Saturday, July 26, 2008

Training 110-112.

3 days, 2 enkais/farewell parties, junk food, alcohol and recovery. No training, lots of junk... Basically the anti-healthy training program.

And with Thailand coming up on Thursday [to Monday] the next week or so is gonna be tough. What I can when I can.

Someone give this man a job and a bus route, please.

Man stole buses, drove them on routes, returned them at night - Boing Boing:
"The 18-year-old is accused of stealing at least three Miami-Dade Transist buses, and driving them on their routes.

Poilice say Harris wore a Miami-Dade Transit employee uniform, did not steal the fares, and returned the buses to the depot each night.

He's been charged with three counts each of third-degree grand theft and burglary of an occupied conveyance."

Friday, July 25, 2008

"Fuck Pride."

Overheard in New York | Where Fox Does Its Recruiting for Moment of Truth:
"(two guys coming out of the bar bathroom)
Guy #1: I'm taking another shot.
Guy #2: What have you got to lose? Pride? Fuck pride.
Guy #1: You're right man.

--Bar, 35th & 3rd"

Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Trailer - via ComicMix news

It's no Batman: The Animated Series a la Bruce Timm, but this looks pretty groovy.


Overheard in the Office | Where's Your Serenity Now, Suzy?:
"Account chick: Okay... Who wrote 'boobs' in my zen garden?

Salt Lake City, Utah

Overheard by: Minding my own business"

10m of Geek Awesome - "The Website Is Down: Sales Guy vs. Web Dude."

This was 10min long, but pretty damn funny.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Joe Rogan continues his philosopher-king wisdom.

Just cracks me up.

Entertainment: Joe Rogan experiences fatherhood, Zen, UFC -
"Turning 40 hasn't fazed Rogan a bit. He says he's not the type of guy to complete or set any sort of goals by these age milestones.

'I think it's all nonsense and our calendar years are silly,' Rogan says. 'You are what you are – how old would you be or feel if you had no idea how old you really were or if you didn't have some sort of chronological time table to follow? People fall into traps because of work obligations and they feel they have to get serious and grow up or act more mature, it's a bunch of (bleep). We live and then we die, we are temporary beings and you should enjoy it to the fullest. If you're 60 and you wanna go to an amusement park, go to the (bleeping) amusement park, if you want ice cream, go get an ice cream if you want it. It really doesn't matter.'

... We're (humans) the craziest little weird talking monkeys ever, these weird animals riding around on this rock that's spinning through space – there's always something to talk about.

...The only reason why I did acting in the first place was for money and I really don't enjoy working with actors. It's not fun. I loved the people I worked with on "NewsRadio" but that was more the exception than the rule... It's an annoying existence to be working with a bunch of people who want attention and want to be praised for being good at pretending because that's all acting is, pretending. I don't hate all actors, I've worked with some great ones, but most of them aren't cool and the idea of working in an environment where 70 percent of the people are nightmares, I'd much rather not do that."

Pictures from last weekend's DREAM 5 event.

Alvarez Vs Kawajiri was fight of the night, imho... those two were just swinging for the fences.

Eddie Alvarez (black trunks) vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri

Eddie Alvarez (black trunks) vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri

Eddie Alvarez (black trunks) vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri

But the Tokoro and Aoki matches were pretty damn good as well.

Hideo Tokoro (red trunks) vs. Takeshi Yamazaki

Shinya Aoki vs. Caol Uno

Pics via Sherdog.

Rick Steves on tasty travel.

I'm looking forward to hitting Thailand next week.

Rick Steves: Blog Gone Europe - Shrimps on the Barbie...We Must Be in Denmark:
"When you travel, you find the enthusiasm of locals for their national dishes rubs off on you...and you fly home with more favorite foods. Travel makes life simply more tasty, and history more poignant."

Anger for the day.

You know, I honestly don't know why I read this stuff sometimes... so much stupidity in the world, it makes my blood boil. I've yet to develop the capacity to completely ignore these people.

