I'll be your nothing

Saturday, January 27. 2007
I want to be your blank stare
I want to take away your time
Reduce you to my level
Become my vacant stupor and I’ll drown your ambition
Trash your conviction and burn your reason
To the ground
To the ground

I’m a sucker, I know, but feel this all right, all good, all here…

I’m handing in my excess Punk Points, but keeping my testicles for the time being. It’s been a long while since I last found an album I really fell for, but that drought is over. From the neo-eighties pretty-boy slaying heavy sledgehammer message of the first single (I’ve been going to ‘alternative’ nights at local nightclubs and fucking right, it Ain’t A Scene, It’s A Goddamn Arms Race out there) that takes an unceremonious and unprecedented high ground. They make Hallelujahs sound acceptable in the genre. They kick my arse with the first two tracks, an almost essential weapon, and get my heartstrings swaying with a beautiful chorus (this is no bullshit) on a song called I'm Like A Lawyer With The Way I'm Always Trying To Get You Off. This is not classy, this breaks rules of restraint, it kicks like a bastard, the way I haven’t been kicked for a long while.

So I declare, Fall Out Boy, I’ll follow you Infinity On High, Jesus as my witness. I think you got lucky, hitting me at a time like this, or it could be your Goddamn Arms Race is maturing just a little.

Smashed You All

Monday, January 15. 2007
Drop and give me twenty
Aw come on, cant you make it?
Weak piece of crap, give it to me
Just roll credits on this whole sad charade.

Its off to clich-ville as we dive headlong into the world of Me Ripping On A Big Sporting Event. I dont hate too many things. Theres banks, and people who write about their cats on the internet, everyone who ever voted in a reality TV show, and that rank motherfucker who sings on the Creed records. Not forgetting anyone who has an annoying ringtone. Theres a special level of hell reserved for those people.

But right now, my seasonal swirls of hatred is aimed squarely at one thing. Tennis. Fuck tennis, fuck the people who invented it, fuck everyone who plays it and especially fuck everyone who ever played it. Ever. The circus that surrounds the big events is especially infuriating, with the media coverage only a close second to the clown factory that is the Open itself.

Its nearly as bad as an F1 Grand Prix.

Im so mad, I cant even write any more. Today they threw out a whole bunch of small minded Greeks, Serbs and Croats, and bearing in mind that its the event and existence of the sport that rankles me rather than the brainless spectators who impose their asshole-like burst of sudden Local Pride on an athlete, this is more funny to me than anything else. Yes, its stupid, retarded and ever so Neanderthal, but everyone involved knows that its all spurred on by the tiny, tiny, miniscule penises of those involved.

Go, boys, go the more patriotic you appear, the smaller your manhood. Its scientifically proven, and you play out any experiment necessary to settle the theory. Congratulations. Thanks for furthering the cause of whatever you were trying to do. Im sure the athlete of your choosing is grateful for your contribution.

I might get drunk now.

No Real Damage

Monday, January 15. 2007
The falling, and falling
Into grace, out of grace, into grace
What if my last action was callous?
My last words hateful?
My actions dictated by the now, by the emotion
Can I get rid of negatives?
Shake them off?
React, dont react

Took the dog for a walk. It was fine, and the exercise is welcome. Oh so welcome, but about me later. Getting back into the car, the dog turned on me and bit me. Hard. Didnt draw blood or do any damage, but it really hurt. My hand is going to be bruised and I can barely move it. I manage to play Final Fantasy with no trouble, but thats a sacrifice I am willing to make. I had to hang on to the dog as we drove home, then I had to feed it. I was not happy with it and I have no idea why it suddenly turned angry like that and it was pissed off about something. What? Cant say. Animals cant talk to us. The next day my Aunt looked at him and knew straight away that he was injured. So he wasnt acting out or being ungrateful or any other human emotion we humans project on to animals. He was just hurt and following instincts. And I was angry at it! Thinking about it, it was stupid and the animal might have been really seriously hurt. The dog might not love the humans, but the humans love him and would feel really bad if their last action toward it were hateful.

Enough animal talk. Bastards with cat blogs, ruin animal talk for the rest of us.

I used to have big discussions about instinct versus free will. I might have turned this into something, but there you go. Being here has made me soft in so many ways. Almost none of my clothes from less than a year ago fit quite right, some are downright embarrassingly small. I have turned into a real fat load and I aint tall enough to pull that off with any respect. Im just porky. I hate it, and must do something about it. Stuck here is very little inspiration to get out and not working means I have plenty of time to waste doing shit like play Final Fantasy. This is no good.

I went surfing with my brother. I took a surfboard to the chin and copped it good. No real damage but there was blood and there will be a bruise. I cant shave for a while, so I get to be hairy. That all works for me. Its almost time to get out of here and make it good again. Just wait and see, Ill be there and it will all be on.

Alone, a man dreams and dreams alone...

Monday, January 15. 2007
A man
Something, he cant know
Where it came from
But hes done, hes stuck
On his own work
In love with his own creation

Man does not create, he discovers. A house is a machine for living in. The pure motive.

I have all these A4 sheets of paper with big slogans printed on them. I came upon them in a box. I used to have them all up on my wall. Maybe I will again.

Final Fantasy is a winner and a danger. This time Ill finish it, I swear. And totally destroy it.

Provocation is my oxygen.

