Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2003
Do ^^^these guys^^^ come with a:

...and if so, do they still qualify as love dolls, or would that only be thesethings?

go! go! power rangers!

Strangeness from hereabouts. I'd like to see this subject matter handled by Chad Michael Ward; it would end up being like the S.I.C. series of Kikaider and Kamen Rider, or Nirasawa's work for Fewture.

savage love

Anyway, is Meiwes guilty of murder? At the very real risk of pissing off the cannibal community (”yes, Virginia, there is a "cannibal community"; a few "cannibal supporters" have been attending Meiwes' trial, lending him their "moral" support”) I take a hard-line position on cannibalism. Gosh darn it, I just think it's wrong. Meiwes may have had his victim's consent (Brandes' consumption was not only videotaped, but also devoutly wished for), but there are times when the very act of giving your consent proves you're not competent to give your consent. A perfectly healthy person who consents to his own sexualized murder, for example, and eats his own tough, overcooked penis before being killed, is in need of mental help, not meat tenderizer. His consent is meaningless, and obtaining it does not exonerate the man who murdered him.(Dan Savage/Onion AV Club)

giggles

Stuff to not-do at the Return of the King. One could greatly piss off somepeople.
(I had to include this Comment, in case HaloScan comments service ever goes under...)
Wonderful ideas all. They don't have my favorite thing to do tho': wait for Legolas to appear on screen and then go off on a "Jay" from "Jay and Silent Bob" joke tangent.
"Did joos see them fuckin' Orcs and shit, Silent Dwarf?!? You and me gots to go busta few arrows and whup some axes up in them ugly-ass sonsabitches, nootch! We're gonna defend this mutherfuckin' castle RANGER-style an' shit! Then I'm gonna be all UHHN UHHN with that fine-ass lady hobbit! SNOOGINS!"
K.D. | 12.28.03 - 10:56 pm

happy fscking holidays

The goth girl and her squirrel have an non-holiday special up on their main page at Ill Will Press. It is full of all kinds of mirth and foul language.
Warren Ellis offers his year-end thoughts. In particular, I enjoy: "An unelected dictator responsible for horrific evil catches an unelected dictator responsible for horrific evil."

I was about to send out the Christmas letter as a MS Word document attachment to an email, when I checked the filesize: 7 MB. I know *I* wouldn't be happy to get a 7MB attachment in my mailbox. What the hell is MS doing with the 3, 270k pictures that are in it, that it needs to become 7 MB? Then I realized that a lot of people don't have word. Then I realized that the same would be true of an Adobe Acrobat Reader PDF. Maybe I should just throw a web-page up. I enjoy that this has come up when it's too late to just snailmail the things out. "Own damned fault."

the fungal issues

k.d. bryan, who is as sharp as a just-sharpened pencil, hypothesized an imaginary band out of one tiny suggestion:

December 17, 2003 - 09:15 PM
Re: the fungal issues
I can just imagine the Rolling Stone interview:
"Well, there's no one way to describe our sound. The Fungal Issues sort of came out of all of us getting our groove on together, y'know, unified in the funk. I don't think it's fair to say that one person is responsible for all of The Fungal Issues. It is true that K.D. (Bryan, lead triangle) scratched the surface and really infected us with his enthusiasm - I mean, without him there would be no Fungal Issues. But the Fungal Issues is really everywhere now and I think that's because everybody can identify with the Fungal Issues."
Tempting . . . buuuut no.

December 19, 2003 - 02:17 AM
Re: Making the Band
Spin's review of our self-indulgent fourteenth album, "We Are The Fungal Issues":
"Breaking onto the scene in the early 00's,…

last day of work for 2003

This year at Yuke's has been particularly long and challenging; I spent about ½ of it on Supreme Crunch-Plus Overtime. In 8 or so years of game development, I think this was the most productive year to-date. We shipped WrestleMania XIX for NGC, and we Japanese-localized 3 different versions of Finding Nemo in time for sale on it's December 6 opening day. It was our first GBA project, and our first multiplatform project, so it feels like it was a huge accomplishment.

Today is the last day of work for the year. Well, for me anyway. I get several free days off, and by just taking a couple more, I get from now until the 6th of January off. If this causes jealousy, please post the punishment of your choice in the handy Comments field provided.

hello kitty

I still think the Hello Kitty "finger massager" would be a better USB device, but if you want to talk to a low-end animatronic with a related screensaver, here's your thing. Two ports, though? Honestly, I assumed for US$80 that Kitty had more than two ports. (via boingboing)

"astra, come here for a second"

Context: From Astra's G.L.I.T.T.E.R.A..T.I. tribe of shiny people, where I operate as a sleeper agent:
Re: if you HAD to be a super hero/villain...
My costume would be the one I debuted on the Castro with: a formfitting black leather mask, Kato-style, that ties with a matching thong in the back. Of course, under that is black greasepaint around the eyes, right up to the eyelids, for that seamless look. Add a black latex T-shirt (mixing two chewable surfaces), and black jeans with heavy black shoes. I'd add to that (once-existing) costume, a gadget-laden codpiece, called (in deference to an earlier thread) "The Jeweled Meat Hammer."

Astra would be my demented brother/sister/arch-enemy, in a sort of binary orbit of several G.L.I.T.T.E.R.A.T.I. subcliques: Lovers of Virtue Eternum, and Hellbound Apathets' Terror Engineering. We would fight tooth and nail in public all week, but send each other chocolate and tiny electronics on weekends.

