I gave up on Typepad

Now that more information has been made public about the feature set and restrictions, it is quite clear that it is not what I want. I think I’ll just go with Mov(e)able Type and try to adapt it to the moblogging system I enjoy with my Yapeus account.
Yapeus has two main flaws: HTML cannot be edited, and the servers are frequently overloaded. I don’t even mind using a different domain name so much. But I want better accessibility and more control – I can’t even make links with Yapeus.
I might install Gallery again as well. It was nice when I had it running on my prior hosting account. Of course FeaturePrice fucked all that up, but I won’t get into that now – feels like picking at old scabs.
Haven’t updated my static pages yet either. I think I’m waiting for an inspirational moment. Funny thing is, I’ve been waiting for this one for a long, long time.
I’m also waiting for an aftermarket racing parts company to market a bolt-on hovercraft kit for my car. And for a sweaty Paraguayan spy with blood dripping down her forehead to knock on my door wanting to swap valuable textiles and a rare talking ape for my greyscale Powerbook 190. I’d do that deal in a second, because you don’t need opposable thumbs to type…

oooof!

I’m back to work after a long respite and it’s kinda like getting elbowed in the stomach as far as the level of enjoyment. Yesterday was the first day back, and man, it was like summer vacation never happened – both analog and digital inboxes overflowing, phones ringing off the hook, and of course the obligatory Boringest Meeting of All Time in between it all. Almost went postal, but then thought about how hard it would be for my colleagues to pronounce that word correctly and that made me feel a little better.
I have manymany photos up at the yapeus moblog that I sent from my phone during vacation. None of them are annotated yet, so I should just break out the silver tincture and a belt sander and get on with it, I guess.

Yoshida-Machino Futon Cleaning, Inc.

On my first trip to France, I fell in love with Paris. It just felt like home for some reason.
Mostly this was thanks to Taro’s girlfriend at the time. Her father was some Spaniard nouveau rich hombre dude who hit the lottery. All other aspects of her life were offbeat, as well. I think she was a gypsy, and I mean that in a “spinning dervish nomadic salt of the earth” type of way. She and Taro had met on his 2-year journey across Australasiurope (easier to show on a map than describe it with words), and he had spent 6 months with her living on the streets of Paris with interesting people.
I met some of them after spending a few days in Bordeax with friends (and my dad!). Nighttime arrival to the cold, foggy streets of Paris was kind of a shock after the hot afternoons sampling sparkling wines in St. Emilion. We got lost a while but eventually found the squatters camp where Taro’s friends were sleeping. Every last one of them were icons of Parisian street culture. Nose rings, tattoos, passable English, and real friendly to friends of friends. We spent a few nights partying out with them. They had these wild ghetto parties, where the commotion would start in a single apartment room then spread to surrounding rooms and eventually the whole apartment complex. Only still images of those nights flash through my mind when I try to recall everything that happened. Egg-sized balls of nepalese choco shaped into miniature Incan gods. Karaoke speakers pushing the voice of would-be Solaars so hard the cones cracked, then disintegrated. Olive drab cots covered with yellowing futons that leaked cottony entrails onto a beer-damped carpet. And a guy who looked Laotian.
The next day, in one of those strange coincidences that utterly convince you that everything is somehow connected, Taro brings up a new business idea. Apparently he had not not seen the futon I described above, but had noticed other futons that his friends used and proposed that we start a futon cleaning business. To this day I have no idea if he was serious or not, but I ran with the idea in a flurry of verbal diarrhea: Funto cleaning? I have zero knowledge of the subject! Oh, you want to bring an somebody who has experience here? Why not just airlift an old man and his entire shop from the riverside in Kyoto and set him up in front of the Arc?
For some reason, this idea never got past the early discussion stage.
Before we came back to Nippon, there was another futon coincidence. We were at the street markets watching these African guys cook bright red sausages over oil drum fires. These are the goat sausages called marguez that sometimes have hair in them; they are the ultimate ghetto food and melikeslikeslikes. Stuffed in baguettes ala kebab, these were second in yumminess only to roast duck on that trip. I walked through the market and browsed while stuffing my face, pink grease streaming down my chin – ah, the joy of unashamed public gluttony! We passed through stalls offering cheap clothes, toys, junk. It was refreshing to see cheap clothes and oily plastic products from somewhere other than Asia for a change. We saw clothes made in Senegal, and a teacup made in Luxembourg (!). Then we came upon the drums.
There were several adjacent stalls selling hand-made djembes, ashikos, and other hand drums. It was a sea of drumming wonderfulness. These were the real deal, hand-carved from wood with rough metal fittings or (depending on price) intricate hand-tied webbing for holding on the goat skin heads. I could not help but taste the spicy sausage stuck in my teeth and wonder if I could buy a whole animal bit by bit… After all, there were those leaf spring knives with goat horn grips at the earlier stalls.
To make a long story short, I bought a shitload of djembes. As in, too many to carry home. Far too many. Taro’s girlfriend offered to send them to me if I would send her some disposable hand warmers and a futon from Japan in exchange. I asked why she needed a futon. Apparently her sister’s had gotten funky and stank to high hell no matter how many times it was hand-washed, because the filling started to mildew before it could completely dry…
Does anybody know if there’s a futon cleaning shop in Paris now?

