Monday, September 11, 2006

Now, more than ever...

I am so sick of 9/11 memorials, retrospectives, tributes, charities, ice cream pops, you name it I've had enough of it.

It's been five fucking years people, you'd think by now you'd have gotten over yourselves. But if there's anything powerful people enjoy it's playing the victim, and for the last 5 years people have been creaming their pants over the sweet sweet self-pity and self-righteousness that they can excuse with three little numerals and a single punctuation mark.

Three thousand people died in an act of terrible murder. Yes, it was indeed a tragedy and a wake-up call...a wake up call that went un-answered.

9/11 was a direct result of America's apathy and self-interest. We've been in bed with so many different groups only to then jump out and declare them demons as soon as it suited our purposes that we were way past due for our comeuppance.

Most of the atrocities Saddam Hussein is on trial for were carried out when he was an ally of the United States and he committed them with Reagan's blessing and protection.

Remember Rambo III? Remember the clean faced, plucky Afghan Boy who befriended John Rambo and helped him fight the evil commies? That was Bin Laddin and the boys. After 9/11 the major TV networks brought the ex-CIA agent who trained Al-Qaeda as an expert witness and then politely pussy-footed around the fact He was the one who taught them how to make a superpower bleed in the first place.

The public records released by this administration show that if Bush had just read the goddamn reports on his goddamn desk instead of clearing brush back at the ranch we could have been on alert for terrorist activity BEFORE planes smashed into buildings.

So if we can forget all about how much 9/11 is at least in part our own damn fault, why must we 'never forget' the attack that took place that morning. Most Americans wouldn't even have noticed those 3,000 people were gone if they weren't told every 12 minutes.

More than 3,000 American women die of cervical cancer every year. That's 5 trade centers since the attacks and counting, lives that could be saved if the HPV vaccine was implemented on a large scale. That vaccine is currently being fought by the religious right, the same right that supports bombing the shit out some poor Iraqi's who didn't have anything to do with 9/11 in the name of those who fell from the towers.

If you're so eager to be indignant and dramatic about a national tragedy how-the-fuck-about Katrina? WAYYYY more people died there, victims of the incompetence and indifference of the people who were sworn to protect them. Where's the outrage, where's the commitment to hound those responsible to the ends of the earth when it comes to this?

But more than all the rest, I am so fucking DONE with assholes using 9/11 and the resulting 'war on terror' to excuse their Racism and Bloodlust.

If you've ever defended 'interrogation tactics', racial profiling, domestic spying, secret prisons, called the Geneva Conventions 'outdated' or used the phrase 'glass parking lot' I want you to stop and take a deep breath through your nose. Go on, I'll wait....

...smells funny, doesn't it?

That's because you're head's so far up your ass you're breathing shit as well as talking it.

People, if you wanna do something to honor the fallen souls of the eleventh of September, 2001. Stand up for yourself and the rights that America is supposed to be founded on. Rather than slapping another jingoist sticker on your SUV why don't you get up and make sure that there will still BE an America here for your grandchildren to live in. Why don't you tell the 4th estate to stop trying to scare you into watching their bullshit and insist that they use YOUR AIRWAVES to hold YOUR GOVERNMENT accountable.

Why don't you stop saying 'Never Again, Never Forget' and put your money where your mouth is, and start amending the global fiasco that is your foreign policy so people stop wanting to smash planes into your buildings, 'cuz until you do anytime anyone invokes 9/11 I'm just gonna know you're a hypocritical asshole.

Friday, June 23, 2006


。。。最近 少女マンガに ハマちゃった。 

最初は 友達が Paradise Kissを 強くすすめたから アニメを ダウンロードして見た。(びっくりするほどふかいなストーリだった)

それで また の アニメをダウンロードした。 それは メッチャ気に入れて 「マンガも 見おうか」と思ってきた。(マンガの絵よりアニメの方が良いけどすごく面白い)

とこの月曜日 ラブ☆コンを読んで始まりました。 

「マンガは子供の物やで」とか「へ~外人オタクもおるか?」って 今まで 気にせへんかった。いつも 本屋でカバーをことわるし。(紙もったいな いから)電車で見られたら 「そうよ、マンガ読んでいる。 あんたは 英語のコミック読む事出来る?」って 言いたい顔で 見返す。

