Friday 29 June 2012

Privates on Parade

My new base school has relatively modern buildings. Because of this, the men’s toilets don’t have manual flushes, but are all on motion sensors. Nothing so great there, you might think; this is Japan. In many Japanese homes and hotels it’s not uncommon to find toilets with controls so complex they would make even Data or Sulu give up hope and just use their shirt-tails instead.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

The Opium War

Julia Lovell, 2011
(June 2012)

More imperial (mis)adventure. Her Majesty’s Government as military-industrial drug pushers. Obviously this is one of the more morally suspect episodes in the history of the British Empire, and it’s not exactly short of competition in that respect.

Monday 25 June 2012

Tin can at my feet

Rainy season, yadda yadda… typhoon… yakkity yak… tsuyu… jabba jabba… I’m so wet right now… waffle waffle… nothing will ever be dry again, and so on and so forth.

Look, just listen to the fucking song, alright?

Friday 22 June 2012

Offensive Things - Number Two

2. Getting Their Attention

This half-hearted attempt at an ongoing series is an effort to put some of my scrappier thoughts into some kind of order. As such, please don’t view anything here as concrete or a final position. Comments, thoughts, and any help in imposing some sort of order are all very welcome. Frankly I’m in still in two minds about whether to post this at all, if nothing else because it’s even more self-obsessed and introspective than usual. But we’re all adults here, so let’s see how this goes.

Potential trigger warnings. I hope that means nothing to you, as it did for me only a short time ago.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Look What You Made Me Do

I'm a good man. I'm a considerate husband, a loving father, and a conscientious employee. I don't deserve this. What did I ever do to you?

Monday 18 June 2012

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

and, Through the Looking Glass And What Alice Found There
Lewis Carroll, 1865, 1872
(May 2012)

Despite Jabberwocky being one of only two poems I can recite from memory, I only read (and saw) the Disneyfied version of Alice when I was younger, but bought the ‘real’ thing in uni. I was toying with an idea for my thesis – trying to extend the Red Queen hypothesis on dynamic equilibrium beyond biological evolution to cover social systems as well. My tutor, with depressing ease, convinced me that my ideas were a little too vague to base a research project on, and the book’s been on the shelf ever since.

Friday 15 June 2012

Childish Things

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man I put away childish things.
I Corinthians 13:11

My right wrist hurts. Seriously, it’s fucking wrecked. I really think I might have strained something. We got our first dial-up internet connection when I was 16-years-old, and even all the opportunities for self-abuse that presented didn’t result in my forearm hurting this much.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

All She Was Worth

Miyuki Miyabe, 1992 [Alfred Birnbaum, 1996]
(May 2012)

I don’t usually read all that many crime books (except when I do). This one was almost an impulse purchase. I’m lucky enough to work in a city which has a few decent sized department stores with reasonable selections of English language books, so I’ll spend the occasional lunch-hour seeing what’s available, and resisting the temptation to buy them all.

Friday 8 June 2012


“Black people! Very cool!”

How do you respond to that? Specifically, how do you respond to the genki 15-year-old Japanese schoolgirl who approaches you after your first lesson and blurts that out, apropos of nothing? And then, crucially, waits for a response.

Clearly the technically correct and honest answer is: “Yes. Many are. But many are also twats, just like everyone.” But that’s kind of going to pop her bubble, y’know?

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Shake The Bottle

It's orange, you see, and slightly dribbley. Which is all the excuse I need to post this -

Monday 4 June 2012

Monday to Friday

Part One went up on Friday, for those of you who missed it. Up to speed now? Right then, on with part two…

Friday 1 June 2012

Apes on a Train

I tried to be strong. Truly I did. But, lord knows, I’m a weak and venal man and the temptation was just too powerful. I was never going to make it through forty days of the devil whispering sweet nothings in my ear and so I’ve caved. Caved. Collapsed. Folded like a dead-beat poker hustler watching his final chips disappear in an illicit Chicago speakeasy.

Here are my mandatory microaggression posts. I hope you’re fucking happy now.