Fucked up prosecutors and legal system: Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > This Week in Innocence:
"DNA testing finally exonerates a Texas man for a rape he always said he didn't commit. Unfortunately, Tim Cole died in a Texas prison nine years ago. Another man confessed to the rape in 1995, but authorities ignored him."

Price gouging fear mongering douchebags: New York Yankees ban sunblock "to fight terrorism" -- sell replacements at $5/oz - Boing Boing:
"The NY Yankees banned sunblock at Yankee stadium 'to prevent terrorism.' On a blistering hot day. And sold high-markup, crappy sunblock inside the gates. You know, as soon as we said 'There is no price too high to pay in the war on terror,' we lost -- and every sleazy con-artist, profiteer, greedhead and crook won."

McCain losing his damn mind: Crooks and Liars » Time to start rationing veterans’ healthcare?:
"It seems hard to imagine a presidential candidate, running in the midst of two wars, openly speculate about cutting back on veterans’ healthcare. And yet, here we are.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain appeared Tuesday to suggest rationing of veterans’ health care may be needed so combat veterans can receive the care they deserve."

No freedom of assemby for you: Obama Berlin Speech: US Foreign Service Workers Instructed Not To Attend:
"Although it appears most of Berlin is heading to Obama's speech today, US Foreign Service personnel will be banned from the event. And they are not happy. The American Foreign Service Association, a union of Foreign Service workers are opposing the rule.

...The U.S. Embassy in Berlin has instructed Foreign Service personnel stationed there not to attend Sen. Barack Obama's public rally today, which the State Department this week labeled a "partisan political activity" prohibited under its regulations for those serving overseas.

Government employees serving in the United States are permitted to attend such events under the Hatch Act, which bars other partisan activity, such as contributing money or working in behalf of a candidate... "

The drug war is retarded... drug "warriors," morons: Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Anti-Heroin Hero Explains Why Afghan Flop Is Everyone Else's Fault:
"...Thomas Schweich, a former State Department counternarcotics official, asks, "Is Afghanistan a Narco-State?" Schweich takes 5,500 words to tell his tale of how the good work of brave, committed drug warriors like himself was stymied by "an odd cabal of timorous Europeans, myopic media outlets, corrupt Afghans, blinkered Pentagon officers, politically motivated Democrats and the Taliban." But the short answer to the headine question is yes. A more interesting question, one that Schweich never asks: Why is Afghanistan a narco-state?

...critics of Schweich's gung-ho approach, including American and British military officials, view the anti-drug fight as not just distracting but counterproductive, alienating Afghan farmers and strengthening the Taliban. Schweich reports he was astonished to discover that "British forces—centered in Helmand—actually issued leaflets and bought radio advertisements telling the local criminals that the British military was not part of the anti-poppy effort." Schweich brags that he put a stop to that. But is it really so crazy to reassure people whose support you're trying to win (or whose violent opposition you're trying to avoid) that your aim is not to deprive them of their livelihood or to wipe out half of their country's economy?"

According to Dr Edgar Mitchell, sixth man to walk on the Moon - Aliens are real, there has been a cover-up.

One part batshit crazy, one part 'you know it's true.'

The Astronaut, the Aliens, and the Hype | TDG - Science, Magick, Myth and History:
"Dr Edgar Mitchell, sixth man to walk on the Moon, has set tongues a'wagging all over the world with his revelations in a radio interview that Earth has been visited by aliens, and that the government has covered it up (not to mention, 'I think we're heading for real disclosure'). Rick and RPJ covered it over the past couple of days, when it was an 'underground' thing, but now it's hit mainstream - check the frenzied press coverage via Google News.

...NASA's response ('Dr Mitchell is a great American, but we do not share his opinion on this issue.').

It should be an interesting story to follow."

6th man on moon says space aliens are real - Boing Boing:
"On July 23, 2008 Edgar Mitchell was interviewed on Kerrang Radio. Mitchell claimed the Roswell crash was real and that Aliens have contacted humans several times but that governments have hidden the truth for 60 years stating 'I happen to have been privileged enough to be in on the fact that we've been visited on this planet and the UFO phenomena is real'."

