Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Something to eat, a shower, and a cold beer (with more to come). I'm sitting here comfortably in my hotel room in Nagoya. I've got a 9:30 a.m. flight to Manila, which means I have to check in at 7:30. That kinda sucks, but I'm only a ten minute walk from the terminal. I've suffered through worse than being bleary-eyed on a plane on a travel-only (i.e. non-working) day. Much worse. I feel positively relaxed right now. Just don't tell my wife...

Just Do It.

Quick Note

Sorry about not replying to recent comments, visiting friends' sites, etc. I've been really busy at work and at home getting ready to head to Manila. My trip actually starts in a couple of hours. As soon as I finish an evening class I'm off to the airport and on my way to Nagoya, where I have to stay tonight before flying to Manila tomorrow morning. I should have at least a couple of leisurely hours tonight in my hotel room in Nagoya. I'll likely be putting the hotel's beer vending machines to good use...

And, of course, aside from the regular crap you've become accustomed to, I hope to do some blogging and post a few pics while I'm in Manila...


Friday, November 26, 2010


I've actually heard people describe the blues as "depressing." I guess they don't get it. Aristotle would...


三島 由紀夫

I missed this yesterday, but 40 years ago on November 25, 1970, Mishima Yukio committed seppuku at the Tokyo headquarters of the Eastern Command of Japan's Self-Defense Forces.

I can't honestly say I know much about Mishima beyond a couple of short stories I read in university and some things my driving instructor here in Miyazaki told me one night while we were drinking. (Yeah, my driving instructor! He was an admirer of Mishima. He was also very interested in the philosophy of Foucault. In fact, my driving instructor was maybe the most interesting person I've met in Japan. We had some lively conversations, even though we were, philosophically speaking, pretty much at odds.)

I'm basically with Camus with regard to the taking of human life: if it's wrong to commit murder, then it must be wrong to murder oneself.  Still, though, if actions speak louder than words, then we know this much about Mishima: he was no bullshitter. And that says a lot about a man, whether you agree with him or not.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Black and White

Undokai! (1)

Captured from video, some scenes from a race my daughter ran in during her school's Sports Festival (undokai) this past Sunday:


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Vending Machines, No. 119

Man Overboard

Ian Hunter is about 70 years old. He's played with/written for/etc. Mott the Hoople and had a long career as a solo artist. He's been putting out good... no, *fucking good*, albums for a long time. He's a rocker.

I already know that Ian Hunter is a rocker. How can you tell (assuming you don't know how) that Ian Hunter is a rocker? You can watch this video.

He's a fucking rocker.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Dessert Whine

As much as I enjoy a nice tall cold can of beer with dinner on a Friday night, it kinda sucks when dinner's over and there's still a dog to be walked, dishes to be washed, and a kid who has to do her homework, have a bath, and be put to bed.

Better than being divorced, I guess. And there's always more beer when my work is done...

Walking Around Miyazaki Shrine (2)

Saturday, November 13, 2010



He's on the 20th or 30th or whatever floor of some kind of posh condo. It's a party. He's a bit smashed. He steps out onto the balcony for a smoke and some fresh air. The wind is blowing hard towards the harbor. He suddenly feels like throwing up. He does. Over the ledge of the balcony. A strange, seemingly gravity-defying thing happens. His vomit seems to coagulate and, carried by the wind, begin to float in the air. It slowly rises and then hovers, mere inches from his face, for several seconds. The wind changes and his vomit moves towards the harbor. As the wind picks up, his vomit begins to waft across the water to the other side of the harbor. He watches, fascinated, until it disappears. As he turns to go back inside he wonders what the odds are of his vomit hitting someone on the other side of the harbor, and he wonders what the experience would be like.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kid with a Camera: Licca-chan

I didn't take this picture. Are you relieved by that information? Heh...

Mick, on Keith

I mentioned it last week on my Twitter feed, but in case you haven't seen it, there's a very nice piece of rock journalism by Bill Wyman at Slate, in which an imaginary Mick Jagger responds to stuff said by Keith Richards in his new book. [His name is Bill Wyman, but he's not the Bill Wyman who played bass for The Stones. OK?] Great reading for Stones fans old enough to remember the "golden era" and who possibly blame Mick for all the suckiness since. It's a Mick apologia, in fact, and I found it riveting. A snippet:
It is said of me that I act above the rest of the band and prefer the company of society swells. Would you rather have had a conversation with Warren Beatty, Andy Warhol, and Ahmet Ertegun … or Keith, his drug mule Tony, and the other surly nonverbal members of his merry junkie entourage? Keith actually seems not to understand why I would want my dressing room as far away as possible from that of someone who travels with a loaded gun. And for heaven's sake. No sooner did Keith kick heroin than Charlie took it up. In the book Keith blames me for not touring during the 1980s. I was quoted, unfortunately, saying words to the effect of "the Rolling Stones are a millstone around my neck." This hurt Keith's feelings. He thinks it was a canard flung from a fleeting position of advantage in my solo career, the failing of which he delights in. He's not appreciating the cause and effect. Can you imagine going on tour with an alcoholic, a junkie, and a crackhead? Millstone wasn't even the word. I spent much of the 1980s looking for a new career, and it didn't work. If I had it to do over again I would only try harder.
Damn, that's some good shit there! The entire article is as good as that. There used to be such a thing as "rock journalism." Maybe there still is.