My secret identity would be a s…

anry

A Russian artsite with a lot of exceptional Painter stuff. makes me want to learn the program. Actually, it makes me wish Photoshop would quit whoring itself to web-heads, and get some more artist tools integrated. Someone's going to come along and eat their lunch, like Quark did to PageMaker. I hope.

Ooh! And another good site:

i am spider jerusalem

heads-up: here is some tasty transhuman erotica by Warren Ellis, the creator of Spider Jerusalem.

doll

Some days, Japan is a country of creepy shit.

hostile takeover

Sammy is taking over Sega: big news, but not stunning. But as two Japanese companies, the fact that Sammy's top dog, Hajime Satomi, is publicly slapping Sega around with the new corporate agenda is pretty surprising.Satomi has also indicated that he wants the respected Japanese publisher to start using Sammy’s Atomiswave arcade technology and has suggested that if there is any resistance from existing Sega employees, then Sammy will simply purchase more shares - in order to force its point.

there's a faq

There's a FAQ for Japan. Unofficial of course, but so is the SAQ. These would both have been helpful before I came over here the first time in 1993. There's all kinds of stuff in these that I didn't know. Hrm. (via memepool)

In case you're wondering, the subtitle to the blog, "kono fakku yarou to onaji you ni, ne." is the translator's dialog from Quentin's Kill Bill. The English dialog is, "...the same as this fuck right here!" Blogger didn't like actual Japanese characters mixed in with the Western unicode to which it's set.

steve jobs in rs

Interesting interview with Steve Jobs about Apple's new role in the music industry. At first, they kicked us out. But we kept going back again and again. The first record company to really understand this stuff was Warner. Next was Universal. Then we started making headway. And the reason we did, I think, is because we made predictions. And we were right. We told them the music subscription services they were pushing were going to fail. MusicNet was gonna fail, Pressplay was gonna fail. Here's why: People don't want to buy their music as a subscription. They bought 45s, then they bought LPs, they bought cassettes, they bought 8-tracks, then they bought CDs. They're going to want to buy downloads.
They didn't see it that way. There were people running around -- business-development people -- who kept pointing to AOL as the great model for this and saying, "No, we want that -- we want a subscription business."
Slowly but surely, as these things didn't …

kaomoji

Japan has its own set of emoticons. These are called kao-moji, which literally translates to "face characters." There are so many variations on these, it's overwhelming. For instance, if I want to convey concern or worry to a friend in the US, I'm limited to this: :-/ On the other hand, in Japan, I can use this: (^_^);; (that's "sweat"), or any of these, or even imply the need for a full-blown retreat. There are so many of them, webpages devoted to them are broken down into sections, with screens worth of variants. The kao-moji are less an accepted standard, and more of a form of freestyled text-art that shares more with ASCII art text files than the static happy faces of the West.

"guns, guns, guns"

Some ass-hat fscking clan gamer thought it would be smart to settle an argument ...with a real gun? It's unclear. This hasn't really broken into the mainstream media yet, but I suspect a gamer holding a gun to another gamer's head at a game-related event will eventually get into the "games encourage violent behavior" coverage. See also the press statement. (via gamasutra news)

snow, for those without it

Make your own underwear. I mean snowflakes. Cut-out snowflakes. Download them, or save them to the online gallery. It's hosted by Jockey, which is why I made the "underwear" mistake. But you could cut up underwear this way, and have a mixed statement about the nature of winter holidays, and their commercialization. I'm sleepy. (via d.yeti)

ara! abunai!

NHK is Japan's national TV channel. It's like the Public Broadcasting System would be in America, if PBS had an army of door to door salesmen that can legally demand money just because you have a TV and might be watching their channel. However, it's really neat to have a weird, educational, and progressive station that is showing stuff that doesn't have a place on a commercial channel. No, they didn't do Domo-kun, that's BS (Broadcast Satellite), which is another system again. However, NHK has created series that have had their own explosive fads as well. Pitagora Switch is a daily dose of cartoons and Rube Goldberg devices; in it, two previously unknown comedians invented Arugorizumu Taisou (Algorhythm Exercise), a strangely droll but hypnotic sequence of stretching exercises designed to near-miss during a series of would-be violent connections with one's exercise partner. While looking for online presentations of it, I also came across a flash presentatio…

patently ridiculous

The title should be read to the same beat as "magically delicious."
Sega is suing a mess of companies over the gameplay of Simpsons: Road Rage being too similar to Crazy Taxi. What's craziest is they have apparently been granted a patent on the gameplay. Patent reform... Really. Please, someone show the patent office the light... Lawyers from Sega of America have filed a patent infringement suit, claiming that The Simpsons: Road Rage was designed to "deliberately copy and imitate" the basic concept and gameplay from Crazy Taxi, to which it holds a patent. The suit names publisher Fox Interactive, distributor Electronic Arts and developer Radical Entertainment.
Road Rage was widely criticised at its time of release for being a blatant Crazy Taxi clone and indeed the company is using several such reviews as part of its evidence. If successful the move could have a huge impact on the game industry, which since the earliest days of Pong and Space Invaders has seen …

my cellmodem is begging me to stop

My wee little k-opticom cellular modem (equivalent to dualISDN), which is currently my only home connection to the internet, is beginning to warp and buckle from the the internet stresses currently placed on it. Well, that, or the in-progress printing of the annual Christmas gift calendar is furthering the local PC slowdown via poorly written drivers that offload the bulk of print-thinking to my PC rather than handling it at the device that is doing the actual printing. However, I'd vote for extradimensional interference, given a choice. As for why I don't have broadband, in one of the cheapest broadband fee countries in the world, that's a story for another post.