Elementary School Jōruri Performance and Chorus Group *UPDATED* with the video of the full performance.*.

So I got an invitation to check out some of kids from one of my elementary schools giving a Jōruri performance. Which is, if you're uneducated in the ways of Japanese culture - like I am - via Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Jōruri (music), a type of sung narrative with shamisen accompaniment, typically found in Bunraku, a traditional Japanese puppet theatre."

The kids were really, really good. Talented and adorable. Japan will rule the world, clearly.

*UPDATED* with the full performance below:

As an aside, "Jōruri" is an incredibly difficult word to pronounce. It doesn't sound like you think it does, and I have it on good authority - from everyone who heard me try to say it - that you're doing it wrong.

I was going to make a joke about how all this video equipment is oh so typically Japanese, but parents are the same in the States. And who am I to talk? I was snapping vids and pics the whole time as well. Ah well, less funny but more truthful.

Apparently, the performance was in support of an awareness meeting for a future Red Cross Blood Drive [I think - interpretations by me are always at risk of being amazingly wrong].

So there were other groups/performances, including a youth chorus from the area I've seen, maybe a half dozen times by now. But have failed to every actually get their proper name, despite several Christmas and Spring Break shows I've attended. Didn't look like the full complement today, kids are always busy with a million different things here in Japan in the summer, but I was kinda surprised to notice that about half of the kids in the chorus were or are my students. Graduates, elementary school and Jr high are all represented.

And one of the numbers they did was "Do-Re-Mi." And I figured, since the Mrs forces me to sit through "The Sound of Music" EVERY. DAMN. THANKSGIVING. that it'd be worth a taping. Didn't get 100% of it, but given the lag time between realizing what they were singing and firing up the video, got most of it.

Talented kids, so here 'tis

Japanese Youth Chorus Performing Do-Re-Mi from Rob Pugh on Vimeo.

And that is an afternoon of work during summer vacation. My job, it does rocketh.

Training 109.

PT - AM - Hindu pushups 10, Hindu squats 20, Pullups 4, Pushups 10, Squats 20, Glute ham bridge 10, Bridge 20count
PM - 30m Rutten MMA wkout/boxing 2m rounds - 10m relaxed kicking

- coffee w/cream, equal - shake w/peanut butter, eggs, equal, cream, water - 2 diet sodas - steak/mayo - jerky - 1L water

Go Chimp Go!

Chimpanzee escapes from zoo, battles zookeepers | Japan Probe:
"At Ishikawa Zoo, western Japan a 42-year-old chimpanzee named Ichiro led the audacious break-out from his pen and refused to come down from the roof."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The truth is a harsh mistress.

Overheard Everywhere | You're Like Two-Legged Mace:
"Girl (about her college): The on-campus security is really good too, the campus police will get to you in like, 30 seconds. I'm still thinking about getting mace or something.
Girl's younger brother: No one wants to rape you.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania"

No one will ever ask these to Obama or McCain. Entirely too substantive.

The political scene has once again cynicalized [it's a word] me. Whatever enthusiasm I felt for Obama has vaporized in light of his FISA vote and his ludicrous about face on that most meaningless of psuedo patriotic tokens, the wearing of the flag pin. Yet he remains, imho, a superior choice to the out-of-touch warmongering geriatric that is John McCain. Anyways, these are some appropriate questions for a Presidential candidate. That, of course, we'll never actually hear addressed.

Criminal justice unfairly ignored on trail - Radley Balko -
"...Given that enforcing federal law is one of the few presidential powers explicitly prescribed the Constitution, here are some criminal justice policy questions for John McCain and Barack Obama:


• Though the Constitution defines just three federal crimes (piracy, treason and counterfeiting), the federal government’s role in law enforcement has increased massively in the past 30 years. The federal criminal code today contains more than 4,000 separate offenses. Do you think this federalization of crime is in general a good or bad thing?