Dusty Book Covers

Monday, January 15. 2007
Shit you dont want to do
Its piling up everywhere
Crap you wanted to forget about
Keeps rolling out from under the bed
Fuck, theres none of that
How ironic that its now Im stuck out on this particular ledge
Oh well, time to suck it up
Time to break a few habits and shatter, shatter
Crush you all
In my head
Those stupid little

Dont break up, citing the need to be with your family more, than go off and start new projects one with not one but two of the three former members. If you really hate each other or something just have a public slanging match and save me the questions. Act like rap artists of something, but just let us know. Shit, they even tour and stuff, they just should have stuck together. Could I still be banging on about Blink-182? Yes, yes I am, and its justified, since the Angels and Airwaves and +44 projects have had time to settle. I liked AvA (wow, just like the MySpace kids call them!) even if it was too slow across a whole record. You can break out of that timing any time you like, boys, just like you used to do I dont even mind the heavy lyrics and the fact that penis jokes are notable only for their absence. It feels like the band I used to love and I know its all I am likely to get. The +44 record pumps up the pace, but feels like its missing something. Like the bits that shine on AvA. And well, shit. If they hated each other, plenty of other bands fucking hate each other and still make music, they just find other ways to survive the hatred. Smashing Pumpkins turned to solo albums and drugs. Faith No More to passive aggressively slandering each other in the press and having accidents on stage. Metallica got a therapist. Beck turned to Scientology. Wait, that barely counts for two reasons. And it goes on. Just tell us the truth, reform, tour so I can get that reformation tour era vintage t-shirt from the amazingly profitable merch stand and you can even pull out some of your in-between project songs to pad out the set list, because you must be sick of the same old set list, it was probably even listed in the reasons for divorce papers.

Be the dysfunctional family I need.

My dysfunctional family is the J. He doesnt write, he shacked up with a female, he barely posts the estrangement continues. So fitting I tell you of something that bonded us like superglue, or semen filled toilet paper. The attempted murder.

It was winter. The days were horribly short and I was not ready, not equipped and freezing. What to do? School was on holidays and several acquaintances had pissed off to warmer climes, the Japanese had all gone home for New Years, and the Mausoleum was particularly empty. More so than usual. But the J was around to liven things up. We celebrated by throwing the first TV off the seventh floor balcony. The New Year was rung in this way, a giant Sony Trinitron the victim of our impulses. Riding around that night we elected to hit the Bikkuri Donkey for food. They serve up Japanese style hamburgers, which are maybe hamburger steaks. No bun, just the meat, and lots of it, with a side of rice and meaningful salad. Yeah. I was a big fan of their work. But riding around in the cold, I felt a tickle in my throat. Over meat and cherry flavoured beer, it turned into pain. Later that night as I attempted to sleep, fever set in.

The next morning I was in no shape to move anywhere. But we had plans. The J had a train pass and he was going to use it, and I was to follow. Planning was a concept foreign to both of us and we knew little of the ways around Japan. I like to think I have since improved my knowledge, but this was to be my first stumbling attempt. I was sick and rugged up. No medication was in my possession. I had no fear and no brain. The J has not written of Gifu in these hallowed pages, but I have written even less about my high school days, so I will not shame him. Gifu prefecture was where the J spent a year at a local high school, falling over his erect penis chasing girls and failing like a true believer only can. He rocked and rolled, he ate donuts and got copiously drunk. But the only shagging was with his five fingered little buddy.

I will let the J slander me back for that one, since I deserve it thoroughly.

So Gifu was our destination. New Years Day, 2003. We headed into Shinjuku and had donuts for breakfast. This is possibly where the plan was forged to visit every Mister Donuts in the land we were even sober when we made the conviction. I was not doing well. The was to Gifu was little understood, so we took the special express to Matsumoto and changed to another special to get to Nagoya. This is the long way around and costs the same in Yen, but more in hours. This was before my enlightening as to scamming Japan Rail, so I paid up. I was suffering even then, with fever and a sore throat. It was fairly dark when we finally arrived in Gifu station. The J led the way to what he touted correctly as the cheapest hotel in Gifu. Cheaper than a love hotel for what its worth. Not that either of us had experienced that at the time, but hey. Whatever flies the flag.

The J was going to show me around the sights of Gifu, all the places he used to hang out and the stories and memories that went with that. By the time we ate and I wanted to sleep, I was in big, big trouble. Too much of a fever to sleep, throat too sore to really eat. I figured I might sleep it off.

I was wrong. Sea chicken and mayo rice balls for breakfast failed to help in the least. We elected to check out and carried our bags around all day. The J dragged my sorry arse all over town, up Mt. Kinkazan in search of the youth hostel (we found it and it was closed for the holidays) and back into the city. A lot had changed, he noted. Lots of closed up shops, nothing to replace them with. The Mister Donuts was still there, where he and his unruly companions drank coffee and stared at Russian prostitutes. The vending machine he used to buy nicotine from survived, as did Cats Caf, home of the 100 Yen beers. The deal may or may not have been still on offer, because we didnt check it out. Any other day it would have been on but I was suffering terribly. I cant emphasise this enough. Did he realise, and still insist on my participation? Did we have to scale the mountain in the cold with all our bags? Did he have to take the long, long way to get there? I think he knew exactly what he was doing and exactly how I was feeling thus, it was all an elaborate scheme aimed at ending my life, so he could steal my personality and identity. No-one would ever know.

Eventually, we went back to the cheap business hotel. The next day I local-trained it back to SU. The revelation that all trains are linked up and local, un-patrolled trains run everywhere, meant that I did the Tokaido-honsen for free for the first time. It takes time, but what you save is valuable cash. It was a revelation that spurs me to this day to travel for cheap, no matter how criminal. That was what I was meant to find out, that was the fever-driven epiphany I was supposed to have out there that was what the J really gave me on that cold new years holiday. That and an ongoing tonsil infection. Its really a bitch, good thing I aint an actor. At least, not a real actor.