Animal Farm

With help from the shizzolator, might old Major have been more of an inspiration to the Panthers?
Shizzolate that shit:
“Now, comrades, what is da nature of dis life a ours? Let us face that shiznit:
izzle lives are miserable, laborious, ‘n short n’ shit. We are born, we are given just so much food as will keep da breath in izzle bodies, ‘n those of us who are capable of that shiznit are forced work da last atom of izzle strength; ‘n da hella instant that izzle usefulness has come an end we are slaughtered wit hideous cruelty.” No animal in England knows da meaning of happiness or leisure after tha dude is a year old.” No animal in England is free.” The life of an animal is misery ‘n slavery: that is da plain truth.”
“But is this simply part of da order of nature? Is that shiznit because this land of ours is so poor that that shiznit cannot afford a decent life those who dwell upon that shiznit? No, comrades, a thousand times no! The soil of England is fertile, its climate is gravy, that shiznit is capable of affording food in abundance an enormously greater number of animals than now inhabit that shiznit, know what I’m sayin’? This single farm of ours would support a dozen horses, twenty cows, hundreds of sheep–‘n izzall of ’em living in a comfort ‘n a dignity that are now almost beyond izzle imagining n’ shit. Why then do we continue in this miserable condition? Because nearly da whole of da produce of izzle labour is stolen from us by human beings.” There, comrades, is da answer izzall izzle problems, know what I’m sayin’? It is summed up in a single word–Man, know what I’m sayin’? Man is da only real enemy we has n’ shit. Remove Man from da scene, ‘n da root cause of hunger ‘n overwork is abolished fo’ ever n’ shit.”

I’m so hooked on the shizzolator it’s not even funny. I know my dad will probably be using it for all his e-mails.

P’tan Merde!

“The French Army would feel humiliated to go to Iraq and be put in the same category as the Poles or the Uruguayans as part of the cleanup team.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/29/international/worldspecial/29FRAN.html
You may need to register to view the page. I think it’s worth it (as in, “it’s free!”).
I love France, been there a couple times, and have good friends there. One of them told me a story when we went wine tasting in St. Emilion, regarding an embassy dinner conversation between representatives of France and the US.
During talks concerning immigration the French dignitary’s wife made small talk, likening US/Mexico border problems with France’s woes in regards to “those fucking Arabs.” This is a common view in France, although you may not believe it considering all of the stories this past year about their supplying of weapons to Iraq (and many other countries/organizations), Chirac-Hussein buddy pics, etc. The French were shown as being sympathetic to Arab countries.
The thing you must remember is that the French sell even cutting edge weapons/technology to just about anybody. They are not too proud to accept riyal, dinar, or rupiah. I see this as pure profit motivation. This is solidly documented on- and off-line but if I provide links it only encourages your ignorant ways (read: I’m lazy as hell).
They do have big immigration problems in France and this leads to feelings of hate toward immigrants, many of whom immigrate from Arab regions.
Parallel to this, however, is French arrogance/snobbery, and prevalent feeling among the French that they are somehow… superior. The quote at the top of this post is the most arrogant crap I have seen for a long time, although it can be amusing to infer that the French have finally accepted their new status in the world (no longer on top, but certainly too high to be placed on the “cleanup team”).
I really want the source specified, although it was probably the wife of an ambassador to Poland or Uruguay.

Shizzolating Lewis

What would you do if you could not wake from a dream where Snoop began reading you a bedtime story, say “Arrowhead” by Sinclair Lewis?
“Da driver of da wagon swaying through forest ‘n swamp of da Ohio wilderness wuz a ragged brizzle of fourteen n’ shit. Her mother they had buried near da Monongahela–da brizzle herself had heaped wit torn sods da grave beside da river of da beautiful name.” Her father lay shrinking wit fever on da floor of da wagon-box, ‘n ’bout tha dude’s ass played her brothers ‘n sisters, dirty brats, tattered brats, hilarious brats n’ shit.”
I’d be crying like a bizzatch.