• We don’t have the resources to enforce all of these laws, so presidents effectively make public policy when they choose which federal laws they’ll enforce. What sort of crimes will take priority in your administration: Public corruption? Drug laws? Civil rights? Antitrust? Immigration? Terrorism? Obscenity?


• The Bush administration argues that some areas of U.S. law have global jurisdiction. For example, the Justice Department has arrested several online gambling executives, despite the fact that these executives are citizens of countries where online gambling is legal. The companies are also incorporated in countries where online gambling is legal. The DOJ is using similar tactics in tax and accounting cases. Critics say this is arrogant overreach and may lead to retaliatory arrests of U.S. citizens overseas. What’s your position? Should U.S. law apply around the world?

• There have been 218 exonerations (and counting) since the development of DNA testing. Critics say these exonerations have exposed troubling flaws in the criminal justice system. Moreover, these exonerations have been only in the small subset of cases where DNA evidence is dispositive of guilt, meaning prosecutorial misconduct, police misconduct, problems with forensic and eyewitness testimony, and/or other flaws are likely present in cases for which DNA testing isn’t relevant. What do you make of these DNA exonerations? Do you think our criminal justice system gets it right an acceptable percentage of the time?

• Since 2006, Congress has appropriated $14 million to the Justice Department to disburse to states for post-conviction DNA testing. As of January of this year, DOJ hadn’t spent the first dollar. Do you support post-conviction DNA testing? Do you support federal funding for it?

• America has long, and understandably, drawn a clear line between military and domestic law enforcement. But that line has blurred over the past 30 years. Today, many domestic police departments across America use surplus military equipment from the Pentagon, including tanks, armored personnel carriers and high-powered weapons. Our police are also increasingly using military tactics, terminology and training. Does this concern you?

• Currently, prosecutors enjoy almost complete immunity from civil lawsuits, even in cases of clear misconduct, such as intentionally withholding exculpatory evidence. Would you support giving prosecutors more accountability, such as the qualified immunity afforded to police officers? What sort of oversight will your administration implement to ensure U.S. attorneys are playing by the rules? What discipline will you take against those who don’t?


• Do you believe the drug war is still winnable? What would success look like? How do you plan to win it, and why will your plan work where previous administrations have failed?"

Training 108.

Nutrition - coffee w/cream, equal - 2.5 diet sodas - 1.2L water - 2 steaks - shake w/eggs, cream, peanut butter, equal, water

PT - 30m Rutten MMA Wkout/Thai boxing 2m rounds - Circuit 3x - One arm DB snatch 10x35/35/25, One arm DB swing 10x35/35/25, Chins 6/5 [5 assisted]/4 [6 assisted], Pushups 10/10/10, Thrusters 10x50x3

Inspiration: CrossFit Philosophy:
"'Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, clean and jerk, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.'"

Lion released into the wild remembers the people who raised him.

This is really kind of cool. A little cheesy, but cool.

Crooks and Liars » What an unbelievable story: Christian, A true Lion King:
"...A couple raised a lion cub in the UK and eventually he got too big to handle so they brought Christian back to Africa. A year later they visited him even though there was a great chance that he would have—forgotten them—and not been very kind since he lived in the wild and all, but surprisingly he remembered them. The affection he showed was pretty remarkable."

What I've Read - Thai mysteries, Buffy and The Question. Oh, and enlightenment.

Bangkok Haunts by John Burdett - third in a series of mysteries set in Thailand [which is kind of synchronistically appropriate as I head there for a few days next week] this continued in the vein of the earlier books, in that it was excellent, and I enjoyed it a great deal. Mysteries + cultural exploration + in this novel, a smattering of the supernatural. Really good stuff.

