Thursday, August 25, 2005

More from The Lonely Island...

Check these out - funny stuff.

The 'Bu

Young, sexy people that live in Malibu call it The 'Bu, because when you say the entire word, it takes time, and then you wouldn't be young anymore. (Made for Channel 101)

...and listen to The Heist.

Come along to Awesometown!

This was hilarious. Via Boingboing:

...posts about The Lonely Island, an LA-based collective of funnypersons who shot a pilot for FOX called Awesometown. Fox passed, none of the networks picked it up, so the guys released the pilot on their website under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

The only joke I can ever remember...

So hence, my favorite joke:

What's Bruce Lee's favorite drink?


['Water', get it? Look it's all I got. Laugh already.]


... are considered lucky in some places.

Including Hawaii.

This is a Gecko.

It is on my window.

I will now be lucky.

[Look, they can't all be winners people... You gotta learn to roll with the punches...]


I'm taking pictures of pictures now, god help us [but all for your benefit, because I love you all so]... These are from my Fukutsu city welcome party, attended by such luminaries such the Deputy Mayor, my nominal boss the Head of the Board of Ed and other important people who's job description I couldn't quite follow.

As you may notice, yes, there was singing. They made me sing. At least they made Malik and Kathy sing too. John Denver's "Country Road" of all things. And everyone knew the song. The Japanese can be a quirky people.

And this was all the "official" welcome party. Afterwards - yes the cliche is somewhat true - we went to karaoke, and then another bar, and then yet another bar/noodle shop.

How we ever defeated this nation in a war is beyond me. Their drinking endurance alone should've propelled them to victory.

More folks who will completely kick my a$$

So I finally got back over to the gym I used to train in when we lived Fukuma side... I had gone there a couple times last week, but never when they were actually having classes... the schedule had changed a bit since I was there last.

But I finally caught up with Shoda-sensei [middle] and had an outstanding time getting knocked around for a couple hours. Oh, and as a bonus I finally figured out - through the magic powers of the internet, Google and PAYING ATTENTION - what kind of Karate gym it was. I trained there 7-8 months when we were here before and never managed to crack the code.

But it's Daido Juku Karate. An offshoot of Mas Oyama's Kyokushin Karate, established in 1981 by Takashi Azuma...

"In 1981 Takashi Azuma who is a '77 Kyokushin All Japan Champion founded Karatedo Daidojuku. Our mother art is Karatedo, but we also incorporate grappling and submission training in order to be well rounded martial artists as well as for self defenses."

It's good stuff, applying pretty much all the fundamentals of MMA [mixed martial arts]. Their competitions limit the groundwork to 30s on the ground, but the training is pretty much all around goodness...

It's funny, in looking up Daido Juku, I came across this guy's account of his time in Japan working out at a Daido Juku gym, [but it's not really that hardcore, at least in my experience... lotsa fun though]:

"Whilst in Japan, I also did a style called Daido Juku under Azuma Sensei. Australia’s Andrew Dickinson told me I should go and check out Daido Juku. I’d heard about it before and its reputation for being a very hard karate. It was a very, very scary kind of training. I went home and felt intimidated because they did train extremely hard: full contact – not just to the body, but to the head and everywhere. It was very hard training. But I joined up because they incorporated boxing into the style. They also included grappling in their training."

I totally paid ahead for a couple months training... I am so definitely getting back in the groove here, which is very cool...

Hippies vs Warmongers

Via one of my favorite blogs, Kung Fu Monkey:

...As I've posted before, I could not BELIEVE that during the last election, when we had an actual war going on right now, we were watching the Baby Boomers politicians -- AND VOTERS -- settle their Vietnam shit. No, fuck you, Pfc. Jenkins on your second tour through Fallujah, Daddy's gonna vote based on who pissed him off back in '73. I still see, in the occasional angry e-mail or comment on my site, the world "hippie" or "commie" thrown around. When I see interviews of average American folk, thsoe ideas resonate even more.