けど それは いつも少年や青年マンガだった。何か少女マンガの場合は違う。 僕は本屋、TSUTAYA、CDショップ みたいな所で探すのは  下手くそ 人にたずねる事は多い、でも 本屋さんに 「すみません、桜蘭高校ホスト部って どこにありますか?」って訊いて 何か ニャアっとすろ顔して 「あっ、少女マンガですか?こちらになります。」とか 電車で立ち読みしながら となりのせいふくあつまりから クスクス聞こえて来る時 いつもの 「そ うよ、マンガ読んでいる。 あんたは 英語のコミック読む事出来る?」の見返しは発動出来ない。


Thursday, June 8, 2006


最近僕は 自分の人生のもったいない事を気付いた。 割り箸とか コンビニのビニールぶくろとか いろんな 物をムダに使う。


英語で 「Put your money where your mouth is.」って言うことわざがある。 「口だけじゃなくて 行動で示せ」って事。

だからこの前 携帯用の箸を探しに行った。 いっぱい探し回ってたけどもう どこにも無かった。 一ヶ月前心斎橋の大丸で見かけたことがあったの に もう無かった。店の人にたずねて 「ああ! それはね、今そのメーカー品は売り出してない。」って言うて 僕の絶望の顔を見て 「他のデパートに電話 して聞いてみましょうか?」って 言って 阪急に聞いてくれた。

あったよ! 箸とこのかっこいいケースは 全部で6800円だった。 でも 僕は一番長くて重いやつにした。(長さと重さで値段が変わる。) もっと 安く買えるのがある。

皆! ECOで行こう!

Thursday, June 1, 2006


西田局長、探偵の皆さん、秘書の岡部さん こんばんわ。 

私は、日本に住んでいるアメリカ人です。この前のクリスマスに、アメリカに帰った時、友達が古い旗を見せてくれました。その旗は、日本の国旗でた くさんの人の名前と「がんばれ」のメッセージが書かれていました。これは多分、戦時中の物で アメリカ兵が持ち帰ったと思います。
私は、それを見て たくさんの想いが込められていると感じました。それで 感動して その旗を持ち主に返したいと思いました。

その旗には「斉藤喜一」と書いてありましたが、私には 探す方法がわかりません。
そこで 優秀な探偵の皆さん、私と一緒に 持ち主を探して下さい。

リュウエロン ステンゲル
Llywellyn Stengel

Monday, May 8, 2006

...and my patience is wearing thin.

Buckle up chitlins! It's been a while since I last blogged, so we've got a lot of ground to cover and the natives are getting restless.

A few weeks ago I saw V for Vendetta. Before I saw the movie bought the comic and read it. The movie is not quite the original, but it is one of those rare and excellent instances where it is a different and worthwhile work in it's own right. Suffice it to say that you should make time for both, it will be a cool, thought-provoking, and disturbing experience, and you might be a better person afterwards.

There is a scene where V addresses the nation on TV(movie excerpt): "...We've had a sting of embezzlers, frauds, liars, and lunatics making a string of catastrophic decisions. This is plain fact. But who elected them? It was YOU! You who appointed these people! You who gave them the power to make your decisions for you! While I'll admit that anyone can make a mistake once, to go on making the same lethal errors century after century seems to me nothing short of deliberate. You have encouraged these malicious incompetents, who have made your [life] a shambles. you have accepted without question their senseless orders. You have allowed them to fill your [world] with dangerous and unproven machines. You could have stopped them. All you had to say was 'NO.' You have no spine. You have no pride." -text quoted and edited from the comic-

That indictment stings and shakes me. It shakes me because even though I have spoken out against the current administration and their ilk, at some point I still buy in. In some way I have signed Socrates's stupid social contract.

How scary is it that when a video of some guys tagging Air Force One comes out, and later is revealed to be a Hoax, that I seriously wonder if it's not the original that is a fake, but the report of it's fallacy?

How shameful is it that, when someone steps up to be this generation's Edward R. Murrow -awesome as that was- they're not a member of the government or the 4th estate. But rather an entertainer. And meanwhile, the 4th estate is undershooting the intelligence of the lowest-common- denominator.

These people have disenfranchised us, failed us, spied on us, stolen from us, and betrayed us. And still they sit in power. What's it gonna take? When will you say 'No.'?