Last week I mentioned in passing that I really like the band Motorpsycho. "Really like" is probably a bit of an understatement.

You've probably never heard of these guys, and you probably never will. I've never, ever, heard them mentioned by anyone from anywhere in North America. [An aside: Spending more than a couple of weeks away from North America is a lot like going out into the hills to get a good look at the stars without all the "noise" from the city blocking them out. Make of that what you will...]

Anyway, what we have are a few guys who've been steadily putting out albums for about 20 years. During that time they've gone through several sounds--from EMO-ish alt rock to psychedelic to prog and metal. One of the very interesting things about Motorpsycho's music (at least to me) is how they've never really abandoned this or that "sound." One of the really exciting things about this band (at least to me) is how they're seemingly searching for some kind of Grand Unified Theory of Rock. To me, Motorpsycho is all about synthesis.

I imagine, but I really don't know, that these guys are huge in their native Norway. I also imagine that they're pretty well-known in Northern Europe. But again, I really don't know. What I do know is that I've heard very few rock bands that have lasted as long as they have that are always trying to push the music forward.

I found a couple of tunes from their most recent album on YouTube. I don't imagine any of my regular readers will like this stuff very much. That's OK, really. We like what we like. And there's also the chance that we'll surprise each other...

This first one is actually a pretty accessible tune with it's catchy guitar and Beach-Boys-meet-Yes-inspired vocals. Until it gets totally psychedelic...

This next one is... is a mind-fuck. It's very heavy/proggy. Verses chugging along in 9/4 time often tend to blow my mind (heh). The drummer in this band is an absolute monster. I dream of playing this well. This tune makes me wish I did drugs...


Saturday, November 06, 2010

Unrelated Segments

Lately I have neither the time nor the will to do any real blogging. Too busy, too distracted. Work and family are, of course, enough to occupy anyone's waking hours, but recently things seem to have switched into overdrive.
My father-in-law had multiple by-pass surgery the other day, so things have been both tense and busy around here as family members from the countryside/out of town use our place as a staging ground for hospital visits. We're the only ones living "in town," and that's where the big hospital that does stuff like heart surgery is, so...
Don't get me wrong, though. I really wouldn't have it any other way. I mean, if you can't hang for a while at a family member's place because you care about and want to check up on another family member who happens to be getting his chest ripped open by doctors we all hope know what the fuck they're doing, well, what the fuck, eh?
The day of my father-in-law's surgery we were all at the hospital. We were all allowed to be right there in ICU when they wheeled him to surgery. We were there to wish him well and cheer him on. I would in no way be bullshitting you if I told you this was one of the more poignant moments I've ever experienced. It was. I'm not sure if this kind of thing is even allowed back in Canada. It probably should be.
The surgery took about 8 hours. Everyone but me stayed at the hospital for the entire procedure. I just couldn't. I told my wife I was going home to do some housework. I wanted to be helpful, but there was no fucking way I was staying at that hospital for 8 hours. I think this has caused some tension for my wife. Now is not the time, but when her father is in the clear I'll have to tell her about the 3 days I spent on "death watch" at my own father's hospital bedside.
Anyway, that was a couple of days ago. My wife and I went to see him this evening. Visiting hours in ICU are very restricted and, unfortunately, my daughter is not allowed in. This really is too bad because I know that she's the one he really would like to see. He was napping when we went in. As he woke up, the first thing he saw was my wife standing beside a nurse. My wife is also nurse. He spoke my wife and daughter's names, momentarily thinking they were both there. I think I'd go crazy working in a hospital. It looks, though, like my father-in-law is going to pull through OK.


On top of family-related stuff there's (always) work-related stuff. Some nice folks in The Philippines and in Thailand have deemed some of my half-baked ideas about teaching English to be worthy of presentation at their (ahem!) international conferences. The first presentation is about a month away, and I've got a shitload of work to do on it. Mostly grunt work (the ideas are always in my brain! Hahaha!!!), but I've got to get it PowerPoint-ready and all that crap. And all that crap. My contract's up this school year, so I'd like to get this one paper-ready as well. Gotta put food on the table and all that crap, ya know?


Speaking of work, did anyone see the first episode of The Walking Dead? Wow! A gritty, gory TV series about the zombie apocalypse! On the same channel as Mad Men! Can't wait for the next episode. And, speaking of TV, does anyone else get the sense that TV may soon (if it isn't already) be better than movies? The best movies I've seen recently suck compared to the best TV shows. Movies have always kinda sucked at telling stories adapted from, say, novels. TV doesn't have to worry about coming in under two hours...


In my very un-humble opinion, the best rock band in the world today is Motorpsycho. They're from Norway. And man, do they kick ass.


I want a new camera.


From the Department of Things I Hate, But Many Friends (Whose Opinions I Respect) and Most of the Rest of the World Seem to Like: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; Doctor Who; musicals (film or play). These are deserving of posts of their own but, short version: The first two are related (whether they like it or not). They're neither funny enough to be comedy, nor serious enough to be SF. I don't see the appeal. Yawn. Musicals are, to me, an abomination. I know I'm in the minority, and am willing to accept that I might objectively be wrong. But, singing fucking cats and shit? Gimme a fucking break. And combining drama with music? Please. Like some French guy (I forget who) said, "Things too stupid to be spoken are often sung" (well, whoever it was said something like that).


Good night.