is going on?


***THIS IS AN AUTOMATED MESSAGE. IF IT HAS BEEN SENT, IT IS TOO LATE. THE FOLLOWING IS THE LAST VOICE RECORDING OF PROBE #3466**

Well crap. Looks like Im fucked now. Its been fun floating through nothing in a cold little capsule. I hate you all.

***MESSAGE OVER**

A crisp beach with no sand at the end, a bright light at the beginning

Monday, January 2. 2006
The light in my room has broken, so I have to make do with the scant illumination from the desk lamp on the window and the white glow of the screen. I wish sometimes there was a profound item in the drop down menu labelled Insert at the top of my screen.

The party went down in a bar right down the coast of Kanagawa. Much further than I have ever been down the Keikyu line, past central Yokosuka and well and truly into the land of the US Military Goon. Only this time, instead of being on the wrong side of 120 kilograms of bravado, stupidity and patriotism in a shitty club and hopelessly outnumbered, I was on their side. Is it not amazing what love can do? The mortal enemies of those who built this House and there we were, all cozy and friendly, drinking from the same keg. American kegs, too, from the base. Huge things that make the local variations look like slightly larger tall boys (which aint too far from the truth) and can sustain all too much beery frivolity.

I never dreamed that I would be on the receiving end of a kegstand, my legs held skyward by two guys who might just weigh more than my entire family. I think one of them was even named Duke. This is how the party begins. Raise your hand if you want to hear how it ends.

Thought so.

Drinking Hungarian magic potion on the ninety minute train ride. Which makes a lovely bookend, because thats how we got down there. Kay had e-mailed just the day before and called us out there and I had been looking for somewhere to go. Plot elements, I hear you. That magic potion followed up with a soccer ball, rescued from a fate of being hit with a car. I also won a mini grill playing bingo. Looks like this year of the dog might work out for me all better than we reckoned. Can we tell from some lucky finds and party game prizes? I hope so.

The ending was a cold beach and a sunrise. The long ride home wasnt too eventful.

Do things now, while you can.
The end might sneak up, or it might be clear.
But the result is always the same, the game always ends sometime.
Just make sure you had you crack at the play.
And do you best to pull it off because the score only matters to you.
Even of that was someone elses final call.


The endgame of a drama that began some long weeks ago finally played out. The last lines were spoken and the curtain closed. Silence filled the hall and the curtain stayed shut. At twenty two minutes past midnight, the last breath left. I was but a small part in the longer story, the smallest of factors, but I feel happy I played the part I did and made it easier. I didnt do that much but if I could have done more, I would have been there.

Maybe the most important part is what happens after 12.23 am, New Years 2006. To me, anyway. This isnt about me, but the set up is clear and now we all step back and see. See the whole picture.

I hope you see it and its as wonderful as it ought to be. Souls dont know where they go but I know they have to take something with them and it would be nothing but pride for you. Turn and face the light.