Jesus. H. Christ. Even the COMMIES don't use communism anymore. The Soviet Union's a goddam museum, Fidel rules over an empire the size of my backyard, North Korea went from "communist" to "crazy-ocracy" decades ago, and China -- China is our biggest foreign asset holder. Are they a threat? Shit yeah. Are they the exact sam ethreat in the exact same way they were twenty/thirty years ago? Hell no. The only people resembling "hippies" left are other Baby Boomers unwilling to let go of their glory days.

You understand, this isn't a liberal or conservative thing. This is just weird. By definition of the "boom" a single generation -- and hence the ossified political beliefs of that generation, for good or ill -- have enormous demographic weight. And thanks to advances in medical technology, unlike other aging voting blocs they won't ... goddam ... die. And they'll keep on voting.

So we'll keep having to put up with policy discussion framed in the terms of their youth, often in terms of enemies and issues that don't even exist anymore. We have, by the numbers, the shittiest health care system in the world, but we can't change it because that'd be "socialism." We can't have honest discussions about the best way to prosecute the war, because any disagreement of that brings back echoes of "those filthy protesters" (wrongly, of course, but it ain't helping) and appeasement. (Yeah, the Brits really appeased the shit out of the IRA. Glad they never stopped to try different approaches to the problem). Statistics show that for a younger generation, gay rights is essentially a non-issue, but older freaked-out-by-t3h-gAy voters turn out in droves to retard our evolution as a culture. We're fighting a stateless world-wide shadow organization of loosely affiliated terror networks by using the same nation-state containtment warfare model of the past. We've gone backward on our approaches to energy policy since the first massive crotch-kick of the oil embargoes. The "War" on drugs which consistently targets the identifying drug of the Boomer counterculture -- marijuana -- when redstate counties in America are screaming for help with meth.

...Conservative boomers: you did not stop communism. The fundamental untenability of communism as an economic model in the real world and human nature's corruption, combined with the evolution of information technologies -- and Pope John Paul 2 -- stopped communism.

Liberal boomers: you did not bring about civil rights. Black people who had the stones to get firehosed and killed did. Black people. It's their damn win. Lyndon Johnson's willingness to enforce the federal government's will at the point of a gun didn't hurt. Jesus, if every white person over fifty I know who said they marched with the civil rights protestors really did, they wouldn't have had time for Woodstock.



"I don't promote violence, I just encourage it..."

Fred Reed on Slavery:

...In judging slavery in the United States, which we are frequently asked to do, it is useful to ask what one would oneself do if in the situation of the slave. The question brings clarity. A wide gulf lies between tolerating the wrongs inflicted on others, and suffering them oneself. We all bear up well under the misfortunes of others.

My attitude toward slavery is about as simple as things get.

If anyone tried to enslave me, or my family, I would kill him if I could.

...Now, you may ask, does that mean that if I had been a slave I would have killed Thomas Jefferson and George Washington? Yes. A nice prose style and enlightened ideas about other things do not justify slavery. Nothing does. Not, at any rate, if I am the slave.

If this seems excessive, ask: Would you, today, allow yourself to be made the chattel of a latter-day Jefferson, or of anyone else? Your children? Then why might you expect anyone else to view things differently?

...Confusingly, many who owned slaves were not bad people. As the child of slave-owners in the rolling countryside of central Virginia, I might have known my mother to be kindly, my father to be a good-hearted man of principle who believed in fairness, the neighbors to be upright and civic-minded. The mind being the strange contrivance that it is, men of noble inclination can found a nation on freedom while having their farms worked by slaves. There was nothing unusual here. Hypocrisy is the natural condition of man. Today Christians insisting that God is Love bomb Moslem children. Praise Jesus.

...Having come to adulthood in the circumstances of Charlottesville, what would I have then done, or thought, about slavery? I might have equivocated, had qualms, as many did. I might have had my slaves freed upon my death, as many did. This of course would have amounted to saying that slavery was a great evil, but not as great as my having to do my own work. It is the exact moral equivalent of buying goods made by sweated labor abroad while making indignant noises.

