Friday 30 March 2012

Take me out to the ball game

Today is the start of Japan’s professional baseball season. I don’t follow baseball that much, in all honesty. I’ll keep half an eye out for the local team’s results pretty much wherever I am though; I barracked for the Crows when hating Wayne Carey was practically mandatory. Almost any sporting event is good to watch live, but it’s hard to get too worked up about a sport which, in the UK at least, is the exclusive preserve of stroppy teenage girls. It’s always struck me a bit like cricket for people who’ve forgotten to take their Ritalin.

Darren Jarman's extra limbs were something
of an unfair advantage.

Wednesday 28 March 2012


(March 2012)

I love my iphone. I’m not an Apple fan-boy. I mean I’ve got an ipod nano as well, but while a lot of their stuff is very nice to look at, it’s also unfeasibly expensive for what I need it for. Any decent smartphone would do, I reckon, but an iphone is what I’ve got.

Monday 26 March 2012

Ball and Chain

Previously, on this is how she fight start…

Every so often a British TV channel (usually Channel 4) will show an ‘educational’ documentary about a group or a person with a hideously disfiguring condition or ailment. They’re normally justified as ‘awareness raising’, but frankly they’re just an updated version of a carnival freak-show. Stuff like The Man With Trees For Hands, The Woman With Three Tits, or The Boy With An Arse For A Face.

One example which really stuck in my mind was a programme about massively fat women and their partners. The Women Who Ate ALL The Pies, or something.

Friday 23 March 2012

Trouble and Strife

Every once in a while my wife will invite her friends from university over for lunch. These are the same friends who dressed my up like a prize twat for the ‘entertainment’ at our wedding, so I actually like them quite a lot. I’ll usually make a bit of an effort on the food front - a cake or a roast or something - and this is politely, if not always enthusiastically, received. 

One of the others in the group had a foreign husband, so I’m not so much of a novelty any more, and I always get the feeling that my cooking is received in the same fashion as Samuel Johnson received women preachers; it’s not that it’s done well that’s notable, so much as the fact that it’s done at all.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Transmetropolitan Vol. 5 and 6

Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson, 1999-2000
(February 2012)

The adventures of Spider Jerusalem continue. They’re about as subtle as a headbutt, but they rattle along at a fair old pace and are entertaining to read. Plus, violence is funny (not really kids! Remember to brush your teeth before bedtime).

My usual habit of buying these collected editions in pairs has come back to bite me in the arse here somewhat, as volume six leaves off halfway through a story-arc. I guess I’ll just have to be patient until my next order. It does give me a chance to expand on my theory about ‘Box-set Syndrome’.

Monday 19 March 2012

Epistemologically Unsound Conclusions Concerning Japan and the Japanese, Based on Japanese Television

Number six in a series of some

“Japan is a technological backwater”

I know, it’s got all those disturbing (sex) robots which otherwise serious engineers and academics seem to think will better help us/them understand (sex) emotions and (sex) feelings. “Captain Kirk, what is this ‘Love’ you humans speak of?” Never mind that these (sex) robots all dwell so deep down the uncanny valley they’re practically underground. Troglodyte (sex) mannequins are not the bleeding edge of technological sophistication.

And neither’s this. Or this. Or this. Never mind the (sexual) robotics, Japan clearly still hasn’t got to grips with PowerPoint yet. I know the first is pretty decent as far as model making goes, but the other two are cardboard signs and pointy sticks. That's primary school science project level. And that’s doing a disservice to primary school science projects.

These are prime time current affairs programmes, so clearly it can’t be a question of cost. All that cardboard and sticky-backed plastic adds up, and some of those things must have taken ages to construct. Clearly the only explanation is that no-one involved has the faintest idea about computer graphics.

Friday 16 March 2012

Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist

(February 2012)

You knew this one was coming, sooner or later. I finally got a dead-tree copy and for once I’m not going to hide behind my usual ‘these are just some of my thoughts’ disclaimer. I’m going to try to do a proper review. Loco’s blog was a contributing factor towards my starting this one. A small one, admittedly, but a real one none-the-less. There’s also a decent chance he might actually read this, so I figure I should do us both justice and take it seriously.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

A Kick in the Teeth

The results of the Senior High School entrance exams were released today. This year I’ve taught at SHS exclusively, but for the two years prior to that I taught at a couple of local Junior Highs as well.

Every year I wander down to the courtyard to see how my former/prospective students will fare. They don’t know I teach here too so most of them ignore me, which is fair enough as they’ve got bigger fish to fry. For a few of them though I’m an obviously welcome distraction during perhaps the most stressful hour of their lives so far. It’s one of those times when you feel that if you’ve made it easier for even one student then it’s a job well done.

The Iron Jackal

(February 2012)

Apparently if you write a steampunk book with ‘Iron’ in the title, you must have a picture of a train on the cover.

That’s the trouble with genre writing; it’s too easy to mock the conventions and for bad writers to get away with guff by sticking to them. Of course, they also give good writers something to kick against, subverting expectations and all that.

Friday 9 March 2012


The first thing you do is send a text.

No, that’s not right. The first thing you do is try to send a text. And try again, and again, and again. Send. Contacts. Send. Contacts. Send. Send. Send.

“I’m OK. You?”



Wednesday 7 March 2012

Death – The Time of Your Life

(February 2012)

A fairly straightforward one, this. No real twists or turns, and it all comes good in the end. An enjoyable if unchallenging little coda to the rest of the Sandman books.

Monday 5 March 2012

One of Those Days

Not only did I manage to bake a banana loaf with a whacking great hole in the middle, I couldn't even focus the camera well enough to get a decent shot of it.

Friday 2 March 2012

I Wish I Was Special

Chopsticks. Always with the fucking chopsticks. I spend hours crafting a witty, eloquent, and insightful post – a post which directly address our capacities for perception and understanding, and thus skewers the very heart of the human condition – and all people want to talk about is fucking chopsticks. It doesn’t matter how many clever-clever references to fictional Victorian junkies I slip in, it all comes back down to the fucking Magic Food Twigs.