Walking around the various cities with the J at night, be it in winter or summer, in sickness or health, or maybe on a train or bicycles. The wheels were stolen, by the way, another product of that winter holiday. These times stand out to me now, thinking of how they went by. Vivid against the darkness is the neon and the look on his face, the we can do anything look, the trouble that we wrought and the things we never even did. We never had to, because just being there was enough for me. It was, even if the plans we dreamed up but never followed on with never really occurred. We had big plans but having them did it for me.

I miss the J, I think I even miss him when hes around. When Im in Australia I am fairly hopeless, since my lack of transportability is crippling to say the least. He shouldered my responsibility and carried me this one time, the rest I like to think I helped him with some bags, while causing him seemingly endless grief of one style or another. Yep, he needs me to take a taxi to his place while he stays with his girl and forgets to give me a key, making him have to drive all across town to let me in. He needs me to be no help to his video presentation for journalism class. He needs me to be a jackass and prima-donna, then get the train back to SU to watch me play bad volleyball (a sport at which I excel) and then we talk about something totally different. Times like this, I really wonder what life would be like if we could just get our shit together long enough to stay in the same place a while. I wonder, indeed. Because I know thats what I need.

I miss Japan too, right now, even though it must be very, very cold and likely snowing in the big cities. I miss the neon glow and the sardine tin trains. I miss knowing what I could now bring to the party intentions I will have to live up to some day. Ah well, time to try and sleep.

Tomorrow a new chapter begins and its been too long.

The Real Deal

Sunday, January 14. 2007
[This will explain some stuff. Not about my lack of anything real to say, but about events. You know. Stuff. Also I started telling some stories, some consistency was creeping in. I'll try to address all that in the upcoming daze. Did I mean days? You can choose.]

Both get carried away
What is it that I want?
What am I holding onto?
Some things have to go
Loose, easier, greater
Let go, dont think, shoot high.

My parents went off camping, taking the only computer that I can get onto the internet with them. Camping. I tell you, what are they going to do with the computer? I tell you. So this stuff wont see posting until the weekend at least bear with me. Its still getting written, but circumstance cant be helped. The modem on my computer wont work here, for whatever reason. Such a crock, but there you go.

Cleaning out all my old things, deciding what to hang onto and what of my past to get rid of. Its not been easy. I found a few things work hanging onto and a lot of things I didnt want to stumble across, but facing up to it is part of the deal. I came across the Nick Earls book that the J let me read a few years ago and probably wants back. I actually think I have two Nick Earls novels of his the search for the other one will have to continue.

The photos are the hardest. As in, some things caught up in them is hard to deal with. Memories disguised as regret, old faces wrapped up in disasters. What kind of person was I? Where did he go and what has he given me, what should I think of him? What would he think of me, throwing out those pictures he once treasured? Probably not too surprised I never held onto them. The people, that is, not the pictures he couldnt imagine ever throwing them away, but I know he wouldnt be too shocked to hear I never caught the girl. He wanted to dream and did, but never followed through. There will be catches, but that ones gone.

Mind you, I still wonder what shes doing and half hope I might run into her around the place. Heres where I fall down Theres a whole lot of people I half wonder about but the possibility that I couldnt deal if they were doing too well, too happy, too successful Thats fucking horrible. Getting that thought out, fucking hell, I want to wish them the best, but theres always conditions. Not too much, not like that, not with him Sigh. I get back to it. What goes in the rubbish bag? The pamphlet from here, the map of that, this old business card, that envelope. That shit should also go there, but there aint no bag for that.

I came across my old copy of Final Fantasy VIII for PC, too. This might be dangerous. Very, very dangerous. One I get finished compiling and backing up, the computer might suck me in again. Im going through the burned CDs of movies and TV shows and condensing them to DVD and backing up my photos. Last years effort needed almost 12GB of disc to get down. Count it.

Off-Road Nightmare

Sunday, January 14. 2007
Long and lonely,
Full figure, he said
I like them chunky.

The smoke came in at night. All of the sudden the scent of burning gum trees was over the town, over the sea, over my house. The window in my room was open and before I knew it half the house smelled like bushfire. This is the closest I can remember the fires coming to town, the east side of town. Driving around that afternoon I couldnt stop thinking about how dry and yellow everything was. The grass, the trees, the people This is serious, all it would take is a single spark and the whole place is in real trouble. Most of the plant life on the continent relies on burning to propagate. The bark hangs off the trees like cloth damp with petrol, just waiting to go up and take the tree with it. The seeds will survive, the gumnuts that hold them burning into ash and then it starts again. A big and lonely, dry and dusty place. Now its drier than ever before and the people live in more and more of it, the water stretches further and further. Its all ready to burn and burn it does. The smoke pall hangs over the whole state, and people realise just how close to home it all is getting.

No-one wants to see everything go up in a blaze, no-one wants to get caught in the most unforgiving fire.

I was looking through my parents old atlas. It was published in 1989, and my how the world has changed. No wonder they couldnt really follow where I had been. Maybe Ill be getting them a new one soon.

Birds and Shoelaces

Sunday, January 14. 2007
Dig the silence
Mine the quiet
Admire the mire
And clean up after yourself.

The newspaper didnt show up today. People are lazy. Like the people who would profess that simple is elegant, just so they dont have to work hard at making something better.