...A virtue of outrage is that it requires little effort. Today, the country’s black children rot in wretched schools. This offends virtuous whites, who nonetheless do nothing about it. Neither do the children’s parents. If indignation were petroleum, Saudi Arabia would be a minor supplier. Few, however, will suffer inconvenience to end evils they do not actually see. Ah, but we talk a good show.

A great many Southerners regarded slavery with distaste, as a moral sore, Lee and Mosby among them. I might also have. Would I have given up the wealth and comfort of my plantation, suffered the opprobrium of all around me, and cast myself adrift in life from objection to slavery? Probably not. Instead I would have treated my slaves humanely, talked of the need to find some way of eventually ending the region’s peculiar institution, and enjoyed the benefits of compulsory servitude while doing nothing about it. In today’s terms, I would have been a liberal.

What would you actually have done? The world is rife with evils today. What are you doing about them? Me either. At bottom, most of us are nothing but talk.

The Big Questions...

Via Mark Morford, in his latest column titled "Ex-Cheerleaders I Never Groped - In which Mark Morford survives his high school reunion, still unmarried and childless":

...This is the high school reunion. It is the most curious thing. You attend one and you are calmly slammed up against the wall of your past, and your head convulses and you memories frappé because there are all these, you know, people, and they seem to know you, and you take one look at them and you are hurled into a nifty time warp and you say, oh my God, that's right. I remember now.

...Ah, there it is. The true Ultimate Point. I feel it now. It is, of course, the hot breath of time, bearing down. This is the dark secret of reunions: They are all about mortality. About aging and the vagaries of the flesh and, you know, death -- how fast you are racing toward it, clinging to the walls of your life like a child being dragged off to bed and you feel compelled to ask yourself, Well, how are you thwarting that feeling? What have you learned? What the hell are you doing about it?

Are you beaten down? Are you singing as you go? Screaming? Have you made the right choices since you were 18? Do you know who you are and why you're here and did it turn out at all like you imagined? Well, why the hell not? Or if so, where are you going from here?

I love Jon Stewart...

In a masculine, non-sexual kind of way, of course. He kills in this interview with Wired Magazine [also with Ben Karlin - The Daily Show's executive producer, Stewart's partner at Busboy Productions]:

...Let me ask you about the Crossfire thing - not about your critique of that show, but about the reaction to it.
Stewart: Ben was there, by the way. I remember looking out into the audience and seeing his face and realizing, "I guess this isn't going well."
Karlin: Well, we had hand signals, and before the show I made the mistake of saying that this [drawing his finger across his throat] meant "Keep on going, great, do the exact same thing." So I was frantically doing this [draws finger across throat fast].

What was the symbol for stop supposed to be?
Karlin: [Gives thumbs-up.]
Stewart: It was a stupid way to do it.

...It was also a powerful critique of television that people agreed with. It was good television.

Stewart: Boy, I never want to be part of something called "good television." I can tell you that with certainty. That is not a comfortable place to be. But you know what it was? It was a person not playing the role that is prescribed to them under normal circumstances. But I also think that it's fun for people to send those things to each other or check them out.
Karlin: Like when the whole Pat O'Brien thing was happening and his calls went online, and then someone modified them. Those were all over the place, and that by definition has to remain an underground thing. When those types of things are commodified and someone makes money off of them and all the other stuff, something else will just come in to take its place.
Stewart: That's exactly right. It will constantly be co-opted. The guy who did all those pirate media things now works for marketing companies. The first thing marketing people do is go, "Wow, that's really exciting and new and underground and authentic. Let us take it and bring it into our dark hearts." What's nice about the Internet is it's egalitarian. It is democratic in the way that it parcels interest.

...Your contract goes through 2008. How do you think people will be watching the show then?
Stewart: Through their nipples. I believe the show will come in through one nipple and will be broadcast out the other through some sort of projection device.

How to develop super-powers...