I want my spine back. I want to be able to be proud. I want to not fear my government but rather my government to fear ME.

Friday, April 7, 2006

The True Shibboleth

So I read The Da Vinci Code.

It was exactly as bad as I expected it to be. But it also turned out to be able to hold my attention for about 8 hours, (that's how long it took to read it) and that was better than I had anticipated. Most of what irritates me about this book isn't located between the covers, its that so many people after reading it were suddenly biblical scholars. Scholars intent on sharing their unique and profound insight into the untold story of Jesus.


However, at one point in the book Brown mentions 'self authorizing codes': if you are able to decipher it then you're worthy of receiving the message. What a bloody brilliant idea! This has to be the Holy Grail of cryptography, a code that by definition can't be understood by anyone who isn't meant to understand it.

Truth is Self-Authorizing Codes have been around a long time. Christians slapping fish all over everything was one, if you didn't know about the loaves and fishes trick it would just seem like these guys liked their fish a lot. This was back in Old-Rome days (now it's just tacky). Beat-poets and da-da-ists have used them...

...why not geeks?

I'm not talking about talking about L337 or anything like that, though they may be examples of a code obscuring meaning from the uninitiated, I want a code that obscures the presence of a code at all from someone who wouldn't get it. I want to be able to say to my fellow geeks, yes, I will throw down and teach you the fully realised might of Long's six-point combo ring, and I have wept tears of mourning for Aeris, and I'm not interested in letting some Jack Thompson-aligned assbiscuit in on it.

Oh, and can it be stylish, please? Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of awesome t-shirts in the geekosphere but some of us work at places where the dress code is a little more stringent than a paper hat and a 'sandwich artist' button.

Stuff like the Shin-Ra Corporation lapel pin, or the National Alchemist's silver pocketwatch from Fullmetal Alchemist. Those are good places to start, but I think we can do more and better. What about a designer logo that's actually an interpretation of the Konami code? or how bout some fingerless gloves with the controller motion for a Hadoken emblazoned on them?
I was able to doodle these half-ass attempts at work:

I'm not afraid to be a geek, but I don't see why I can't be chic as well. hmmm...ghic?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Who answers their Junk Mail?

I mean really, are there people out there who are all like, "Hey, this guy's in a real bind, he's gotta escape [insert random 3rd world country here] before they storm his estate and string him up. Good thing he found me, a perfect stranger, to help him get his funds out of the country. Let's see where did I put my account info..."

Is there anyone in the world so credulous and stupid? There must be, since people are still sending this shit to my address, as well as a hojillion others. They wouldn't do it, with the cost of becoming a member of the most hated kind of miscreant since pedophiles and Nazis (sweet, my first Godwin!), if they weren't making money. But how? I refuse to believe that a part of the population lives as a kind of reverse eloi; bloated and pathetic, confined to their subterranean chambers filled only with with the blue-white glow of the CRT and the foetor of self-loathing.

-Wait, I take that back, I've played D&D with them. But I still refuse to believe that even they are so gullible as to fall for spam. I mean maybe back in the dark times when modems lived outside the computer -like mitochondria before Eve- but not now.

Imagine, just for a moment, a world where spam was legitimate.

What an awesome place that would be. Everyone would be filthy rich, after taking the million given to them by grateful African ex-patriots and investing according to the HOT stock tips passed on to them by benevolent strangers. We'd all have multiple Ph.D's and technical degrees, mostly from that Pinnacle of Academic achievement, University of Phoenix online.We'd be listening to our latest online course notes on one of our two free iPods, And, through the magic of modern herbal supplements, everyone would sport massive boobs and/or members on their perfectly sculpted bodies. Boobs and members that we'd be using to please the love of our lives or an endless stream of desperate housewives and girls gone wild (that actually looked like they do on the shows)

One thing's for sure, we'd all be getting it on ALL THE TIME.

Kinda makes you think of spammers in a different light, maybe they're not the hand-wringing, bottom-feeding, Gargamels we all imagine them as being. Maybe they're starry-eyed evangelists, with a vision of a bright and better world, and they just want to share that world with you.