Last night I watched the Al Gore documentary slash lecture, An Inconvenient Truth. Its not a big flashy doco, with enough action and controversy or emotion being worn on sleeves, nor does it bend to convention (the title alone smells elitist) but my word, is it effective. Everyone should be, by now, aware of global warming. The people who would hold themselves as skeptics on the subject were already on my its ok to beat up in the street even if theres a cop watching or even of they happen to actually be a cop themselves list. The only people who have ever benefited from ruining the planet are short-sighted buinessmen and politicians, for whom an extra level of hell will be added to Dantes vision. Dont belive them! I know Al Gore was a politician, and in a world where things worked not perfectly, but maybe above 50% - he would still be president of the United States and George Bush jokes would be passe by now. Whats he got to gain by spouting this inconvenient truth? Nothing personally, except selling books and DVDs, and methinks hes got enough cash anyway.

So am I inspired? I do what I can. My biggest point of action is transport. I love transport. Getting from one place to another, often times just to check out what is there, then going on elsewhere, comes highly reccomended. Try it some time. Quit your job, even, to have a crack at it. Its good for you. One reason I cant continue living in the countryside is the lack of it. Public transport is the best thing society could have imposed on the people. It makes a city work, hum, buzz, live. The veins and arteries of a major city now are not the congested roads, but a truly lively and healthy city will get you where you need to go without jumping in your car.

Yet given a choice, that is what too many people with that choice will do. Go by car. Weve been brainwashed, people, into a motor happy lifestyle. Too often is a fast car equated with real manhood, or freedom and power. As developed nations grow the cars have become rulers of our streets. Neighbourhoods are designed so that cars may get around easier, not the people. The histories of entire cities are wrapped up in, and in some cases, distorted by cars. The J tells me that in the early history of Brisbane a town planner behind the motorisation of the citys transport plans was actually an employee of an Ameircan car company. He told the people that cars were the future, plan now and build around their needs. I can tell you that Brisbane has very ordinary public transport. I thought people were supposed to live there, yet we still build for cars.

Cars are my enemy. I dont drive, and while I can, I dont own a car, never will and choose not to drive other peoples. As much as I can avoid it I dont ride in cars but practicalities and such mean I dont always get my way there. Australia is a very hard place to live without using cars. This is not the way it should be, it just isnt right but I make my stand, for personal better or worse I make it.

Do you think youll ever forget your own past? Or look back and the rose tinting will strip out any but the the best times? Shit, I dont like the sound of that.

The days at the I House were not all good. Left to their own selfish devices, cashed-up exchange students without any real need or motivation to study any more than the bare minimum that they can get away with leads to dramatic results. Dramatically boring and damaging, dramitically funny and dramatic results. Too many days I held up in ym room, waiting for something to happen. Its a habit I fall into all too well. To think of it now, the oppurtunities I might have created To know then what I do now, or something. Still, I fared a lot better than some people, while really failing to take advantage of a few prize chances that fell my way. I spent a lot of the colder months including some truly valuable time when the J was around living in vampire-like status. Unbelievable, but all too easy for me. Even in the summer I manage it, like right now but I maintain thats because I am a virtual prisoner. But those days came and went and in that winter, for after enduring the winter in Melbourne I landed in Japan early October to see out the mild days of late Autumn only to be thrown right back into winter again, the J came to visit. And he tried to kill me.

The Mathematics of Sin

Sunday, January 14. 2007
Ive wasted too much of my life asleep
Through the mornings,
In empty beds,
Gone while Im gone
Missing the early day feelings
I forget, forget
Where I was going with that and all that
But theres never a thunderstorm
In that distant a.m.

We dont live in a society anymore. What made the fabric of communities and social life has given way to something else. We live in an economy now.

We arent people, we are numbers in a computer. You are your bank account, your credit card and your tax file. What would happen to your life if you didnt have these around?

Dont get swallowed up in the complexities of life. Throw it all away and go live in a tree. Or dont listen to me and turn into your home loan. You wont even be that great, youll simply be the bitch who rolls and squeals in time with the moanings of your inconcievable whore. Fact: owning property in the country where I was born will be an unfulfillable fantasy for me. If I do get a loan and buy a piece of land and a house, it will still be being paid off by my as-yet non existent children. So listen to me and throw something away. Then keep doing it until theres nothing left clogging your arteries. Then you might just discover that you do indeed have a soul. Somewhere out there. Go reclaim it. You cant take your phone with you on this. Dont even bother setting the voicemail either. If you get back, you wont want to hear it. Soulless scum sucking bottom feeders, running on a treadmill in search of greater and greater meaningless bullshit rewards mmm, its so tasty

Call it amateur theology, call it parody, call it taking the piss. Please. Just pay attention to me.

I was wondering a few things. A lot of people has slighted me in this world. Enough that I have grudges Ill never settle, at least will never settle for the time periods where Im drunk and grumpy, and some of the offences cast against me are prescribed as sins by various religions. I reckon I could even come up with a few very grave ones, if I thought long and hard enough. And ignoring for now that all-encompassing wonder that it is the line about ignoring the log in your own eye, I feel I want to do some measuring. If being sinful is your one-way ticket to hell, but a certain amount will send you tu purgatory, while being clean enough is a path to heaven, how many times do you need to step on a bug to go to hell? How about dodge tram fares? Beat people up for money? Sell drugs to primary school kids? Stab strangers for pleasure? What kind of mathematical weight can we assign to particular sins and how many shoplifted magazines will tip you from an eternity on a cloud to boiling in your own urine til the end of existence? Surely calling the weedy kid a faggot isnt equal to raping an old lady, so how could it be that they are attributed the same punishment in the eyes of certain cults (I mean, churches) and all receiving an equal punishment. It just doesnt seem right.