Via Mindhacks:

During World War II, the United States Navy wanted its sailors to be able to see infrared signal lights that would be invisible to the enemy. Normally, it is impossible to see infrared radiation because, as pointed out earlier, the wavelengths are too long for human photopigments... Vision scientists knew that retinal, the derivative of vitamin A, was part of every photopigment molecule and that various forms of vitamin A existed. If the retina could be encouraged to use some alternative form of vitamin A in its manufacture of photopigments, the spectral sensitivity of those photopigments would be abnormal, perhaps extending into infrared radiation. Human volunteers were fed diets rich in an alternative form of vitamin A but deficient in the usual form. Over several months, the volunteers' vision changed, giving them greater sensitivity to light of longer wavelengths.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I present the people who will be beating me up on a regular basis...

So the stocky, sweat drenched fella is Tatsuya-san, an extremely nice and cheerful gentleman who made it his mission in life to pound me into the ground when I lived in Fukuma 4 years ago. I swung by the dojo last Monday and lo and behold he was the only guy there lifting weights and working the bag... and after vainly struggling in my broken Japanese and his broken English to catch up, he proceeded to punch me in the face, kick me repeatedly in the legs and twist my joints in ways they were not meant to go.

Good times.

[Notes to self: Conditioning - gone. Strength - nonexistent. Flab - everywhere.]

Tatsuya and I actually worked together at the club I manned the door at when I was here last, the "Crazy Cock"... which is closed now, apparently. I did manage to translate that one of the guys we worked with, a Brit ex-pat, was busted running drugs [with the Chinese - I think - my Japanese bites hard] and is now serving 10 years up in Yokohama prison. Crazy stuff.

The gentleman enjoying his meal is Jon [and his lovely girlfriend, who's name escapes me at the moment - gomen nei]. Jon is a JET over in the Fukuma side of Fukutsu who actually lives in the same building Sandy and I used to. He's from Hawaii and has a background in Taekwondo, is extremely quick on his feet and kicks like a mule. On a side note, if he says one more time "Man, I'm outta shape..." as he dances circles around me peppering me with absurd kicks from outta nowhere, I may stab him.

By the way, when did a spinning back kick become an effective technique in real sparring? Never in my life had I been caught with that. Now, all the time.

Fuc*$%in TKD guys..

But Jon also has SkyPerfectTV, the satellite network here in Japan, which gets all the fighting events, so he's actually my new best friend, though he doesn't know it yet. Jon trains at the Real Lock gym, which is actually pretty close by, and I'ma drag him to the dojo at some point to see if he digs it there. His myspace page is here, btw.

So I'll probably be training at both places, and these are the folks [amongst others] who will be hurting me very badly. And very often.

I'm actually looking forward to it, which probably says all sorts of dysfuntional things about me...

Worst. Seinfeld. Impression. Ever.

What is the deal with the Japanese and their hot drinks? When I just finished biking to work in 95 degree weather and have sweat rolling off my brow... No, I would not like a hot cup of coffee or a hot cup of tea. I would like something cold and refreshing, perhaps with ice cubes. Quickly now. Go.

[Which in reality translates as "Thank you very much for your kindness" and when you aren't looking I'm going to dump this in the sink and hit the vending machine...]

Why I'd be a bad father...

Cause I agree with just about everything here:

In what other ways would I be a bad Dad? From education to alcohol, from arts to medicine, I would try to do what’s right regardless of the law or social expectations. Obviously, my course of action would have to take these into account; no one wants to go to jail or not have enough money. But while I would want my children to learn prudence and responsibility, I wouldn’t want them to value conformity, especially to an unjust regime and absurd social order. I’d rather home-school in a trailer park and be free than have a huge house in the ’burbs and send my kids to a "good" indoctrination camp.

But my biggest crime as a father would be that I’d discourage my children from going into law enforcement and the military. Rather, I’d want them to be constantly skeptical of the government’s claims that its wars are necessary and its laws are just. Yes, I would also want my children to be courageous. Physically courageous, ready to lay down their lives to save somebody in peril. But I would be a bad Dad, because I would teach my children that love of country is not the same as faith in government.

I would not want my children to sneer at cops or soldiers, or doubt their motives... But the patriotism of decent, honorable soldiers will not excuse them when they lay down their lives for their "country," if their country is in the wrong...

I would be a bad Dad because I would not want my kids to trust their leaders and obey orders.

I got your New World Order right here...