Currently there is an array of browser tabs open in the one Mozilla window that is sitting in my taskbar, and it's loading several more tabs worth of web pages while I type into this, the Blogger tab. In terms of Task Bar space, this is funny, because the less complicated (and nearly as helpful Getleft takes u…

colymbosathon ecplecticos

Making the rounds:The animal, a new member of a large species group called ostracode, was buried under volcanic ash which mineralized and retained an image of its soft body parts. That unique preservation enabled researchers to construct a highly detailed three-dimensional picture of the animal after digging the fossil from a rock bed in Herefordshire.
Details revealed include gills, eyes, limbs designed for swimming and the oldest known male organ in the fossil record. It was this last that led researchers to name the new species, Colymbosathon ecplecticos, which is Greek for "amazing swimmer with large penis."
(thanks Monty!)

testing the "loser personnel catapult"

(via boingboing)

xbox of steel

My friends made the xbox "Superman: Man of Steel" game (as Circus Freak Studios). Who knew, like the game's character, the xbox can deflect bullets? Short recap for those unwilling to read a Baltimore newspaper: Roommates playing games at excessive volumes until the wee hours. Roommates fail to be considerate of gun-owning-roommate's sleeping schedule. G-O-Roommate kills xbox. I've wondered about the bullet-stopping power of the xbox ever since first seeing its massive form two TGS's ago. (Note to self: if an xbox is used offensively, bide time, and inflict ninja justice on it using the killing-palm technique; it's untraceable (except for the palmprint), and doesn't lead to JAIL.) (via gamespot)

ftaa (insert clever f-word based acryonym here)

This FTAA incident reminds me of an incident, less about violence and the misuse of public resources (which is covered in the FTAA thing well enough) than just misrepresentativeness in the current legal system:

Two friends of mine were walking through the woods in the hills behind UCSC. One was attending school there, and the other was visiting from Berkeley. They happened to walk into an area where protesters had chained themselves to trees, and officers were arresting them for impeding a construction process (IIRC). My two friends, who had paused to see what the hubbub was about, were quickly surrounded, arrested, and taken into custody. This begs the question, "why?" to me. It's one thing to get a speeding ticket, or a jaywalking ticket, but to be arrested for being in the wrong place seemed foolish on the part of the police.

Both friends were booked, put in jail, and were made to wait overnight for a preliminary hearing. The friend from Berkeley had both work and …

target acquired

Leland Yee, of the California State Assembly, wants to make all FPS (first person perspective shooting games) illegal for sale to minors(google news). I wonder if he knows that GTA is a 3rd person game... Ah, well, I bet the legalese will handily take care of a whole mess of purchasing freedoms, like a sloppy drive-by. You can link to the Sacramento Bee article from the slashdot thread. It all gets down to the same problem: parents need to be aware of any entertainment their children are involved in. No amount of legislation will change that, or replace an active, involved parent.

made of meat

This story from the long-defunct OMNI magazine (I'm not pulling an Abe Vigoda Is Dead thing here, am I?) holds up well, though I unfortunately picture the Simpsons' aliens having the chat. (Thanks, Monty!) As a followup, I tried to provide the tastiness of justmeat.com, but it's GONE. No, I normally didn't have the stomach to view more than a couple images.

just wrong

no sleep 'til bastard

Okay, anyone who's read my stuff at Futurismic knows that I'm a sucker for Bastard Pop. To some, it's a bunch of half-wit, technologically enabled music pirates destroying otherwise well-produced pop music. To me, it's a new art form that has the added bonus of being of questionable legality. I'm going to keep tacking stuff into this post, so peek at it from time to time. However, I'd like to draw your attention to el mannion's No Sleep 'Til Bastard album. In particular, I like the way track 6 finishes up, apparently using samples from a language instruction tape to create a strange, foreboding, and discomfiting environment where two androids' date ends in tragedy. Base58 has much more goodness, my goodness.

zentai / kigurumi

Saw the pre-event link at DPH about a strange, quasi-webcam anime "girl." This prompted me to peek around for lots more stuffaboutthisweirdfetish from the wild country I'm in. It didn't surprise me when the longest page of useful links came up in English. Near immediate addenda: a stronger composite presentation, as well as less random links on boingboing.net.

Holy crap. This questionable-use doll looks just like Sadako from The Ring. Who'd want to fuck with that?