Get back to me on that one.

But if religions are right, as in if what the prescribed doctrine coming from our spiritual leaders is correct, then there is not a single soul on this planet that will ever go anywhere but hell. We are all at fault, some way or another. Trust me on this. Especially in the eyes of the other religions. Thats the big one. So I guess the above is academically bankrupt, unimportant, meaningless. See you all down there.

The Fake Truth

Sunday, January 14. 2007
[We're back online with stuff. We were on the far side of the moon for a while, out of radio contact. But it's on, baby]

Swear to God
Its true
I think

Jeremy was, for want of a better term, the jock. Big, loud, liked to play sports and drink. But not aloof, unapproachable, or any other negative vibe, but especially among the nerd rodeo that is the exchange student arena, the jock of the party. His room was always where the party was, he was always up for a drink, and chasing girls became an obsession and torture to him. From Oregon, USA, he had both limited Japanese language skills and income because he wasnt on a scholarship like most people there. Financial constraints were always there, but advice on how to get around them was foremost in importance in the nuggets dropped from his sempai. His school had been sending students to SU for years, one at a time, and it was quite the line-up. Les had come before him and the stories that we heard from him, either directly or through Jeremy were among the most incredible. For what reasons, thats up to you to discern. Youre a discerning reader, so your judgement is recognised as sanitary.

There were a lot of internationals at SU and they all had their own reasons for being there. The majority of them, apart from the Chinese and Koreans doing their whole degree, were there to study something specific, something greater than just Japanese. However, they almost all had no Japanese skills before they came. So the pattern was to study for a semester at the International Student Centre to get some knowledge of the language and then go off to a faculty, either at SU or elsewhere. Of the places they went, there was an arts university somewhere in the prefecture. Mostly they came to study music of some kind.

Im going to start by telling you that Les saw the video. He swears its real.

A few years ago, one particular European guy was coming to study. He was going to the arts university, but first he had to get one semester of Japanese down. He was going to be a conductor. By all accounts, he was quite a strange guy. He was flamboyant, eccentric and by all accounts a right royal pervert. The word pervert implies that Im passing judgement on this guy, without detailing his crimes for you. His go beyond the usual scope, so stay tuned. I mean, guys who are studying to be conductors are always going to be a little different.

He used his charms (the record neglects to leave details of exactly what they were) but he was talented enough to have his way with the ladies often enough. The random girls, the bar chicks and Roppongi sluts. He also bought himself a video camera. In that era it would have been quite a chunky piece of work, but also with that edge of being more advanced tech than anywhere else.

He took to the practice known in Japanese as hamedori. Hameru is a crude verb, very close to the English fuck, in the sense of I fucked that chick in the alleyway behind the pub. Toru is in this use film (the verb stem becomes dori when used as a verbal suffix). And just to clarify, you have to be doing both the filming and the fucking to qualify as genuine hamedori. Our conductor friend had done what quite a few exchange students manage hed come to Japan and bought some new tech and acquired a new hobby. Some guys find snowboards lying in the rubbish collection plate. Others buy computers.

He was vocal about his conquests and could often be convinced to share his trophy films after a few drinks. Often enough this happened. But the one video that managed to live on in notoriety (given the situation, that there was a standout must be something indeed) is impressive, indeed.

Picture our protagonist reaming the unfortunate girl from behind, doggy style. In the background, over the sounds of this young lady doing her thing, is some classical music. The conductor has the camera in one hand and his baton in the other. Hes thrusting in time with the music, conducting with the baton as he does it. The image sways in time with his gyrations. Hes keeping good rhythm, so you must admire that. As the music builds to a crescendo, so does he. Everything becomes more frantic along with the music and just as the music peaks, he pulls his dick out and right at the crescendo, he drops the baton and grabs the girls hair. He pulls her around and comes right in her ear. Then the unfortunate girl turns right to the camera and looks right down the barrel. My ear? Whyd you come in my ear? she shrieks, clearly upset, red faced and suddenly not in the moment not like she was before. The picture cuts out there.

After that, drinking sessions would always feature the mimicry and cries of mimi? Doushite mimi? and someone would get humped from behind. All in good health.

So to the conductor, we salute you. I think the J around at the time that story came out. I also recall it gave him ideas. But between you and me, he was already onto that before he heard about the conductor.

無名之懦夫 - Nameless Cowards

Sunday, January 7. 2007
Well as usual more time has gone by than I wanted since my last post. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and all that. Things have indeed been happening here. KC has apparently caught gone mad and started using the word blog.

My bicycle got stolen from outside my work a week before Christmas. Motherfucker. You better hope the police find you before I do. I went and reported in to the police, who I have to say were very good about it. Police back home would have told me to piss off. The drove me to the station to file an initial report, then back to where the bike was stolen from, then back to the station to finish the report in great detail. They were so friendly it hurt.

Losing the bike has really pissed me off, and continues to piss me. The thought of my bike stolen and ridden, then sold by some arsehole is maddening but then there�s the two hours I spent looking for it and talking to the police that day, the hours (literally) I�ve spent waiting for buses that didn�t come or went to the wrong place and made me late. The parking situation around work has worsened since I last took the Husky and finding a park in the morning is more time wasted. God this pisses me off, and I�m reminded of it every day.

Christmas was low key - we didn't really have anything planned, so Dinna and I took advantage of the fact that Helen and Brian were away and used their kitchen. I cooked the traditional festive favourite of steak. I can�t remember that last time I cooked for Dinna, or even the last time I cooked.