From The New Yorker
Sonchai Jitpleecheep, the hero of Burdett’s Bangkok-based thrillers, is a unique police detective. A Buddhist as closely attuned to karma as to crime, Sonchai is profoundly aware that the latter is only an expression of the former, and, accordingly, he finds answers in places that logic-hampered Westerners would never know to look. In his third adventure to date, a murdered prostitute proves to be—even more in death than she was in life—a femme fatale of special magnitude. As in previous episodes, the pleasures derive less from Burdett’s baroque plotting (in this case including former Khmer Rouge hired killers, a pornography ring debased even by Bangkok standards, and a death by torture involving elephants) than from the vivid portrait he paints of contemporary Thai life and mores.
Copyright © 2007 Click here to subscribe to The New Yorker

No Future For You (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 2) by Brian K. Vaughan, Joss Whedon, Georges Jeanty, Cliff Richards, Jo Chen - Volume 2 of season 8 continues, written by the talented B.K. Vaughan with continued "showrunning" by Whedon himself. Excellent art, and this volume gives you a Faith/Giles arc. Which, you know, rocks. Continued excellence for Season 8.

Eisner award-winning writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) tackles Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight with "No Future for You." When a rogue debutant Slayer begins to use her power for evil, Giles is forced to recruit the rebellious Faith, who isn't exactly known for her good deeds. Giles offers Faith a clean slate if she can stop this snooty Slayer from wreaking total havoc - that is, if Buffy doesn't beat her to it.

Everyday Enlightenment: The Twelve Gateways to Personal Growth by Dan Millman - There's probably no better author, imho, who takes the big picture philosophical issues and breaks them down to street level brass tacks. While nothing will ever match up with my first read of Way of the Peaceful Warrior in high school [god, almost 20 years ago?] I've gotten valuable stuff from every book of Millman's that I've read. This one included. Good stuff.

Turn everyday life into a spiritual adventure. Dan Millmans Twelve Gateways to Personal Growth uncover the hidden purpose of life, a road map to the higher reaches of human potential. Everyday Enlightenment shows how to, discover your worth, energize your body, tame your mind, trust your intuition, accept your emotions, face your fears, illuminate your shadow.

The Question Vol. 2: Poisoned Ground by Dennis O'Neil - Volume 2 of Denny O'Neil's groundbreaking late 80s Question run. Immensely enjoyable and thought provoking back then, it remains incredibly solid to this day. I'd daresay it doesn't show it's age at all. And along with Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, taught me both that comics could be mature literature and shaped my thought processes, philosophically speaking, for years to come. Through those three I had my first tastes of both zen and existentialism, which remain with me to this day.

...collecting the 1980s adventures of The Question, the faceless, morally conflicted avenger based in corrupt Hub City! A martial arts master, The Question delved into Eastern philosophy as he battled crime and the crooked politicians of his hometown.

In this second volume that collects THE QUESTION #7-12, The Question tracks a killer to a distant island prison and becomes involved with a gambling crimelord.

And reading Volume 2 prompted a re-read of DC Universe: Helltown by Dennis O'Neil - his modern day prose re-telling of the same basic story covered in three years of the comics, just published last year. Continued awesomeness.

"I spent every Sunday... sitting in a medieval torture chamber listening to a bloke bang on about his imaginary friend who did magic tricks."

Hilariously awesome.

Red hot enlightenment led me to believe in one fewer god |
"...I don't give a stuff what people believe in, but it won't stop me poking at it or prodding it. Why should religion be any exemption?

...I spent every Sunday for the first 18 years of my life sitting in a medieval torture chamber listening to a bloke bang on about his imaginary friend who did magic tricks. Then the next 20 years massaging, editing and pruning the brainwashing into something that fit until suddenly I woke up one day and realised I was an atheist.

...I question some of my progressive, believing mates about if they believe in Noah's ark, the Immaculate Conception, Adam and Eve, the Resurrection, even heaven, and they squirm a little and try to change the subject. They get vague, defensive and then start muttering something about faith and mystery and a power of love that unites us all.