Addenda: I've seen some of these dolls in non-pr0n shops in Osaka. I thought they were weird, and then just sorta dismissed them from my headspace. I've seen a lot of professional kigurumi actors at amusement parks and such; when the AbaRangers (this year's flavor of Power Rangers), or Anpanman show up, it's these guys. So when I saw there's a fetish attached to it, it didn't really register as weird. I just posted to Japan Tribe to find out what people think about this stuff; pe…

rising sun

from gamespot:
"Conversations this reporter had with gamers themselves indicate emotions run a bit warmer than the mainstream press suggests. Although some gamers may write it off as "just a game," many are uncomfortable with the premise of Rising Sun. As one gamer put it, "You know, even though it's just a game, those are our fathers and relatives we're killing. There's something about it that I just don't like." Another wondered how a game like this would be received in other countries, saying, "...this is a game in which you play as a foreign soldier and try to kill troops from your own country. I bet that you couldn't even sell a game like this overseas. I have a feeling that Japanese are the only people who would brush this off because 'it's only a game.' I don't know if that's good or bad...""
11/27 update:Penny-Arcade

misanthropicity

"We truly seem to have entered a new phase in American celebrity, in which there’s almost no one that doesn’t believe Jackson likes little boys and R. Kelly likes slightly less little girls, yet both artists continue to sell albums by the millions ... which is odd, considering that everyone’s so freaked out by gay marriage. If our society was so moral, wouldn’t we be boycotting the horrid musicians and endorsing the legitimizing of marriage of loving adults?" Go, Marc. Tell it.

sans clue (first in a series; collect them all)

The Dirty Dozen of the Lion and Lamb project (among other things, like testifying before congress) lists games that parents should not let their kids play. While I'm impressed that they are reasonably up to date, I don't understand how they can include THE CLEARLY ESRB LABELED text, and ignore the "Mature" rating on it. GTA: Vice City's descriptor includes: Neither the video game nor retail industries enforce the voluntary ratings system, which means that teens can easily buy and rent Mature-rated titles. Even retailers with policies that restrict the sale of Mature-rated games to children allowed children to purchase Mature-rated video games 73 percent of the time, according to a recent Federal Trade Commission survey. There's a survey? It's a government survey? Provide a damned URL; I'd like to know if it was in the last two years.

I got so worked up, I forgot to add my gripe. Er, point. Videogames don't kill people, guns do. And guns don'…

a vote for amateurization of the seuss tributes

The fine yacht, "Seuss" it is, then!
A better boat, there never has been!
Young Sally McPun would take it out daily,
In fact most days, she felt quite sail-y.

On any day the Seuss-boat sailed
A trail of chortles behind it trailed.

The McPuns, they came from smiles around
And wondered at that laughing sound.
From the rivers,
From the tress,
And even from the homes of bees!

On shoreside homes, a rippling sound of dripping laughter
Came pouring, pouring from the rafters.
When it showed no signs of stopping,
The McPunsters felt their bellies popping.

"Stop!" they cried, their sides near-split.
"We are sore from laughing at the boat's bow-sp'wit"
And so that day, young Sally sailed to port, forsooth
and just for them, that day, she dock'd her "Seuss."
[posted to Puns! tribe]

ultra love ninja

MK12's self-promotion brand "Ultra Love Ninja" combines James Bond swank, Porn kitsch, and hot NINJA action in a way that is teh sexy.

The theme song is reminiscent of early Bond theme song offerings. It immediately went into obsessive rotation in the video's tiny quicktime window. I wrote MK12 to purhase a copy of the song; they immediately (and very kindly) pointed me at a page of free, sexay remixes.

Googling revealed a still active, older page; desktops and fonts and PDFs for stickers and such are available under TREATS.

This page on ~mind control~ also turned up when searching for more information. Coincidence? Um... Yeah.

nutshell

In response to a friend's query about life here, in Japan:
What can I say about life over here? It's great, it's weird, it's tasty, it's polite, and everything is wrapped up really well when one buys anything. It's a lot easier life than it used to be here. In the ten years since the first time I lived here, Japan gained cheese, scones, Starbuck's (and a few other REAL coffee places), and most importantly INTERNET ACCESS GALORE. On the other hand, Japan also "gained" Toys R Us, Blockbuster Video, more McD's, KFC's, and Pizza Huts. I assume Walmart is being beat back at the gates, or is quietly partnered with one of the major, but lower quality shops. In short, 10 years ago I felt like I was on an island, and if I wanted a taste of US items, it was hard to come by. Mail was (9 days going)+(response time)+(9 days coming back), and about a buck a letter. Email has stunningly changed the communication dynamic, as I'm sure you've deduce…

a question of wording

Gamasutra news headline today: "VIS Joint Venture Suffers Staff Loss(reg. req'd)" body text: "Representatives from VIS-ITV, a joint venture between Scottish developer VIS Entertainment and cable operator Telewest, have confirmed that a number of staff have been laid off." Call it nitpicking, but isn't it weird to say the company is suffering, or passively has suffered, when the company has chosen to lay off employees? Suffering implies "being put upon by outside forces" while "layoff" and "reorg" are actions that a company may take. It is something to which they subject their employees. Next up: "Dog suffers bite-compulsion syndrome from presence of Postal Worker."

music

Currently away from my copies of Kill Bill and RHCP's "By the Way"; I'm not sad, though. Oh, no. I'm shaking my geek-thang to Dread Zeppelin's version of "Sunshine of Your Love." Oh, the weasely, tortelvis-y goodness. "Gimme a towel, Priscilla."

addendum: The way fu-master Anthony Kiedis sings "Universally Speaking" is hard to understand. Until I checked the liner notes, I thought is it was "universal lispy king" -- some kind of Castillian Spanish reference, I'd assumed.

random

purely for my own records

Re: Which comic was it?
A comics scholars list I belong to was able to save the day!
"The comic referred to is SAVIOUR, published in the UK by Trident Comics in 1989-90. It was written by Mark Millar and drawn first by Daniel Vallely, later by Nigel Kitching. As far as I recall, there were no more than four or five issues and the storyline was never completed."

