July 29, 2006

Alive in Joburg

Cthuluesque refugees in South Africa.

July 27, 2006

Best free AND legal game ever

Seriously, download you some Cave Story (don't forget the patch, unless you speak Japanese). A game so good, that even though it is a small, independent platformer, it has a huge fanbase. They even make fan art and cosplay for it. When's the last time you heard of a homebrew PC title inspiring people that much?
Good luck finding all the endings!
Said fanart example

July 26, 2006

Little Monsters

Oh my but the cicidas are a bit of a bother. Normally, you will walk along and hear one or two and that's fine. In fact, the sound of cicidas defines a Japanese summer I dare say. But there is a tree right outside my bedroom where about 30 seem to have gathered. This means that I am getting in the range of 100 decibels coming at me. But rather than wake me up, it causes the opposite problem; I can't hear my alarm in the morning, and the constant drone doesn't rouse me. So your protagonist has been late to the office this summer (and yes, I do have three alarms spread out through the house but to no avail).
And walking by that tree is no treat on the ears, let me tell you. I tried to get rid of the buggers with a garden hose, but they returned in less than a minute. Why can't it be only every 17 years like in the states. Or not at all like Wyoming. Now there is a solitary advantage of Wyoming: No cicidas, cockroaches, or slugs.
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I was charged with teaching 100 kindergarden-age children today. I characterize it as a failure, oddly, not to teach English, but to teach very simple games. They might even remember the English at the end of the day. The games, well they all seemed to think the point of every game was to turn and punch their neighbor. What fun. And what crybabies. But I don't blame them. Those kids will punch your balls hard if they get the chance.

July 25, 2006

Do you believe in miracles?

It may not be as simple a question as a first glance reveals. Do you think that through some supernatural means, be it God, spirits, or magic, one can alter the laws of physics even for a short period of time? If so, how is this achieved, by your reckoning? Let's take, for instance, the water into wine example of a miracle.
Many LDS people would probably believe that Jesus (and to an extent barring faith, all of us) has authority over atomic structures, and can simply command them to be something else. LDS people believe that the spiritual and the physical are separated only by a matter of "refinement" (spirit being the more refined of the two substances). But I am curious as to how a mainstream Christian, or a Wiccan, or a Buddhist would view such a miracle (pretend it was performed by someone other than Jesus if that complicates the problem).
Or how about when miracles aren't performed, but it seems like they really should be. I'm thinking of hurricane Katrina here. Kit posed the question to me of why a loving god would let this happen. My reply, "When clouds gather, he let's it rain." In other words, I think the powers that be have a vested interest in letting the laws of physics stay their course. But how much prayer, magic, or faith is needed to break the rules? Under what conditions do the powers that be let the rules be broken? Apparently, there weren't enough prayers, magic, or faithful thoughts to save Katrina, but why?
And why do some people claim their faith miraculously healed them of a terminal disease, but tales of amputees growing limbs back seem to be non-existent? If you are using the Judeo-Christian system, you have a couple of excuses to fall on: It was the mysterious will/master plan of God; if something as obvious as an arm growing back happened, faith would be compromised; bad things happen to teach us something.
What about other faith systems, specifically ones without centralized spiritual power? How do miracles work, and under what circumstances are they denied? Please illuminate me in the comments; I look forward to it. Keep in mind for this discussion miracle will mean any bending of the laws of physics as we know them by supernatural means.

Other theories that I can see working: Reality is an illusion, and breaking the rules involves believing in something beyond that illusion.
More to come as I think of em.

July 21, 2006

Technophilic

I think I may be becoming a technophile. And by that I don't mean simply thinking gadgets are cool. I mean I am finding certain items dead sexy. My old iPod used to do it for me; these days I stroke the white enamel of my DS Lite. And the cell phone I got yesterday... I keep marveling at how thin it is. I'm afraid I'm going to break it if I press too hard, but it feels so good. But I'm not alone, I think. I whipped it out the other day (my DS), and girl said "Oh, that's very sexy. I gotta get my hands on one."
Check out the ad; that's from my phone company. They know. Don't think they don't know.

July 19, 2006

photodump

My phone met a mishap at the beach. Luckily, the data-card survived, so I can still show the pictures I took with it before that point and embarrass fellow JETs. A new phone's gonna be expensive. Between that, driving license testing fees, and another volunteer trip to Thailand, I'm starting to feel as poor as a college student again. Even so, I want to spend more on charity, so here's the deal: Donate some money to orphans via my paypall account, and I'll match it. All proceeds will go to the orphanage in Thailand. Go ahead, stick it to me, and feed some orphans! Please make your donations $5 or more, as paypal charges handling fees. And yes, you're gonna have to trust me with your money, but I promise I would never steal money intended for orphans. Again.

EDIT: the charity is over now, so I removed the donation link. Thanks to all that donated.

As for the photos...From our leaving JETs' party. You can't really tell, but Eric was banging away at the Taiko drums with pinache. I fell in love with him, just a little bit, at that moment.
Expand the post to see if you made the cut and are unfortunately featured in this dump.

Aine was giving a tear-moving speech, and this Clay joker was snapping pics of the crowd?


Ebi frying at the local crab shack, the girlfriend in tow.





I'm personally all for pork-barrel politics. Nothings cooler than a giant bridge in the middle of nowhere.


Here you can see my brain, my "takai" nose, and my deviated sceptum.

One view of my town.


Next to the DMV, getting my photo taken by an Obasan.