Sure, it would be easy to torture them, but they're adults and it's their life. I just can't see why it's so difficult to have a rigorous discussion about it. I feel no need to convert them. I just want them to know that if you are brave enough to place your hand through the invisible electric fence there's a bigger world beyond.

It's been a revelation to me a year since my "epiphany". I feel as if I'm walking through life with the blinkers off. Suddenly all the religious mumbo-jumbo jumps out as so bonkers. Wearing certain things, eating certain things, mumbling certain things at certain times so some imaginary friend will let you into a club in the sky when you die. I want to do my living now, thanks. I'm not afraid of dying. I'm afraid of never having lived.

...I don't care what people believe in, but I do care that religion impacts on political discourse, public policy and that it stunts the ability of people to think for themselves and question. And that it kills people and causes suffering. But most of all I care that the invisible electric fences that are wired in the minds of children brainwashed by religion are difficult to remove. And impossible if you don't even know they're there..."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"Positive Messages."

"Martin Seligman on the state of psychology" - Well worth watching.

"Martin Seligman talks about psychology -- as a field of study and as it works one-on-one with each patient and each practitioner. As it moves beyond a focus on disease, what can modern psychology help us to become?

...Martin Seligman founded the field of positive psychology in 2000, and has devoted his career since then to furthering the study of positive emotion, positive character traits, and positive institutions. It's a fascinating field of study that had few empirical, scientific measures -- traditional clinical psychology focusing more on the repair of unhappy states than the propagation and nurturing of happy ones. In his pioneering work, Seligman directs the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, developing clinical tools and training the next generation of positive psychologists.

His earlier work focused on perhaps the opposite state: learned helplessness, in which a person feels he or she is powerless to change a situation that is, in fact, changeable. Seligman is an often-cited authority in this field as well -- in fact, his is the 13th most likely name to pop up in a general psych textbook. He was the leading consultant on a Consumer Reports study on long-term psychotherapy, and has developed several common pre-employment tests, including the Seligman Attributional Style Questionnaire (SASQ)."

Training 107.

Apparently, a kinda crappy day + Kahlua in the house = my Kryptonite.

No PT, not much healthy food to speak of. Coffee w/equal, milk. A couple diet sodas, and a buncha Kahluas and Milk. And a steak.

Tomorrow is another day.

Bicycle Travails - Ain't that a bitch?/How lucky is that?

So, I needed to get a new bike, as after three years the old one was showing some serious wear and tear - one brake was shot, the gears were slipping - so at Costco on Sunday I picked up this:

Good, yeah? And the super special bonus, I can now pedal a bike without smacking my knees into the handlebars.

But, as I bought it from Costco, and it's American style, it means that the tires/valves, as seen here -

- are different than 90% [warning, all figures pulled completely out of thin air] of the tires/valves in Japan, as seen here -

- so none of the pumps we have worked with it.

So during lunch hour I pedaled over to the bike shop using my old standby and bought their one, only, and last pump that worked with American style schrader valves.

Huzzah! Success! Good to go!

Except, as I pedal not 20 yards out of the parking lot, this happens -

- and no fat jokes people, I've been losing weight recently. Of course three years dragging around my heavier than the Japanese-usual frame probably did not help with the metal fatigue.

So, in the midday sun, I got to push my busted up bike, pedal sheered in two, chain askew all over the place, from the other side of town. I tried to ride it like a push scooter for a while, only to discover the trip back is surprisingly mostly uphill.

So, on the plus side, I picked up a new bike just as the old one breathes its last breath. Fortuitous, that. And, luckily, I didn't wipe out and completely bust my ass when my pedal snapped. It was close though.

On the other hand, the suck hand, pushing my bike across town in the middle of the heat wave that is summer in Japan sucked pretty hard, and my brief affair with having two bikes, one for me and the mrs, once again died a quick death.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunday afternoon at Costco Japan.

Too. Many. Damn. People.

You know... Japan IS an overwhelmingly polite country. There just seem to be, you know, exceptions...