So let me see if I've got this straight... You need a SWAT team, helicopters, dogs [and possibly the National Guard] to bust some dumb kids at a rave where some of the people where engaging in illegal behavior?


On August 20th, 2005,
a promoter named Nick Mari threw an outdoor party called "Versus 2" in Spanish Fork Canyon, Utah. He went to great lengths to make sure his event was legit. He applied for and aquired permits... The event was held on the private property of Trudy and Yancy Childs... Security was hired for the event, along with off-duty EMT personnel to handle any possible situations. Security was tasked with searching cars as they came in, along with any suspicious people, to prevent drugs and weapons from being brought to the show. (These last two measures are required for a permit.) A two million dollar insurance policy was bought, to protect the concergoers. An attorney was present at the event, to insure that it would 'go off without a hitch'. 3,000 people were expected to attend.

...Utah Police, or, more specifically, 90 of them from multiple agencies, possibly including National Guard, along with a helicopter (maybe two) and numerous police dogs, had raided the event.

..."As this was going on, I watched my friend filming people getting the shit beat out of them as he walked towards the parking lot (this is the footage that was shown on all the news stations). Two cops then proceeded to knock his camera to the ground and literally body slammed him into the dirt. All for doing nothing but filming as he was walking away."

...instances cited straight out of the promoters mouth..

... One of the promoters friends (a very small female) was attacked by one of the police dogs. As she struggled to get away from it, the police tackled her. 3 grown men proceeded to KICK HER IN THE STOMACH.

...Utah Police issued a statement listing reasons for the raid, including that the party, while having a health department permit, did not have a county permit in order to operate. However, the statute reads like so:

13-4-2-1. Required.

No person shall permit, maintain, promote, conduct, advertise, act as entrepreneur, undertake, organize, manage, or sell or give tickets to an actual or reasonably anticipated assembly of two hundred fifty or more people which continues or can reasonably be expected to continue for twelve (12) or more consecutive hours, whether on public or private property unless a license to hold the assembly has first been issued by the County Commissioners.

Unfortunately, to get the license, one must first contract Porta-potties, dumpsters, medical professionals, etc. All of which comes under "promote, conduct, advertise, act as entrepreneur, undertake, organize, manage." clause. So in order to get a permit under the ordinance, you must first violate the ordinance. Also of note here is that in order to satisfy the need for this permit, the event must have more than 250 people AND continue for more than 12 consecutive hours, meaning that said permit would not be required if the number of people dropped to below 250 by 10AM Sunday morning. Again, the raid occurred at 11:30 PM Saturday. - more than 10 hours before the deadline.

"Of course, the cops say they're doing it to stop drug use but you won't see them raiding a NASCAR event for meth."

"So I got that going for me, which is nice."

Literary critic Larry McCaffery:

"One of the good things about capitalism is that it's blind to what it sells. It's willing to sell anything, even that which is damaging to it--bombs, guns, whatever you need. I'll go back to Elvis Presley, who had the biggest single influence on American culture of anybody, period. It was a profound, disruptive, dangerous change. When Elvis came out in the '50's and became huge, it opened up a new world for people, and it wasn't something the system wanted. They hated Elvis--he was white trash, and what he represented was sex and freedom."

"Sometimes when you win, you really lose...

"... Sometimes when you lose, you really win. Sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose, and sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie." - White Men Can't Jump

So, ever heard of Ralph Fisher?

"This makes him the only boxer to ever win a prizefight after being knocked out."

Monday, August 22, 2005

More of that Christian Love... [or, Who Would Jesus Assassinate? WWJA - Patent Pending]

Pat Robertson, enlightened Christian Leader, calls for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, via Media Matters:


From the August 22 broadcast of The 700 Club:

ROBERTSON: You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it... We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability.


In the immortal words of Buffy Summers, "Note to self: religion= freaky"

Sunday, August 21, 2005

This will ensure...

That Sandy gets to Japan as soon as possible.

Meiji curls and Fanta grape soda wait for her here!

[In special commemorative packaging! What it's commemorating I'm not entirely sure, but it seems awfully exciting, don't you think?]

