Iraq Fishing Roundup

Last year I noted a fascinating article about US soldiers in Iraq passing the time by fishing the ponds at Saddam’s palatial estates:
What to do when you’re bored in Iraq
Today, via Instapundit, I was happy to see a related post by Bigwig:
Fishes of Iraq: Aspius Vorax
Wondering if I had missed out on similar content around the net, I did a hasty search and found some other interesting links:
Donated Tackle Helps Troops Fish at Saddam’s Private Lake
Cyprinidae Fishing Techniques
Iraq Fisheries Data
Fishing in the lake behind Saddam’s palace using MREs for bait: PRICELESS!

Family Matters

I have quite a few relatives in Japan, and have met many of them over the course of my stay here. They are all from my father’s side of the family, because the wealthy snobs on my mother’s side cut off contact with their American relatives years ago. I have not tried to get in touch, either – although I’ve made plans to several times, it’s not really that important to me, I guess. I get busy and forget about it, you know how it goes.
I’m quite close with a few of my second cousins (on my father’s side). I go visit them in Nara sometimes, and we hang out. It’s just nice having relations around sometimes… I think of this as an added bonus for Nikkei since most of us don’t have the “blue-eyed, blonde-haired gaijin” looks and benefits associated with such in Japan.
Anyway. I’m in a difficult situation now, or rather, my cousin is. She told me about it a couple weeks ago, and I really haven’t stopped thinking about it since then. Her parents have set up a marriage of convenience for her. She is unwilling – she has a boyfriend, among other things. But her parents are unrelenting. These facts alone create several different problems and no easy solution. There are other factors involved, but this is as detailed as I’m comfortable with, for now.
First off, I told her not to elope with her boyfriend in haste. Such youth does not mix well with impromptu life decisions, and I can say that because I know. Luckily, she wasn’t really considering that anyway so I didn’t have to convince her too hard. In fact, she is now pursuing the best course of action possible, and we covered it in detail that day.
Basically, I gave her my support. There is nothing else I can do at the moment. I respect her parents and understand their motivation, but I support their daughter, which, by the way, is what I think they would want of me, as well. I know them well. It is not for lack of understanding or compassion that they would marry their daughter to a person she has never met.
My cousin expressed regret that there is no happy ending to this situation. I told her that you can’t make everyone happy, and that the real Japanese way to handle this – a dual skinny dip in icy water via Osamu Dazai – might be just a bit dramatic. She laughed out loud, and the sound of it made everything better for a instant.
We are keeping in touch, and when I think about this it consumes me.
For the time being, I ask anyone who reads this post to refrain from acknowledging it in the real world to anyone but me. There is zero chance of it affecting the situation at hand, but it will piss me off anyway. Meanwhile, thanks for lending an ear.

In the groove

I have a long weekend, so I’m going boarding with my bro and T up near Lake Biwako. We leave tonight and will sleep in the parking lot so we can get in a full day. Tomorrow night, Bill is closing his bar in Nara, so we’ll head there for some apres ski debauchery. Oh, my little cousin Nana broke her brand new Powerbook, so I gotta take a look at that before getting too sloshed, I suppose.
On Sunday, we’ll go visit Nam’s older sister, who flew over from Bangkok this week for a business trip.
Other than that, right now we’re at T’s house waiting for him to finish eating his bowl of soup and listening to Right On, a Last Poets vinyl. It is the angry sound of the street, in a world as far away from this little Japanese house as can be – but the pop and crackle of the record is familiar and soothing, and every single song on this album has been sampled for use in rap songs over the years. I sit here and mentally name the usages of the sampled sections as the record plays. Public Enemy, Jungle Brothers, Tribe Called Quest. To me, this is the sound of one hand clapping.
After the long, rainy drive out from Awaji, I am in danger of becoming immobile, because I am tired, and have found a rare moment of peace. Ah, but now they are calling for me to go. Well… If I must. Just drag me off to the slopes already.
I have known worse moments than this, and tonight I am smiling.

That’s “Mr. Loading Supervisor” to you

Due to unforseen circumstances, I just spent a whole half an hour 43 minutes supervising forklifts loading a huge truck with our products. You may recall that this is not one of my areas of specialty. Or it wasn’t until today, at least. Now that I can add Forklift Supervisor to my resume, I just might be able to relax a little and can die knowing I am a true leader of… operators. Plus, it was highly educational.
I learned that oncoming traffic respects vehicles with sharp-pointed steel arms protruding from the front. I also learned that the bald, white rubber tires on forklifts combined with a smooth concrete floor make for awesome power slides. Other than that, it was hard to pick up some of the nuances and whatnot, because I was too busy CONCENTRATING ON THE JOB AT HAND, FULFILLING MY WORKPLACE RESPONSIBILITIES, and really wishing I could be LEADING BY EXAMPLE.
I have learned that supervision, for the most part, is for suckers. It turns out that you just sit there bored out of your fucking mind while the peasants toil away and tell fart jokes, which may sound like fun, but sucks big nuts in reality. If you can get past that, you may be ready to be a supervisor.
Your role as a supervisor is simply to be there, and be ready to perform harakiri later if your guys screw up too badly. So you have to stay on top of them and treat them like they’re little children. This is not so hard, because the thing is, they begin hating you and will be jealous of the benefits and respect earned by your increased rank, such as being able to leave your desk without telling people where you’re going. Petty drones.
I was basically born to do this job, I think. For instance, as I supervised to the best of my ability, some of the operators asked if I was sleepy, but I told them the “spaced-out” look on my face was from being concerned with holes in the ozone layer caused by hydrocarbon emissions and would you PLEASE GO THE FUCK BACK TO WORK ALREADY! What, do you think yen grows like seaweed or something? Time is money, money is time! Jeez.