I understand different cultures have different definitions of personal space, but if you've bumped into me more than once, and there's no one behind you, you are too fucking close. BACK. OFF. One more time and I'm laying you out, old lady. And your kid and your grandmother too.

When you're shopping, there are two options. Option one, push your cart along. Option two, stop, move over to the side and examine an item. Option three is not - stop in the middle of the aisle for no apparent reason, blocking people both behind and in front of you while you stare off into space. There is no option three. Move your ass.

That is all.

Weird Shopping in Japan - Americana.

Not "weird" per se... but unusual for Japan leastways. Old style bus, old style truck, plus the flag. You don't see it everyday...

Weird Shopping in Japan - "bi cats brothers."

Bi and brothers? That just seems inappropriate.

Weird Shopping in Japan - Weed Kickboxing Gym.

Not exactly "shopping"... but still... Weed! Weeeeeeed.

You know Nick Diaz would love to train here.

[Explaining the Nick Diaz joke - Nick Diaz - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"On April 10, 2007, the Nevada State Athletic Commission announced that Diaz failed the drug test that was taken shortly before his win over Takanori Gomi, testing positive for marijuana. The NSAC has declared the fight a 'No Contest' and has suspended him for 6 months with a fine of 20% of his earnings ($3,000) won from the fight against Gomi. The Commission felt that the result of Diaz's THC test, an enormous 175, was a contributing factor in his performance during the fight. Commission Chairman Dr. Tony Alamo said that while a result of 15 is considered positive, the NSAC has a threshold of 50 for athletes. He also believes they “feel very comfortable that everyone that tests positive in Nevada is truly positive."]

Natsukashi, ne?

Not for me, personally, but where Bachan and Jichan used to live.

Weekend w/Bachan - Where old ninja villages go to die.

So this place, back in the day, used to be a mock ninja village. Actors would dress up and put on shows and whatnot. But that's been over for quite a bit, apparently. Now, it's the remains of the old show + "antiques." And by "antiques" I mean a bunch of old junk shops. Red Foxx [think Sanford and Son, people... I'm not that old] would've have fit right in. Except, you know, for the whole being a black man in Japan. And being dead. But you know what I mean.

Apparently, I've been ignoring the wife too much.

I'm sure the place was a golden ticket of bargains for somebody, but I found it kind of sad and depressing, to be honest.

I thought this made a good picture though.

Old style Japanese ofuro bath.

The last ninja... can you find him?

Japanese Grandma in the 21st Century!

Talking/videophoning on Skype. Too cute.

Bachan: What do you call that machine?
Sandy: That's a computer grandma.
Bachan: Oh really? Those are kind of useful.

Bachan is awesome.

Weekend Trip to the Kyushu National Museum w/Grandma PT IV - Recovery.


Typical conversation at Grandmas - :)
Bachan: What do you want to drink?
Me/Sandy: Water please.
Bachan: I have beer... Do you want beer?
Me/Sandy: Water's okay, thank you.
Bachan: Okay, here's the beer.


The skills of a Japanese teenager - texting w/one hand, chopsticks w/the other.

Weird Shopping in Japan - Lipton Coconut Island Tea.

I like tea, I like coconut. I had two of these and I still don't know if I like them. The first taste is really good, but it left a weird, oily aftertaste. Good try though Japan. Keep up the strangeness.

Weekend Trip to the Kyushu National Museum w/Grandma PT III - Super Happy Fun Play Dress Up Time!

Best part about traveling with Bachan? Finding the kids dress up play section wherever we go. The Kyushu Museum had a pretty cool kids/interactive section. This is the way museums should be.

Sandy and Bachan w/the Chinese dragon.

Sandy climbing through the belly of the dragon. Because she has the heart of a child.

I don't know what they were dressed as exactly, but I know this dude [with the badge on] was totally hitting on Bachan. Cracked. Me. Up.

This puzzle is much harder than it looks.


"In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit... Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team."

"I got rhythm... I got music..."

...there was a little girl... with little wooden shoes...

Bachan's a trip.