New Year was great. Ish. Monday was unexpectedly a public holiday, so The Antagonauts played at the Living Room with Paparazzi band and Mister Green. Again, fairly low key but it was nice to be gigging on NYE. We missed the best Taipei 101 fireworks in the three years I�ve been here but I don�t regret missing the crowds there. We also didn�t miss the traffic � it was still hard to get a cab home at 3:30 am.

The same Friday of that weekend, Dinna picked up a stray Labrador that lives in our neighbourhood. She�d been eying him off for a few days and picked him up despite my protests. He is a strangely quiet dog (mostly) and was clearly dumped by an owner whom had given him some training.

We got him to the vet and found he is mostly pretty healthy, except for small problem with his hips (apparently labs and golden retrievers have a genetic predisposition) and heartworm. The heartworm is a problem � it requires more than NT10, 000 in injections to cure a dog as large as him. He weighs 35kg.

By this stage we'd already decided to keep him and after trying to think of names (my suggestions were Crankshaft and Piston) we chose 'Yingxiong' (Hero) even though he's not heroic in any way. Dinna balked at paying this much money and suggested maybe we could give Yingxiong to the pound or an animal shelter but I thought that if we'd pulled him off the streets, we might as well be good enough to actually help him. Besides, taking him to the pound would mean his destruction, undoubtedly.

(I found out this evening that Katrina had kindly put up a collection jar on the counter of Bobwundaye and put NT2000 in herself. People had put in another few hundred. Incredibly generous; I was touched.)

Today, the pathetic landlord of the other side of this building called the cops while I was playing drums at five in afternoon. Then, when I went downstairs, I found this note on door of my landlord's brother:

"Regarding your rooftop tenants playing drums, in this compound many tenants have expressed dissatisfaction at this and called the police to deal with this. Tell your tenants, 'Do not play drums at any time'. Signed, the landlord of the opposite side."

This is not the first time they've done something like this. After we moved an old bed frame over to their side of the rooftop (innocently thinking they did not use it and would not mind) a similar note was pasted on the same door. We moved the bed frame to the exact middle of the rooftop and nothing more was said. Then the wife also barged up one night when we were having a barbecue a few months back. Seeing we were only on our side and they had nothing to complain about, she left without saying anything. I believe it's that they don't like us, Dinna thinks it's that they don�t like our landlord. Fuck 'em; I'm not stopping playing for them. I don't normally play past six in the evening. Why the fuck should I put up with this when there are people renovating buildings at seven on a Sunday morning and crazy politicians going around at all hours begging for votes with bullhorns? No way. The 'many tenants' I suspect are bogus; be that as it may, these people could easily come up and talk to us themselves. Calling the cops and leaving notes on doors are the actions of nameless cowards.

Fashion statement killer

Thursday, January 4. 2007
Look beyond the borders
The state of the union
Cost of living
Cheap-ass labour
Who you fooling?

Yesterday marked a momentous occasion in the history of both Bulgaria and Romania. Both places have long, tumultuous histories as it is, both pride and falls, ambitions and empires to talk of, oppression never far away. Street parties and big, important speeches, followed by something. What, exactly? The European Union took in two new members yesterday to much fanfare but there was not nearly enough cynicism involved in the comments. Neither country is up to scratch, both getting approval because they made enough of an effort (which in reality means not a great deal) and the apparent desperation of the majority of block members. Which reasons to single out? The swing from red communist block to blue EU map has almost completed a full reverse, in Eastern Europe at least. Central Asia has taken a different path since then, and the east of east nations (Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova) as well as the mess that we call the former Yugoslavia will have to wait until theres a labour shortage in the newer EU members. Or something.

Theres that, the labour situation. The exodus of labour has been the biggest population movement in history. Not caused by war, famine or chaos, but the search for low-wage jobs that equal enough money to buy a house back home in a few years. Thats motivation, people, and get ready to see more of it get used to the idea of having Romanian neighbours. Whatever restrictions might be in place wont last forever and I am willing to bet that no matter how far away loosening the rules might be, it will be far sooner than the majority reaching equilibrium with the well-off in Sofia and Bucharest, let alone the aluminium and concrete towers of Brussels. The exodus will happen and Ill go on record saying that what we have already seen will be the first ripples.

What it boils down to is the question of what the EU is meant to achieve. A safe power bloc where people live free and prosperous lives? An economic stronghold where the bottom line is the bottom line? Something of both, or a thousand other ideas. I like to imagine it somewhere between the first two in which case, there as still a long way to go not only with the new members but the existing states. Nowhere is perfect and few things are fair, but poverty and hardships are a reality in too many places and I cannot imagine much being done to alleviate the situation. Its too easy to be cynical and look at countries in terms of GDP and labour pools, instead of places where living, breathing humans go about their lives. Too easily are individual identities lost in huge unions, just as single people are lost in masses of figures and ID card numbers. The EU has potential to do much good, especially in places that knew far too much pain in the last hundred years. It could be an awakening, but I wont hold my breath.

Cynical? Never, never ever. But The sceptic in me wants to wonder why there was such a rush to get Bulgaria and Romania in when they are clearly not ready for prime time. They were let in easily, too softly, with problems like economic reforms and corruption not yet met. Simply, they have been rewarded for not doing enough and this will lead to those needing help the most not getting it. The two nations will add thirty million people to the EUs population but only contribute 1% economically. They will take more than they can give for the foreseeable future. But most importantly, problems like endemic poverty, human rights for minorities (most notably the Roma issue), human trafficking and obscene corruption will not be dealt with, as those in power struggle to exploit as far as possible, blinded by the shiny Euro-coin shaped pie that is membership.