Her cravings for said items should ensure her rapid disembarkation from the U.S.

**Little known Fanta fact!** [or maybe not so little known...]

Fanta's reputation as Nazi-cola is, to some degree, a matter of interpretation...

From the Coke Nazi Advert Challenge:

"Coca Cola's German wing (Coca Cola GmbH) worked with the Nazis, developing Fanta (a leading Coke brand) specifically for the Third Reich Market... Coca Cola (GmbH) were the German bottlers for Coke under the leadership of the CEO Max Keith (pronounced Kite)... As Max Keith supplies of Coke dwindled in 1941 he gave his last batches to Nazi soldiers.

After the US entered the war in 1941 Max Keith couldn't get Coca Cola syrup from America to make Coke, Keith invented a new drink out of the ingredients he had available to him and made it specifically for the Nazi market and the Third Reich. The drink was called Fanta. In 1943 alone he sold 3 million cases of Fanta in the Nazi empire.

Mark Prendergrast "In March of 1938, as Hitler's troops stormed across the Austrian border in the Anschluss, Max Keith convened the ninth annual concessionaire convention, with 1,500 people in attendance. Behind the main table, a huge banner proclaimed in German,"Coca -Cola is the world-famous trademark for the unique product of Coca-Cola GmbH" Directly below, three gigantic swastikas stood out, black on red. At the main table, Max Keith sat surrounded by his deputies, another swastika draped in front of him...The meeting closed with a "ceremonial pledge to Coca-Cola and a ringing three-fold "Seig-Heil" to Hitler.""

But, according to

"Until the end of the war, Coca-Cola executives in Atlanta did not know if Keith was working for the company or for the Nazis, because communication with him was impossible. Their misgivings aside, Keith was safeguarding Coca-Cola interests and people during that period of no contact. It was thanks largely to his efforts that Coca-Cola was able to re-establish production in Germany virtually immediately after World War II.

According to a report prepared by an investigator commissioned by Coca-Cola to examine Max Keith's actions during that unsupervised period, Keith had never been a Nazi, even though he'd been repeatedly pressured to become one and indeed had endured hardships because of his refusal. He also could have made a fortune for himself by bottling and selling Fanta under his own name. Instead, in the face of having to work for the German government, he kept the Coca-Cola plants in Germany running and various Coca-Cola men alive throughout the war. At the end of the conflict, he welcomed the Coca-Cola company back to its German operations and handed over both the profits from the war years and the new soft drink.

So where does all this leave the question of who or what invented Fanta and why? The truth is simple, even if it doesn't run trippingly off the tongue: Fanta was the creation of a German-born Coca-Cola man who was acting without direction from Atlanta. This man wasn't a Nazi, nor did he invent the drink at the direction of the Third Reich. Rather, in an effort to preserve Coca-Cola company assets and protect its people by way of keeping local plants operating, he formulated a new soft drink when it became impossible to produce the company's flagship product.

Fanta is still a Coca-Cola product, and today it comes in seventy different flavors (though only some are available within each of the 188 countries it is sold in)."

So see, it wasn't Nazi-cola, it was just cola marketed to Nazis!


Completely different!

UFC results

UFC 54 results, via

- James Irvin (206 lbs) def. Terry Martin (206 lbs) via KO at 9 seconds of round 2.

- Trevor Prangley (184.5 lbs) def. Travis Lutter (186 lbs) via unanimous decision after 3 rounds.

- Matt Lindland (185.5 lbs) def. Joe Doerksen (185.5 lbs) via unanimous decision after 3 rounds. Lindland said he wanted to fight Rich Franklin for the middleweight title in December.

- George St. Pierre (170 lbs) def. Frank Trigg (170 lbs) via rear naked choke submission in round 1. St. Pierre wanted a rematch with UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes.

- Diego Sanchez (170.5 lbs) def. Brian Gassaway (170 lbs) via tapout from strikes.

- Randy Couture (206 lbs) def. Mike Van Arsdale (203 lbs) via choke in round 3.

- Tim Sylvia (264 lbs) def. Tra Telligman (229 lbs) via KO in round 1. Sylvia knocked Telligman out with a left high kick to the head.