KIKAIDER!

What does it take to make me break my reasonably strict rule about using only lower-capitalization in the subject line? Well, it's KIKAIDER! dammit! Tripping around the blogosphere this morning, I was astonished to see DiePunyHumans had a blurb on it, which was then nabbed by boingboing, and I've seen on a couple of other single-user blogs. What is Kikaider? He's only the most bad-ass, guitar-playing wanderer who transforms into a motorcycle-riding cyborg, EVAR. When I was 6 or so, I'd watch this every Sunday, along with Raideen, Dai Apollon, and Go Ranger on Channel 22, KWHY in Los Angeles.

A Hawaiian company is releasing his series on DVD. There may not be enough exclamation points in the world to convey my bliss.

the matrwich

Defective Yeti's Matthew Baldwin has a bwilliant Matrix parody starring everyone's favorite presidential chimp (except "Bonzo"):
TRINITY: Please. Just listen. I know why you’re here, Geo. I know why you left your family and your friends, why you left your home to come to this city.
There is a HYPNOTIC quality to her voice. BUSH’s eyelids begin to droop as she speaks.
TRINITY: You’re looking for an answer. It’s the question that drives us, Geo. It’s the question that brought you here. You know the question just as I did.
BUSH: What – is – the thingie.
TRINITY: The Matrix.
BUSH snaps awake.
BUSH: Oh. I was thinking of the other thingie. The sandwich.
Just how cunning is Matthew? He foresawthis.

One, last, non-yeti Matrix bit:
7) Bane: MIS-ter AN-derson, still dumb as a bag of hammers, I see.

MIT be interesting. MIT be bad timing.

What's this?

Educators to storm E3 Expo / MIT department to host preshow Games in Education conference.
The staid Massachusetts Institute of Technology said today that it would host a three-day conference to take place immediately before the E3 Expo opens its doors. The event will take place at the same site as E3--the Los Angeles Convention Center. The conference will focus on games in education and is part of a larger MIT program called The Education Arcade initiative.

The conference will take place on May 9, 10, and 11 and will include panels that will address a number of topics that draw on education, academia, and pure game design. Session topics include the following: Are Games Educational?; From Simulation to Interaction; and, Fostering Games Literacy. Roundtables will also be a part of the program, featuring topics that will focus on educational, technical, creative, and market trends.

The conference is free and open to the public (aged 18 and older).
By Staff, GameSpot [P…

uncia: best practice makes perfect

Now that I've found out what brand I am, I can't wait to capitalize on the franchising. (Why is captalize a Z, but franchising an S?) If I could only work up the will and gall to get a spurious patent on the no-mustache, chin-only goatee combined with a dramatically receding hairline, and enforce it, I'd be a gazillionaire. No-one is paying attention to prior-art, or the clearly defined differences between trademark, patent, and copyright anymore, so I can sue all the other game development art directors!

What brand are you?(via Diepunyhumans)

wake up

"Of the six positions, the "freefaller" is the more rarefied of sleeping shapes, with just 6.5 per cent of people preferring to sleep on their front. They tend to have "a brash and gregarious exterior", although this confident front hides a nervous personality that responds badly to personal criticism."
So what the hell are you saying? I'm some kind of jerk?

defective camouflage

There has been much coverage of camoflage lately. Wired had a big piece on optical, which primarily focused on the work that's being done here in Japan. It's unclear whether or not Ghost in the Shell's camo inspired that work (Like Clarke's geosynchronous satellites), or if Shirow was basing it on existing tech-philosophies. If you're wondering where the punchline for this whole thing is, you'll have to look a little harder.

color matching

ColorMatch5K (perhaps an entry in The 5k contest?) is a sassy, but apparently non-HTML-compliant tool for generating a swatch of colors around which to design. The ColorMatch Remix will run in Opera, Mozilla and all that jazz properly, and offers a broader palette. Optimally, I wish there was a more readily available complementary color slot, but it's sufficiently slick without it.

Neat google deskbar trix.

creepy kyoto story

I had just moved to Kyoto, and was staying in the ISE foreigner's dormitory while I tried to find a more permanent place; ISE was a pit of a dorm with very nice strangers all playing nicely. In fact, I understand that Pico Iyer wrote "The Lady and the Monk" while staying there. But a friendly American couple who lived over the hill in Kujo-yama saw the shabby, oily room I was in, and insisted that I say with them in their old, three-storey house, no rent, no nothing, until I could find my own apartment.

Kujo-yama is out on the trolley line that runs out of San-jo, up the hill, past the Int'l Community Center, and into a suburban portion of Kyoto city. Most of the places are quite old. My friends' place was probably between 50 and 100 years old, and in mediocre condition. It had a cesstank for its sewage, but I think it had regular gas lines. Old place. It was built on a hill (very near the trolley tracks) so the ground entrance was on the 2nd floor, with a stairw…

dealing out the punishment

I am participating online in an interesting discussion, where we are all making puns at each other. The topic was "Vagina" so everyone was punning about sex. One guy's user-icon is a Stag/Deer with big antlers. He said:

Deer: Well if this discussion isn't clean, the least we can do is to wrap it up quickly.

Brian: Deer'y, that is just such a typical stag attitude. Be careful, or you'll get a reputation that you're only out to sate your horny self. You'd probably do anything for a buck (or some doe, for that matter).