Not enough was done and not enough arms were twisted, so we wait and see, but the average Romanian on the street wont really be celebrating in the long term. So who will be? The rich get richer, the poor get the picture. So long.

Im going to finish with a tale. Its not cautionary, nor meaningful. Its just a story. A while back I was going to start writing the stories of what happened around the campus of the Japanese university I was studying at, because otherwise no-one would believe me and they might be forgotten. God forbid, because some unbelievable stuff came out of those times I dont know why I didnt ever do it, but I have some theories. One is that the years following that were no particularly ideal times for myself and looking back on better days is just cause for further misery. The other is I couldnt think of a good title for the series. So here, untitled, are the sordid tales of exchange students.

First it needs to be set up. At almost any given university in Japan you will find exchange students. Quite possibly, most really deserve to be called international students because they are there full time, for the whole degree, but such is the segregation inherent in the system a talk for another time. At my school, which we shall refer to as SU, they liked to use the line claiming there were 500 internationals at the school. In reality, almost 400 of them were Chinese citizens paying full fees for the privilege of studying there and a further 100 or so were Koreans in the same situation. Chinese and Koreans dont exactly stand out in the context of a Japanese university, so the international that stand out are the white people. The two Americans, the two Australians, the Finnish girl, the Polish guy, the Dutch guy, and so on. There were a good smattering of Thais and Indians too but these tales relate mostly to the Westerners. The Europeans, Americans (both north and south) and the Aussies. All said, there was maybe twenty of us. We all lived in the same place, three specially built buildings known as the International House, or I House, where only internationals were allowed to live, and then only for their first year. If we were only in it for one year, that was home for the duration. Those in for longer terms had to find alternative housing thereafter. The rent was a sightly 6000 yen a month, a real godsend and unbelievably cheap, at least ten times cheaper than the cheapest room elsewhere. No Japanese were allowed to live there. It was the exchange student ghetto. Building one had the admin, plus mostly larger rooms that held families. Building two has a mixture of bigger and smaller rooms, which were either shared by two people or just held the one. Building three, which I called home, had one each floor a family-sized room, next to which was a single room, then two twin rooms (i.e., having two rooms and ideal for housing two people). Then there was the elevator lobby, and past that were five single rooms. The single rooms were shoeboxes, in size and shape. The row of five singles had compartment bathrooms. The sink was on wheels and moved to cover the toilet and thus converted into a shower. The whole thing was washable plastic, and too small by half (approximately the size of a cupboard) and was the bane of life there. The lucky ones who ended up in the single room next to the family rooms were blessed with a real bathroom, complete with bathtub, but had to live next to a family which meant being woken up at six am every day to a TV playing local childrens programming and an Indian family having breakfast. It was Sophies choice all over again. Almost a good thing we were assigned the rooms on an almost random system.

Aside from the younger ones inhabiting the single rooms, it was mostly families and couples and such. Of the single students, a depressing number were studious and Asian. This left the whole edifice very, very quiet. We called it the Mausoleum, because everyone there seemed to be dead. However, a handful of chosen students learned that the only rules at SU were the ones you make yourself.

This is because the school can only advertise itself as being internationally minded because of the five hundred exchange students studying there only as long as none of them get kicked out. The moment one of them gets the boot, SU becomes the school that kicks out their exchange students. Reputations are a bitch. So long to make, so many Chinese students, and all it takes is one drunken white boy to ruin the party. This means that as long as its on campus, we could get away with doing whatever the hell we liked. As soon as we realised this, the rulebook was ours to write as we saw fit.

Theres the setup. Before I get moving, there is one more thing to know. In Japanese society, one of the pillars of the way things are done is the seniority system. Put simply, the older you are, the more respect you get. Those older than you are sempai, those younger are kohai. You must respect and listen to your sempai without question and in return you will receive the same treatment from your kohai. In the strictest situation, this means blind devotion, where those at the bottom are treated as little more than slaves, with absolutely no consideration. So to start in such a system means being the worm at the bottom, but one day you will get to be the giant at the top at least thats how the theory goes, for the survivors. It also breeds camaraderie in those of the same age, going through the same system together is bound to bring loyalty to anyone. Like all things in Japan, this is all slowly disintegrating, but the vestiges are hung everywhere. It gets into foreign additions, too, so among the exchange students I observed much of this learning from your seniors and passing on to your juniors. At the I House it was the done thing for the one-year exchange students to pass off anything useful or valuable to the incoming student. This could meant computer speakers, rice cookers, pillow or advice. And the stories.

Some of the stories had been passed down for years, others from the outgoing students about their own adventures. Other, long-term students had witnessed years of craziness and were fountains of such knowledge. They had passed from the realm of reality into the beginnings of folk lore and held the mystical properties of inspiration. Hearing such stories but having to believe at face value, we were inspired to run out and do our own craziness. Some stories took on such mystique that they became legend. I have told these stories in the past and wondered myself, and if I hadnt seen the place where they were born, I would possibly doubt myself if they were possible. Gentle reader, prepare thyself.

Its entirely possible, I recognise, that some stories are the victim of the process whereby facts are combined with lies to create truth. Since this process is otherwise known as journalism, Ill not shed a tear at any misuse in here.

Good Quality

Wednesday, January 3. 2007
Dont want
Dont look
Dont care
And I cant.