- Light Heavyweight Championship Bout: Chuck Liddell (204 lbs) def. Jeremy Horn (203 lbs) via TKO in round 4. After being knocked down, Horn told referee John McCarthy that he couldn't see and McCarthy stopped the bout. In the post fight interview, Joe Rogan asked about Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Liddelll said he would like to fight Rampage.

A Scanner Darkly - P.K. Dick

This trailer for the film [based on the book] looks very cool. The animation is a bit trippy and surreal, as befits the subject matter, actually. Similar to Linklater's Waking Life, which was also a really well done piece of animation [and philosophy].

Book description for "A Scanner Darkly":

"From Publishers Weekly
America in the near future has lost the war against drugs. Though the government tries to protect the upper class, the system is infested with undercover cops like Fred, who regularly ingests the popular Substance D as part of his ruse. The drug has caused Fred to develop a split personality, of which he is not aware; his alter ego is Bob, a drug dealer. Fred's superiors then set up a hidden holographic camera in his home as part of a sting operation against Bob. Though he appears on camera as Bob, none of Fred's co-workers catch on: since Fred, like all undercover police, wears a scramble suit that constantly changes his appearance, his colleagues don't know what he looks like. The camera in Fred/Bob's apartment reveals that Bob's intimates regularly betray one another for the chance to score more drugs. Even Donna, a young dealer whom Bob/Fred loves, prefers the drug to human contact. Originally published in 1977, the out-of-print novel comes frighteningly close to capturing the U.S. in 1991, in terms of the drug crisis and the relationships between the sexes. But the unrelenting scenes among the addicts make it a grueling read."

The other JET's

So, there's two other JET's who work for the Fukutsu Board of Ed. Both have been [and I hope you're reading this - and if you're not, what a waste of a compliment] exeptionally nice and helpful to me in transitioning to Japan.

First off, there's Kathy, in her second year of the JET program. [Sorry for using the pic of you eating Kath, it's the only one of you I had of you by yourself. That's my story and I"m sticking to it.] A relentlessly cheerful and optimistic young lady, which, btw, is refreshing to be around, cynical malcontent that I can be.

Kathy, at age 23, already has her Master's Degree, fences, plays volleyball and tennis, scuba dives, does taiko [Japanese drums] and is that person you read about that actually throws herself into whatever experience presents itself to her.

I think she's probably a cybernetic android sent from the future designed to make the rest of us feel bad about how little we do with our lives.

Of course that's only a working hypothesis.

Her weblog is here, btw ibuki16's Xanga Site

And then there's Malik. A 3rd JET, in every sense of the word. Exudes a bit of the "been there, done that" uber-relaxed vibe, which is also very cool to be around. And in the niftiest bit of synchronicity I've come across lately, a conversation in the office revealed that he's also a Robert Anton Wilson fan [one of my favorite authors] along with the gnostic classics like the works of P.K. Dick and the latest and greatest from Disinformation...

To come across that rather unusual coincidence, a fellow fan of RAW, Disinfo and the counterculture, halfway around the world in a small town in Japan... well, I think that means something.

Though I'm not entirely sure what yet.

They both worked for the Fukuma BOE before the merger, so they actually live down the road a bit. About 20-25m away by bike... So they're not in the BOE everyday, Kathy working with the clubs at the schools she teaches at and Malik doing... ummm... other things. I think. [Sorry dude, this is a place for the truth :) ]

They live right across from the JR Fukuma station [the fast train into the city] and are really centrally located to just about everything in the area. As a trade off, I think my apt is a little nicer than theirs. Or at least they paid the lip service of saying how lucky they thought I was and how nice the place is. [Which it really is. More on that later.] Sandy though, has already spoken of envy as to their location. We're actually close to a train too, the Nishitetsu line [as opposed to the JR] which is good, but muuuuuuuuch slower. If it takes 20-25 minutes to make it down to the city [20m away or so] by JR, it probably takes about 45-50m to make it by Nishitetsu.