People looking in awe at my score in Karaoke ;-)


Two sweet girls.


Eating sushi with the doctor.


Our second annual river regatta. We dressed as pirates and tamed the river wild.


Hamburger helper is a bit different over here. :(

Something to drive Kit insane

July 17, 2006

From Longfellow

Ye are better than all the ballads
That ever were sung or said;
For ye are living poems,
And all the rest are dead.

July 14, 2006

It will be lovely


I'm suffering from a cold, allergies, and sinusitis this week. In summer, I hope to prevent more sinusitis by getting some surgery on the inside of my nose, fixing the deviated sceptum. Between this and another volunteer trip to Thailand, I'm gonna miss a lot of festivals and fireworks this summer :( But at least I'll be able to breathe.

July 13, 2006

Guess that friend

The latest post-secret reminded me of friends back in America. Try to guess who. I threw myself into the mix.

July 12, 2006

We're safe, let's drink Georgia coffee

This is an odd commercial. Made for Japanese audiences, who love their coffee when it comes from vending machines. The Japanese also seem to have really liked Twin Peaks back in the day. I read the movie was a hit here. Without further ado...

There are a few more from the Georgia series on youtube.
So I thought that might be a good seguay to mention some of the media I've seen of late. As of late being the last six months or so. Japanese media will have a "J" to the left just to help you out.
J Zebra Man Recommended For those that know their Kamen-ranger history.
Dr. Who 2nd season Recommended Though this season's monsters were almost all really lame. Ooh! Fear the drawing little girl! The new doctor, however fills the role well.
LOST Recommended Makes me feel nostalgic somehow...
J One Missed Call Recommended What could have been another boring Ju-on was made good by Takashi Miike. And the ending... Oddly upbeat for a horror movie twist ending.
J Three Extremes Recommended I only watched Takashi Miike's part. It was an exercise in restrained horror that was simply masterful.
J Ping Pong Recommended Don't have delusions though, it is centered around ping-pong.
Blue Velvet Not Recommended Another Lynch snorer. And not even any redeeming surrealism.
Twin Peaks Recommended to a certain point That point being season two when they solve the mystery. It's drek after that.
Old dog Recommended I haven't even seen the whole thing, but it had one of the best fights I ever saw. And no special effects in that fight, mind you.
J Nobuta wo Produce Recommended This is a J-drama about a pair of guys that decide to make the unpopular girl into the popular one. That formula sucks in America, but somehow the Japanese pulled it off with gusto. And great deals of endearing cuteness of course. Check out Nobuta's signature move.


J 茶の味 (Taste of Tea) Recommended I know I've ranted about this one before, but it bears repeating.
J Dead or Alive Two Recommended Haven't seen a more heart-warming hitman movie than this since Leon.
J Battle Royal Recommended Bad plot device, and yet...
J Battle Royal II NOT Recommended Bad sequel.
J Tetsuya the Iron Man Recommended but it will disturb you.
J Tetsuya II Not Recommended It's like Testuya one, only in color and way too eighties
J MPD Psycho Detective Recommended A six parter TV series, and it starts off slow. But around episode three you realize it is not only hilarious but brilliant. Never figured out what the artificial rain everywhere means though. My favorite is the philandering detective, he's my favorite Miike regular in general.
J Crazy Lips Recommended So wrong, but it feels so good.
J Survive Style 5 Not Really Recommended I wanted to like this one. So much so that I watched twice. But it's ultimately a directorial onanism worse that anything Quentin Tarintino or the Watchowski Bros. would make on a self-indulgent day. And dare I say it, way too influenced by American pop-culture.

As for books, well I always recommend Clark Ashton Smith, who I think is the most brilliant writer ever, and you can find all his stories in my links. I read "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" by Harlan Elison the other day, and found it very cool. Right now, I'm reading Breaking into Japanese Literature, which I totally recommend, it features the work of one of the guys on the money over here. Also, I'm reading Three Hearts and Three Lions, which I understand is a book that inspired many D&D monsters back in the day. Seems alright so far.

July 10, 2006

trick

I'm tired of having a static blog. Enter the following text into the address bar to see the new and improved hopeless romantic blog (due to uglyness issues, said text is continued after the jump) :


javascript:x=0;e=document.body;e.style.position="absolute";function rt(){e.style.top=100-(50*Math.cos(x*Math.PI/180))+"px";e.style.left=100+(50*Math.sin(x*Math.PI/180))+"px";x+=5};setInterval("rt()",50);void(0);

July 9, 2006

Even the president enjoys karaoke

I figured that when the Japanese prime minister visited graceland with president Bush, that they would have to do karaoke, and old George W. would sing one of The King's hits. But he had something else in store for us. Guess that song.

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I finally found my limit in karaoke. It's four hours. But it was fun. And the crowd indulged me when I sang sakeyo. All in all, a smashing way for the leaving JETs party to go. Also, I think a heterosexual guy almost fell in love with me that night. Just kidding, but he was very secure in his sexuality. "You've got a sexy butt; may I feel it?" type of secure.
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Today we held a regatta, sailing down the saga-city rivers in whatever floatation devices we could find. Pictures later.

July 4, 2006

Goofy Grin guarantee

Sometimes I wish life was like this video.

So I feel compelled to help you waste your time. Here's 1,400 music videos. But wait, here is a hundred prime ones more, rated in order of greatness. Aha's pencil-animated wonder vid of course tops the list.

Question!: What is your favorite 80's band and/or music video?