Blogging on Break

I drove to a Lawson’s (convenience store) today to buy bottled water on my lunch break. It seems I am doing this with increased frequency lately. There is something inherently unappetizing about eating in the company cafeteria… Maybe I just don’t enjoy being in the company of a thousand other people during my meals. Reminds me of elementary school, big time.
For starters, men and women sit separately. I shit you not. The split is about 70% males to 30% females and you can draw the line from where the unofficial but quite visible “men’s area” starts. This was the most surprising sight my first day here, three years ago or so. I even asked my manager about it. HE said it’s because “this factory is out in the country.” Yeah, that’s probably it. That’s also why among 3,000 or so employees there are no women in management positions here – ZERO! Now that’s hardcore boy’s club mentality if I’ve ever seen it. And I am now the only foreigner here. Good thing I blend in.
Well, I was originally going to post this on my moblog, but it suits here better. This whole post reminds me how I’ve left my salaryman series just hanging for like two years. I had to stop writing it because it was no longer funny to me, it just got sad. But as evidenced by my recent spurts of writing – I’m making a comeback.
Now hurry up and finalize Typepad so I can can Blogger forever!

Ain’t no future in yo frontin’

Strolling around the “America Mura” area of downtown Osaka, I realized how hard it is to find worthy photo subjects when everything around you is screaming for attention in some way. This particular day I was in a funk of sorts and was really dreading the black guys draped with rap-vid stylings who step up with a practiced “Yoyoyo, checkit oooooout!” and persistently try to pull you into the hip-hop boutiques that hire them expressly for this purpose.
Objectively it doesn’t seem like they would have a very high rate of success with such crude tactics (reminiscent of the black-suited “greeters” who pester passers-by into girly lounges and “health” parlors). Then again, Japanese are the mark of choice worldwide due to their perceived naivety and the lengths they will go to avoid making a scene or being shamed as much as they are for the presumed portafortunes. For all I know, the boutiques could be doing really well, what with MTV Japan and every radio station in the land inundating the airwaves with really, really, really HORRIBLE JapRap, as well as the constant media spin of black idols like Tiger Woods, Bob Sapp, and any number of chubby gaijin sluggers playing baseball here. I haven’t heard so many semi-veiled references to the size of black male anatomy since junior high. Is this a model example of success or failure of the government’s “internationalization” efforts? In my opinion, Perry may have sailed in a bit too late: These sales tactics arguably exploit their client’s inbred shame as well as their employees’ skin color… But you can explore those avenues later, I’ll just point in the general direction.
When this “stone cold playa” sales tactic first appeared in Amemura some years ago, I would talk to these guys out of curiosity. They would usually consent to small talk after I made it clear I wasn’t interested in the merch. Of course, the talented ones would talk only after I agreed to check out the store. I checked out many of the early stores – nothing special, really, just racks of very expensive baggy clothes, some featuring embroidered signatures of celebrity rappers. I liked these boutiques as they played music I sometimes liked as opposed to many other stores of the period which constantly blared J-Pop Top 10 Countdown from tinny boombox speakers or had succumbed to the “Macarena Fever.” Memories of that just sent shivers down my spine – Hey, just for that, fuck internationalization. Japanese music peaked with big ass drums and stringed instruments adopted from China.
Having just implied I would avoid the morality issue two paragraphs ago, I punish you for making assumptions: It is somehow disturbing to see these guys be used just to sell killa-gangsta dreck in this particular way. On the other hand, a job is a job and working for anybody is assenting to being used in some form. Just because it disturbs me does not mean it is wrong; my automatic reactions to various “race-related” issues are as ingrained as yours so I do not claim that my view is right or universal. But it is my view, and I enjoy exercising the right to express it freely, although I hope nobody gets too worked up about it. This might help: Imagine a peaceful hippie’s serene and strictly vegetarian expression while he sums up his wise views: “There is no right or wrong, it just IS, dude. Peace.” More on this later. (And yes, I know vegetarians are just born that way and it’s not their fault.)
Compared with the present, there were relatively few guys working for the pioneering shops bac in the day, and I eventually got to remember most of their faces and styles. This is an example of my mind’s unchecked background workings: At some point I unconsciously assigned nicknames to these guys according to closest corresponding real-world rapper, but I have never told anybody about this; it was just jarred loose from the memory banks (Reminder to self: Need DDR Upgrade. Wait for MRAM?). Anyhow, the guy who always reeked of Drakkar was dubbed DJ Quik. The guy with a Kangol was an easy LL. Two guys with fake gold chains and letter-shaped rings were EPMD (I don’t remember what the letters on the ring spelled. Damn.). One time there was a guy who looked EXACTLY like Snoop, in fact, it might have been tha shizzolator hisself as I only saw him once – he wasn’t working, just talking with guys who didn’t merit rapper nicknames. Yeah, I might once have been in the presence of the Doggfather… Except for an itty-bitty detail having to do with the way he talked… You see, it wasn’t quite the quaint LBC pronunciation we have all come to know and love.The most damning evidence was the total lack of the words “bitch” and “ho” in his discussion of… Cricket. Cricket as in, “the sport probably not gaining instant recognition in the streets of Los Angeles and surrounding counties.”
You have been patiently gnawing until now and here’s your marrowish treat: When asked, almost all of these guys initially claimed they were American, or regarding specific locale, they were quite often “from LA”. This was highly entertaining to hear. Even though there are all kinds of people in Los Angeles, I would not have bet on any one of them ever having set foot on the continent of North America, much less LA. Their stacatto “Yo-yo-yo wassap G”sales pitch was not really reflective of their true English speaking abilities. After all, they are there to pitch to mainly Japanese prospects. Proficiency in Japanese was required, English usually was not. But you can bet that the Art of Yo was covered thoroughly in early stages of training. This is scary. I have a picture in my mind of one of these guys making enough money to actually take a trip to the states: Departure from KIX. Arrival at LAX. Hotel Check in. Find way to the beach. Watch girls play volleyball… Ah, Cali at last… Watch guys playin hoops. One guy has really nice tattoo. His eyes meet yours. He’s walking over. Maybe you can be homies. Excited! Better make best impression. Ha, easy! Just remember Rule #1 from Osaka branch training: When in doubt, gesture madly with arms. Chest out! Enunciate! Here we go with traditional street/pimp/playa greeting:
“YOYOYO WAAASAAAAAP BEEYAAATCH!?!”