I actually always took the Nishitetsu into the city when I worked at Crazy Cock [the bar I worked the door at when we lived here before] but that was only on the weekends. Plus, I really had no problem with the slow train... take a book and you're good to go.

For JM

"Be the best kind of policeman; the one who serves justice, the one who works not for laws and authority structures -- but for finer worlds." - Planetary, Chapter 10, Warren Ellis

The city of Fukutsu

Fukutsu, city of approximately 56,000 people. Formed in early 2005 by the combination of two towns - Fukuma [where Sandy and I lived when she did JET] and Tsuyazaki. I live in the Tsuyazaki part of Fukutsu, and as the towns just merged, the regional identities and identifications are still pretty strong.

Tsuyazaki is the more rural area, only about 15,000 people as opposed to Fukuma's 41,000 or so... so it's a little bit "inaka" [country] as they say in Japan. But mostly it's kind of a beach town. It has that feel to it. Fishing and farming and beach life. A bit more mellow than what most people imagine Japan to be. Seeing folks wandering about in tank tops and sandals is not completely uncommon. Which suits me just fine. Of course you also see things like girls in ultra mini skirts and high heel platform shoes pedaling away on their bike heading god knows where. And in the next minute see the middle aged lady biking or tending garden in 90 degree weather wearing long sleeves and gloves. And a sweater. You tend to notice these weird cultural contrasts when you're somewhere other than where you were brought up...

Anyways, the two pics are actually the same area [you've got to turn the second one 90 degrees counter clockwise to see how they match up]... but the first one, if you look carefully, is annotated with such fascinating things as - the location of our apt, the nearest "conbini" [the 7-11], the closest supermarkets, train stations, dry cleaners, location of the Board of Ed, the schools I'll be teaching at, the 100yen store [think "dollar store", but vastly superior], the location of our apt 4 years ago and other such things one needs to locate to survive straight away.

Laugh if you must, but that's what I spent my first morning of "work" doing.

And I got paid for it too.

Fukutsu-shi, Fukuoka-ken, Japan

The city of Fukutsu in the prefecture ["state" - kinda/sorta] of Fukuoka, on the southern island of Kyushu, in the nation of Japan.

Nice place.

So... we wrapped up the day and a half or so of orientation in Tokyo, which was, for the most part, innocuous and harmless. Though the one presentation I went to by Richard Graham from was really quite good. He was one of those guys whose cheerfulness and enthusiasm seems entirely too high level, but honestly, you've got to admire anybody who is that damn excited about what he does. The enthusiasm was a bit contagious and he made some great points.

So flying down to Fukuoka from Tokyo, starting to get the butterflies in the stomach as you're about to meet your new "boss" and the folks you'll be working with for at least the next year or so... Wearing a full on suit, despite the heat, having had "first impressions" drummed into us at the orientation, not to mention into me personally by my lovely better half. But it was good. Waiting for me as I exited luggage, holding a big sign with my name on it, were my supervisor [Morita-san], another board of education teacher [Nagashima-san] and the two other ALT's who work for the Fukutsu Board of Education [Kathy and Malik].

It's all a bit of a whirlwind after that... the 25m ride up to Fukutsu, going to the BOE and meeting the #2 there, as the actual head was on vacation in Hawaii... struggling through bits of English, introducing me around and then of course, out for the welcoming dinner and drinks, finally, dropping me off, exhausted, back at my brand new apt...

"Ame desu"

Which means it's raining again today.

So plans to head into Tenjin and Fukuoka city will be left to fallow until the weather decides to cooperate some weekend. No big deal really as there wasn't anything vitally important I needed to pick up, just some odds and ends I haven't been able to locate here in Fukutsu. I need one of those mega-uber Japan department stores with about 9 floors and a bakery in the basement...

Which means, instead, I'LL UPDATE MY BLOG!

Dear god, I'm turning into an even bigger geek than I was before...

But anyways, time to make some breakfast/lunch [you know, a lot of people might've just written "brunch" there - but not me - I'm a rebel - I can't be constrained by convention] and then I'll be back to post up some pics and ruminate on Japan, my job, etc, etc...

THINK about it people...

Q. How many Surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
A. A butterfly!