He directly messaged me back:
Deer: You used up all the deer puns in one message! I've got nothing left, ya bastard! :-)

Brian: Venecin Vidi Vici :-)

inactivision

Activision announced that they are immediately dropping 10 in-progress titles in reaction to lessened earnings:
'Ron Doornink said the company was taking steps to adapt to the new, high-stakes game of console, computer and handheld game development. "The video game market is increasingly dominated by high-quality products based on recognizable franchises supported with big marketing programs. We have decided to take steps to align our business with the continuing evolution of the video game market."'
Which is interestingly stunning bullshit. Do you remember the 4-page magazine spreads, TV advertisments, and pre-movie, in-theater cinematic ads shown prior to the launch of GTA3? No, because there weren't any. It was a word-of-mouth hit, with its success entirely due to its quality and innovation. This activistion plan seems analogous to a major TV station discovering that their shows are not popular, and reacting by immediately reducing the number of TV shows they w…

offa wired

Two interesting stories on wired today:
MTV plans to get into the download music bidness, competing with iTunes, napster 2.0 and any number of other pay-to-play music services. Music on MTV? Great! How uncommon; last time I checked, MTV was about ¼ Road Rules, ¼ Real World (never tiring of the irony of that title), ¼ guest VJ sessions and ¼ carson daly and fred durst popping up, showing how little I should actually respect the creativity of any popular performer, and a smattering of Tough Enough, "for taste." Not many videos, so not much music. When they occasionally played videos, there were annoying comments that popped up in balloons, about as clever and entertaining as someone kicking the back of your seat during a movie, and making their own running commentary. Is MTV even popular as a brand anymore? I thought the big money was in all the 70's and 80's Flashbackers who like VH1.

The other story is more frightening and confusing; the broadcast flag chip has been …

a list

Some friends I have. Sheesh. My keyboard is beginning to have a cottage-cheese-like substance growing on it from the amount of milk and OJ I have nose-ejected onto it after reading something funny while drinking. Rather than offering to come clean the kybd, or sending me a new cheapie US-101, Weezie suggests that:

I move that we remove Bwana from the list if he can't keep expelling food from his face. In lieu of that, here's some great alternate responses to list humor:
1. The classic shit eating grin.
2. Hard nipples.
3. Knee slapper.
4. Accidental fart.
5. Bat your eyelashes.
6. Give a nearby coworker the thumbs up.
7. Shove your fist in your mouth.
8. Yell YAHTZEE!
9. Head butt the monitor.
10. Double take followed up with an "aw shucks" shoulder shrug.

Which had Chuji follow on its heels with:

11. Run for Governor of California
12. Give out the 'ol "HOO HAH!!!"
13. Do the Arsino Hall fist thing while screaming "Whoo Whoo Whoo!"
14. Fill y…

hip deep in entertainment

I'm reading too many books at once right now.

I've finally started Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars, which I've owned for about four years and never previously cracked open, but Justine recently recommended it, so it's my train-ride paperback. Weezie sent me a hardcover edition of Michael Moore's Dude, Where's My Country, which appears to cover pretty much everything I've been worried about since the shrub entered office after being appointed by the Supreme Court, rather than being elected fair-and-square. Yeah, thanks for throwing in the towel, Gore. Don't quit on my account; as part of the American people that you said "deserve better," I wouldn't have minded waiting for a full recount, or a reconsideration of the entire electoral-vote process, so outmoded after all these years. Or hell, let's have a "do-over," and see how many people turn out to vote when they actually think their effort may make a difference this time

fight crime!

Be forewarned; this post rambles, and sucks. The links are good, though. Try the links.
Just peeking at Charlie Stross' blog, and found a site that generated this gem:
"He's an immortal drug-addicted master criminal She's a warm-hearted gypsy bounty hunter descended from a line of powerful witches. They fight crime!"It reminded me of one day at Namco when we were comparing which one of us was the biggest weirdo magnet. One guy had the odd fate of any loon that had line-of-sight on him walk up, and begin randomly talking. This had happened for the umpteenth time at lunch, where some stranger got up off a bench and walked up to our appearing-to-be-purposefully-walking group and stop all of us so he could talk to our Weirdness Magnet. When we got back to the office, we tried to one-up each others' stories of confrontations with insane people. It turned out one of us had been cornered in a late night situation a nut who claimed to be bulletproof. It had freaked …

some you win...

Some days, it's hard to know where to start. For instance, there is good news afoot in game development, as well as bad news, and a lot of stuff that is hard to figure out.

Sony is in a tailspin, according to the press, and is planning on laying of 20,000 people (13% of personnel) over the next couple of years. All this because their profit is down 91% from last year. This doesn't mean their in the red, it means they've got 9% of the profit they had previously. This seems to be readily attributable to the grotesque, and unpredictable success of GTA3 and a couple other big sellers, and the fact that nothing has /yet/ come out to buoy sales. Overall, this looks to me like a company that is still in the black spinning the situation to rationalize jettisoning their deadweight. So in essence, business as usual.

The US federal government, in a review of DMCA related issues, has granted a copyright exception for videogames that are based on obsolete systems. Does this make MAME…

bang! pow! take that, tolkien!