Jayzus, my comp just scared the hell out of me…

I’m blogging from a slightly worn but surprisingly comfortable lounge chair I happened upon in the foyer of a wedding hall, located in a once-was-ritzyish hotel in Ibaraki, a lackluster suburb steadily infesting the area between Osaka and Kyoto. I staked my claim on this cluster of chairs and their centerpiece hardwood coffee table about half an hour ago…
As I type, people are staring at me and my baby U3 as they walk by; I can discern the suspicious technophobe-types from those who are just curious by their furtive glances and hurried gait. In all fairness, the ‘phobes are relatively open-minded toward tech, compared to just five or ten years ago. I suspect my open flaunting of it just disturbs them on some primal level; it touches raw nerves to see that the machines are steadily taking over the world.
I believe that the Japanese telecom industry’s advertising efforts to push broadband on the masses – a great percentage of whom are probably not even sure where to affix virtual postage stamps on e-mail – have a marked effect. Like I said, these ‘phobes are relatively in the know. Whereas 10 years ago my comp might conceivably have been derided as a tool of [entity of choice] without even the possibility of identifying it’s particular function, I imagine the unspoken sentiment of the modern day ‘phobes as: Why would you use a computer in public, when the whole purpose of going outside is to interact with real, live, emoting people?
To which I reply:
I gave up on people like you a long time ago.
Now shut up.
I am tweaking my blog again.
In Haiku form:
Waste no time on you,
Dumb ox, shut your gaping maw.
Typeface: Sans-serif.

Dammit, Blogger is pissing me off.

Yeah, archive this, you oppressive buggy software-providing asswads! I somehow think this UnknownHostException error I sporadically encounter is NOT MY SITE’S FAULT. But every time it reappears I spend a long time trying to work around it anyway, because I want the gratification of instant publishing when I put in the effort to write a post.
Methinks the only thing more depressing than bad software is software that’s almost good enough. Dammit!
I’m leaning toward TypePad for my permanent blogging soft, although with the luck I’ve had with my site this year this MT-based package will probably end up pulling a disappearing act after languishing awhile in beta testing purgatory. Ah well… Gotta have faith and all that.
A flash from the past: Internet browser wars. Netscape taught me not to love any program too much (although I must admit I still cannot replace most of my favorite freeware, especially for macintosh).