Whats going on in the world today? Nothing I care about. This apathy is threatening to become life threatening. Instead of more life-changing pursuits, Im spending my days trapped in a house with little hope of release since transport away from the prison is non-existent. If I was a little more pro-active, I could wrangle something, but I am just not that guy.

Plus, the activities here have expanded to running around after my two year old cousin and making sure he doesnt manage to grab the knife out of the sink and stab the dog with it. Its all an attention thing, so dont despair at my Aunts child rearing skills, but he does love to pick things up and throw them. While the remote controls have escaped destruction, a few decorations have not been so lucky.

This is veering sharply into cat blog territory. Did you know that the word blog just got pinged by the spellchecker?

I have sent box upon box of stuff home over the years. Other uprootings have created further boxes of memorabilia and hubris. It is my task to sort it all out, recover the parts with value and scuttle the remainder into the sea of remiss. Its like a salvage operation down memory lane. Theres joy, now ill-fitting t-shirts and heartbreak a-plenty. If there was some form of escape possible from the activity, it would be less unpleasant, but avoiding the task has become my main inspiration. Hence, my willingness to chase said cousin and his knives.

Coming upon things that trigger surprising responses (and by surprising, I mean disturbing) is the main reason second to laziness and this is wholly justified. Ive turned up things that have given me nightmares, and that aint any exaggeration. I know now theres things I havent forgiven myself for and in times like these, I cant help but dwell on them. Especially when a letter from the other turns up, right like an arrow in your heart. That sucks, and it also raises the question of why did I keep it in the first place? And the further question of why am I going to keep it now? Just get rid of it But it feels like theres part of myself in there somewhere. I cant help but think thats true. I know theres ever more damaging artefacts buried out in the garage. Pray for my sorry arse, Im telling you now.

But back to my cousin. Hes more entertaining than a litany of insults from Jon Steward. Or Gerald Ford. Hes the first child in that particular branch of the family tree and as such has no older sibling to look up to but he does have a dog. My Aunt breeds German Shepherds and has had one around for as long as I can remember. A new dog came along just a few months ago and the pair have become inseparable. Does the boy think he is a dog, or does the dog think that he, indeed, is a two year old boy?

Thats my life for you. I need to get out of this rut.

The Shindig

Monday, January 1. 2007
To front
In form
When where
Cant stop, addicted
To work.

In welcome news, the world stopped spinning yesterday morning for one lucky young man as the ambulance crew pierced his vein with a syringe filled with adrenaline. This young lad was not me, but one of the vast swathe of people who populate this green Earth for no apparent reason. They will not give anything, they will take, they will destroy and they will pillage. They wont even realise it, too wrapped up in their own consumerism to even notice. The kid who was vomiting in the gutter will go on to sit through four years of an engineering degree and learn more about bongs than bridges, then enter a simple life where the pursuit of low interest rates so he can go to Bali instead of Bondi for the summer holidays overrides everything and anything else. These people form a scum on the pool of humanity, and they need to be dealt with.

Since Ive found that the 99% bubbling below the surface of the white bread eating beer gut growing first world elitist pricks are all trying to rip me off, Im not on their side either. So who am I writing for? In a roundabout way, me. But to do that is just embarrassing and pointless. There is no point. Yet I continue.

Welcome back. The road has come to an end, mostly because I have no money left. Im sick of writing about that anyway, so what Im going to do is a return to an earlier form but with the forced timetable of a posting every day of January. I keep vampire like hours and want to give myself some wriggle room, so lets say 30 posts this month. I likes what I see. Theres a formula and I get bored easily, so lets see if anything holds up.

No-one knows what the right point of view is anymore, because we passed the age where the media could be relied upon to give a balanced review of something and gently ease the receiver of said media into a corner to sit in, sped on through the monopolisation of the industry where we were force fed bullshit (but then Kerry packer died, heres hoping Murdoch follows soon because his heir is equally incompetent) and onto today, where the execution of a tyrant made front pages worldwide and every singe fucking point of view, opinion, angle and viewpoint was stabbed like needles into the already clogged arteries of the audience. Honestly, I think every single possibility was vented (often in the same article) and I had to ask, are we so politically correct we must listen to this crap without exception?

I dont know what Im getting at either. Saddam Hussein was a piece of shit, nothing more. Pieces of shit get into positions of extreme power all the time and history shows how they do it and what they do when they get there. Often they look like nothing more, because they generally lose eventually, meaning that other pieces of shit get away with just looking a little tarnished. Had George W been caught in a hole by a militia, you bet wed be looking at a pixelised image of him just before the noose choke the life out of his confused brow on the front page. Yep, shit sandwiches are everywhere. Lets not forget where shit comes from. Assholes. And assholes are like opinions. Everyone has one, but we dont need to go waving it around like its something worth seeing.

A ferry sank in Indonesian waters. At least one news report got the location wrong, leaving me in awe that they could ask us to trust anything else they had to say. Im just glad I wasnt there and that no-one else ever has to go through that. Indonesia has enough trouble. Lets hope the right officials have some compassion and dont have to be bribed to help when people need. Bitter? You bet.

Bitter only on screen, boys and girls. Only on the screen. I need to focus this bitterness, even though its not really my thing, because the guy who once might have supplied it hasnt posted anything real in ages, despite regular invocations of the I have lots of stuff that is almost ready line. Done. With that. I might be setting the bar low, but at least its there. Bon voyage.

The Bancho will return when he want to. Thats in his job description.

As for me, well, the waiting lounge of life has me in limbo. But I can find other shit to talk about until I get out of this hole. Articulate is a tag I need to regain, verbose one to shed.

Im out of here.