China Miéville unloads on the spinning corpse of J. R. R. Tolkien:

"Tolkien is the wen on the arse of fantasy literature. His oeuvre is massive and contagious - you can't ignore it, so don't even try. The best you can do is consciously try to lance the boil. And there's a lot to dislike - his cod-Wagnerian pomposity, his boys-own-adventure glorying in war, his small-minded and reactionary love for hierarchical status-quos, his belief in absolute morality that blurs moral and political complexity. Tolkien's clichés - elves 'n' dwarfs 'n' magic rings - have spread like viruses. He wrote that the function of fantasy was 'consolation', thereby making it an article of policy that a fantasy writer should mollycoddle the reader. "

movie player for GBA

Neat blurb about a smartmedia-based video player for GBA. The smartmedia goes in the adaptor, and the adaptor goes into the GBA like a standard cartridge. It looks like you can buy as many cards as you want, then change the contents at a "gachapon" style kiosk for ¥200. The adaptor is ¥3800; it doesn't mention the media, though 32Mb SmartMedia is given away in breakfast cerel over here (just kidding). The 32Mb card holds up to 30 minutes of video, and the decoder is designed to play nicely with the meager CPU on the portable console.

For those of you who think that aftermarket strap-ons are a good way to prolong your pleasure from otherwise dead tech, ethernet is in development for 8-bit Atari hardware.

jungian profile test

ENFJ:
Extroverted (1) | Intuitive (22) | Feeling (11) | Judging (33)
I am:
# slightly expressed extrovert
# slightly expressed intuitive personality
# slightly expressed feeling personality
# moderately expressed judging personality

It appears I almost no longer qualify as an extrovert. That's strangely comforting. 2 years in Japan, and I'm turning into a fucking wallflower.

V

NBC has commissioned a script for revisiting the world of "V". 20 years ago, this show rocked my sophomore-in-high-school mind. It was charming and groundbreaking at the time. But honestly, with Battlestar Galactica coming back as well, you'd think there was no idea under the sun that doesn't involve dragging the Trousers of My Childhood out, inverting them, and seeing if any loose change can be shaken from them.

notes about organizers

Sony Clie UX50: I think that PDA probably was intended to come out under their new Qualia label, for all the bells and whistles. I think if they'd timed the line-announcement a little better, that PDA would have been an appropriate addition to the luxury-focused nature of that line.

One of the reasons that the slider thang is big on the new Palms is that research showed most users accessing their PDAs to retrieve, rather than input data. I definitely fall in this category, using my Palm Desktop to perform almost ALL my organization and data-entry. The PDA's best function is to remember all that info for me, and for reading PDB format eBooks.

If I was really hardcore about having complete PC functionality in a PDA, I'd be looking at the Linux powered Zaurus, or one of the only slightly larger than the Clie, Crusoe-powered Windows notebooks that are available here.

har!

offa mimi smartypants:
"TiVo should have an "IRONY" button so when you felt like recording, say, "World's Wildest Police Videos" (which I have renamed "Crippling Injuries Of The Poor"), because it's kind of fun to watch high-speed wipeouts with a six-pack of Tecate on a Tuesday night, you could push the IRONY button to let TiVo know not to add that to your profile, you don't really mean it."

"America would be a better place if everyone dressed and acted like Prince. (The Purple One. The Artist. Whatever.) Maybe not forever and ever, because that could get tiring (not to mention hot in the summertime with all the gloves and velvet and such), but it would be so great if the entire country participated in Dress And Behave Like Prince Week. I would very much like it if, instead of sitting on his duff and speaking dryly into a microphone, Alan Greenspan made his semi-annual monetary policy reports while dry-humping a purple guitar. T…

"Hey! Everyone here is Asian!"

[This is from a Japan Tribe thread called Weird Japanese Moments]

When I arrived in 1993, the vibe was a little different than it is now, ten years later.

One weekend shortly after entering the country, I went to downtown Osaka with no plan except to wander around. I followed one of the major venues leading away from Namba station, and after about 20 minutes of leisurely strolling through the most crowded pedestrian streets I'd ever seen, found myself at the famous Dotonboribashi, a slightly arched pedestrian-only bridge that crosses one of the many water channels that crisscross through downtown. Something had been not-quite-dawning on me since I'd arrived in Japan.

When I reached the highest point on the bridge, I had a chance to look even further down the road ahead. I'm an average height guy in the US, but I'm at least half-a-head taller than most local Japanese, usually taller. So watching the crowd flow around me, it was with suprising visual clarity that the dis…

eye drops

Again, I'm failing to address "moments" so much as weirdnesses, but:

In the USA, pretty much any eye-drop medicine is going to be some pH balanced, mild, tear-like liquid. Some of it may have allergy-medicine in it, but in general, dropping it in your eye is pretty the same substance one gets from crying.

The first time I bought eye-drops in Japan, it turned out to be FX or ICY EYE BALL RIPPER, or something. I was pretty sure I had dropped in crazy-glue, or some caustic acid by mistake. These are not mild little things, but some form of MENTH-O-LATUM that is applied to the eyeball. I freaked out, and started charging around the room, trying to get to the sink to wash out my eyes before they could melt.

My roomie at the time told me it was supposed to feel that way. This seemed about as plausible as intentionally putting a spike through one's own hand, but he seemed to be telling the truth, so I calmed down. Then I gave the stuff to him, because he liked it.

Ten years…

getting around in japan

The public transportation in Japan is SUPER cool. Usually when someone asks me what I like about Japan, it's usually in the first three things I'll mention.