Which brings me to my moment: All Evangelists are spammers, weather they believe in what they're peddling or not, the behavior is identical. One might argue that the religious variety is in fact, the worse of the two: spammers don't come to your door, they don't try to dictate public policy or start riots and wars. No one pickets funerals with signs saying 'he died with a tiny dick' or 'She would be alive today if she had bought term-life-insurance'

Why is one group considered a bunch of morally bankrupt assholes, and the other a group of people dedicated to 'values'?

C'mon guys, we're smarter than this.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Happy Japaniversary!!

I swear to all that is holy that if that goddamn smiley tells me that he's counting the minutes until he can be with me again one more time I will find the first person who ever thought 'Jeepers, if I put a colon and a parenthasi (singular usage?) next to each other it kinda looks like a sideways face.' and when I do, I'm gonna stab them in the neck with a #2 pencil over and over, urinate on their computer, and when I leave I'll toss a lit matchbook over my shoulder and light the place on fire.

ahh, sooo, anyway...

Today marks three years since I stepped onto a plane in Sea-Tac and stepped off in my adoptive home, Osaka. Well, actually it was a man made island off the coast of the Wakayama Peninsula, and that was only after stepping off in LAX, getting some pizza, taking a nap on a bench and getting on a different plane. But all that lacks the poetic ring that people can raise a glass to, so incorrect absolutes it is. (funny how often history ends up that way)

Commemorating something begs the question, "What makes this significant? Why should February 19th 2003 hold any meaning today?" And perhaps for most of you reading this, it shouldn't. But for me, today is my chance to look at a single choice I made years ago and see how that one decision synthesized the person I am today. I'd know I wanted to live in Japan for at least a year when I first went there in 1997. What started as a love of Japanese Animation drew me to discover the culture, people, and aesthetic that has had a prominent (some might say dominating) influence on my adult life.

When I left America I was still recovering from surgery, I was walking into my first real Job, an overeducated (if such a thing is possible) and undersocialized kid (see: Nerd). Unlike my time at Evergreen I couldn't go home every weekend to mow the lawn, snuggle Max -my Lab-Pitbull mix- , and play D&D with the gang. And really, that was the point, so long as I was able to get by with my slacker lifestyle, I would never grow up. I didn't realize it at the time, but I had come to Japan to become the person I wanted to be.

Am I that person now? Certainly I've changed a huge amount in the intervening three years. I've lost a lot of hair, gained a lot of confidence. I've discovered so many wonderful, ugly, bizarre, and captivating things. And met so many incredible people.

Howie, my first roommate in Japan, likes to tell the story of our first meeting: He was resting after a frenzied cleaning of our apartment in anticipation of my arrival and was feeling kinda excited about the prospect of playing mentor to a fresh-off-the-boat kid. I was led in by Bruce -our landlord- shown around, signed the lease and then Bruce took off. I turned to Howie and asked, "Y'know where I can get a good Curry Udon?" completely deflating his fantasy.

Little did Howie know that he would indeed show me the ropes, though they weren't the ropes he expected. If any one person is to thank for what I've gained in the past three years then that person is Howie.

Living as a foreigner in Japan is a study in transience. Everything is on a temporary basis, your visa, your job, your friends, everything. No gaijin is expected to stick around for long. Why would you? You don't belong here. People slide into and out of focus, one day a grin wisecracking over a beer after work, the next a pang of regret that you didn't hang out with them more. The sheer number of people that I've known that I would have liked to know better gives me hope for humanity as a whole, and the few people who have stuck around as figures in life are now and forever family.

The things I've discovered here, the art, the music, the cafes, bars, and all the other little material experiences have informed my identity as well. One of my favorite things to do now is just to go walking around new areas with my girlfriend or my buddies and just pop into interesting places all day.

My commitment to writing has blossomed in the past three years. When I lived in America I was a person who talked and thought about being a writer, now I've realized that that Billy Crystal line in Throw Momma From the Train couldn't be more correct. Writers write. That's what it takes. And if you want it, you have to sit your ass down and put some words into an order on paper or a computer screen that means something. Now, sometimes I'm still just a guy who talks and thinks about writing, but more and more often, I really am a writer.

So if you faced me with the classic existential conflict of being judged by my former self, I think I'd be a surprise to the Llyw of three years ago. But I also think that I'd approve. And after I leave Japan, I think I'll start moving towards becoming another cool person.

I can't wait to meet me.