There are traintracks everywhere, parallel, crossing, concentric. In any city, it's possible to get around entirely by train. In the countryside, well, there's at least a train to get one from the farms /into/ the city.

Trains are on time. It is almost possible to set one's watch by them. I've lived here a total of four years; trains I've been on have only been delayed twice.

Trains are clean. So are the buses. I rode buses home from school in L.A., and it always felt like the half-hearted attempts to clean them had been performed with some form of cooking oil and an unwashed t-shirt.

When there is no train, and the bus looks inconvenient, there are cabs. Lots of cabs. They're clean, too. Generally, the cabbies are polite, don't talk, and will not drive the long-way-around to increase their fare…

copy and paste entries

I'm spending a lot of time writing about stuff that interests me on Tribe.net. Rather than limiting its existence to participation on those groups, it seems wise to put it here when appropriate. So, starting now:

fiendster

Found this interesting story about one guy's addiction to Friendster. I can kind of relate, but after finding Tribe.net, fascination with F'ster seems really pointless. The author of the story realized this too, and took it upon himself to make something new and interesting out of it by turning his profile into a constantly changing, online art installation. Of course, once The Friendster Balrog got wind of shenanigans, it tweaked his account so he was no longer able to freely upload pictures without a time-consuming official review process. The same thing happened to me, and for both of us, it was the same reaction: there went the fun. There is SO much going on in the way of building virtual communities right now, and F'ster is missing the boat big time by trying to be what it was intended to be, instead of what the street has made from it.

better thoughts

"There is no adequate defense, except stupidity, against the impact of a new idea."
- Percy Williams Bridgman (1882-1961)
U. S. physicist, Nobel Prize, 1946


"There ain't no rules around here! We're trying to accomplish something!"
-Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931).

"Thus, the task is, not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees."
- Erwin Schrödinger 1887-1961

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are that good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats."
- Howard Aiken

"true crime"

Robert Crais, a novelist I've never heard of, is suing Activision to prevent release of True Crime: Streets of L.A. barred from publication and sale. It is exceptionally unlikely that Crais has played the game, as it has not demo available, and it's planned release date is next month.
"Those who've read Crais' novels and seen footage of True Crime will notice Kang and Cole also share an affinity for mirrored sunglasses and beating criminals senseless." Damn, there go my plans to include a hard-boiled, tough-as-nails, crime-hating police officer in the next game we make. Good grief, what a desparate, attention-craving ass-hat.

Stop me before I hyphenate again.

24

I just finished watching Season 1 of "24" -- It was fantastic, but it felt like they dropped me on my ass at the end. I'm looking forward to getting my box of Season 2, and will be trying to avoid anyone talking about it, or Season 3. Were most viewers tremendously depressed at the end of s.One?

autumn

It's finally Fall here in Japan, which means that the massive, Godzilla-repelling heat-lamps and steam-engines that cause the appalling Summers here have been wound down, and mothballed for another 9 months. This year, like last was a little longer than expected, though it seemed like the finishing days of sun and humidity of 2003 were not so mean-spirited as 2002. The Sept. 14-15 festival I mentioned in an earlier post was definitely more tolerable than it had been last year, which meant that everyone was relatively nicer to each other.

It's important to note that this is still Japan to which I refer; the relative level of consideration, the average, the ambiguously named "mean" of behavior from one stranger to another is substantially more courteous than what I'm used to in America. There are times when it's hot enough that one feels like one may die, and humid enough that one wishes to take out another. Said result may actually transpire in the USA, where…

Matrix: Regurgitated

No one else I ever confer with seems to know about Defective Yeti. However, it is a source of many gems:

ANYway! I did like the ending of Logan's Run, simply because it was exactly the same as every 70's-era science-fiction movie ending: somebody blows up the computer by making illogical statements. You can't beat the classics. It's a shame they don't use that any more. Wouldn't it be awesome if that's how the Wachowski brothers ended Matrix Revolutions?
The Source: Your journey ends here, Neo. I am The Source, the self-aware synthetic intelligence that controls the Matrix and all of mankind.
Keanu: Up is down! Black is white! Cats are squirrels! I can act!
The Source: D0ES N0T C0MPUTE <crashes>

I'd pay nine bucks to see that.

seanbaby

Seanbaby rocks my damned world. Reading his stuff makes me laugh out loud, and his latest article is about as accurate, funny, and pointy as Shatner's famous SNL "Get a life!!!" skit. The wave also offers an archive of his stuff, if you poke around. I'm going to bed with a fever, and can't be bothered. :-P

tribester

A lot of stuff about Friendster is still impressive, but a number of things about it continue to alienate me. The bulletin board delivers a message to the poster's 1-degree friends, and any responses only go to the original writer, condemning any chance for thread-discussion. The personal-picture guidelines are overly strict, and unevenly enforced: a self-portrait I sketched for use on the site (prior to the inclusion of the current, draconian guidelines on the Add Picture page) was deleted from my profile. Without knowing the roolz, it seemed arbitrary. After reading the rules, and proceeding to see pictures of Bruce Lee, Brad Pitt , and the Rubik's Cube in use as other's image, it seemed a particularly lame move on the site's part.

It's clear that there is some reasoning behind the people controlling it who want it to remain a form of valid reputation-through-association, which in turn may lead to some form of trust-based-system for like minded friends, or member…