madness in the metropolis 

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Metropolis blogging feature

Oh, it looks like that Metropolis article on blogging has come out at last - and guess who's mentioned in it? Gawsh. One of the quotes attributed to me makes me sound a bit of a prat (when I catch myself saying that the blog has lately been "more to do with a desire to express myself"), but I can't really complain as I did actually say that. Ah well.

So, if you're reading this having come from the Metropolis article, then hi and welcome and so on. If this is your first taste of blogs and bloggers, then don't worry: there are far better examples of the craft out there. In particular I'd like to point you towards the following:

Apart from that, have a rummage through the rest of the site and see what you can find. If you have nothing better to do, I'd be interested to hear what you think - about the site or Tokyo life, that is, not just whatever happens to be running through your addled minds at the time. Unless it's particularly salacious, of course, in which case I'm all ears. Dozo.

Posted by chris at 12:25 PM | Permalink


The salaryman and the Shibuya girl

Tokyo mini-vignette on the subway this morning. A sarariman and a Shibuya girl sat opposite me, the salaryman fast asleep, jaw on chest, mouth so far open I was tempted to try flicking things into it, slouched so far down in his corner seat that his head, lolling to one side, was partially wedged between the seat-back and one of the grab-rail supports, the bridge of his regulation-issue corporate warrior spectacles being squished into his face by the chrome railing. Commuting never looked so glamorous.

The girl, in spotless trainers which looked fresh out of the box that morning, spray-on jeans, excessive 80's blusher and with a CECIL McBEE shopping bag perched on her lap, was wired in to her cellphone via a set of mini-earphones, studying the display closely as she thumbed away at the keypad, presumably listening to a downloaded MP3 as she composed an e-mail to a similarly-attired friend, or maybe trawling i-mode for news of the latest boutiques.

Two very different engines of Japanese economic growth; one slaving away for a susidiary of Japan Inc, one busy pump-priming its retail sector by buying shiny baubles. I wonder what they made of the smartly-dressed gaijin sitting opposite them? Fellow cog in their machinery, or parasite foreigner? Or, rather, what they would have made of me if they hadn't been busy drooling onto their shirt or hunting down Hysteric Glamour stores...

Posted by chris at 02:28 PM | Permalink


We are the Fictionsuits

Wasn't so bad today, actually. I feel no need at present to vent about Tuesday's move, which means you are spared the story of our company's Covert Operations Directorate, which seems to be staffed entirely by wizened OAP gentlemen in casual clothes and bum bags. It can wait.

And it's finally time for me to come clean and 'fess up: I have joined a group blog. Yes indeed; we are the Fictionsuits. We will probably take some time to get into our stride, but we're taking no prisoners. It's going to be interesting to see whether I develop distinct styles for the two (Tokyo Tales / Fictionsuits) - interesting for me as a writer, anyway, but quite possibly more like dental surgery for you as an audience. Open wide, anyway.

Apart from giving me a chance to find out what Greymatter can do and forcing me to dig out awful photos of myself in bad suits, It's probably most worthwhile for introducing you to four other fine young men: Swerd, Ethan, Doc and Misuba, all of whom are more than worthy of a share of your Webattention.

Posted by chris at 03:03 AM | Permalink


Time to wade in

Note: The following post first appeared on fictionsuits.com [?]. Reproduced here in full but without original comments.

Enter the fifth suit. I had to be the last to post, really - not so much because I enjoy having everyone's attention as I make my dramatic and fashionably late entrance to the party, like I was walking onto a yacht, my hat strategically dipped below one eye, my scarf it was apricot... sorry, got distracted there for a second... but more to do instead with my shocking ability to prevaricate like it's going out of fashion.

Which leads us to an interesting corollary: by the time I actually post this, it may well have done.

You can only prevaricate so long, of course, before "fashionably late" becomes "turning up just as the booze runs out". In the realm of a blog, supposedly the distillation of Web publishing into its purest, most instantly gratifiable form (until we all have FTP clients installed on our wristwatches - or, better still, Web servers embedded in our skulls), does pre-post-polishing even have a place? Which is better, post-haste posting or prior preparation and preening?

a) You should act, and act now. Carpe the diem, the noctum, and everything inbetween. In fact, screw it - carpe anything you can get your hands on that ends with the letter "m". Now. Don't look back, don't look forward, just look at the present as it's all any of us really have. If you must look back, then it's better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven't done. Try, fail, and try again. And again. Better yet, try, succeed, and suceed again. Even better still, try not (you don't need no green latex goblin in a swamp to tell you that there is no "try") - just do . Do everything you've always wanted to before Swerd's ice cream truck gets you, as life after death is, in all likelihood, a lot like actually being dead.

b) Look before you leap. Fools rush in. It's better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven't done unless the something you have done is get a couple of your friends killed because you all thought it would be a good idea to carpe that stolen Porsche for a joyride on a whim, even if whim does end in "m". It's a bad idea to charge in half-baked, ride a motorcycle half-cut, or take hard drugs half-heartedly. Afraid you'll fuck up? Yeah, well, your chances are greatly increased if you do something ill-considered. So step back, sit down, breathe deeply. Look around, look back, look ahead. Take your time, take it slow, prepare carefully so that when you do arrive, you arrive ready and you arrive well.

Your turn, reader. (a) or (b)? No half-way, no "it depends" or "a bit of both", no sliding scale. You cannot phone a friend. Which are you - do you take the plunge, or do you play it safe, and does your strategy serve you well? Polarize, people. Me? I think it's about time I learnt how to hotwire a Porsche.

Posted by chris at 07:22 PM | Permalink


Multiple exclamation marks

Oh, Jesus H Christ on a bike. I hope my employers aren't planning to hold a bunfight in a bakery any time soon. Based on today's farce, they'd need all the help they could muster. I don't normally do this, but pardon me please for a moment while I vent.

Today we reorganized the office slightly; one of the departments was being relocated, so a new desk cluster had to be fashioned for them. This meant "rationalizing" the neighbouring department's desk cluster; unfortunately, I got rationalized at the same time.

Until today, I was sitting with the same department I used to work for. I changed jobs back in February but we couldn't be bothered to move me - there was nowhere else for me to sit, anyway. Finally my boss has reclaimed me; as far as I can tell, I've been moved nearer to him so that I can be summoned to fix his e-mail without his having to stand up and come get me.

Seriously, that's really pretty much the fundamental building block of our professional relationship: his e-mail stops working, I come fix it. Some of the ingenious and challenging ways I have "fixed his e-mail" in the past include:

  • turning the ethernet router on
  • pointing out that his Caps Lock was on, thus rendering his password invalid
  • sitting down in his chair and typing the password in myself
  • sitting down in his chair and clicking on "send and receive mail"
  • sitting down in his chair and moving the mouse fractionally, thus bringing the computer out of sleep mode
  • sitting down in his chair
  • coming within six feet of his workstation
I'm not kidding about the last two - either I have some kind of mystical IT support aura going on here, or he isn't really trying very hard to fix it himself. I'd prefer the former, of course. User tries to send e-mail: nothing. User fetches Chris. Chris stands near computer, bids user try to send e-mail: success. Office falls silent, people back fearfully away as curious electrical discharge plays over Chris' suddenly powerful form, music from Highlander starts playing, etc.

Ironically, I've actually been working with the old gang more than ever before; I'm consulting on a couple of Web projects that they've undertaken and it would have made far more sense to leave me where I was - instead, I am suddenly more fully exposed to the whims of my boss's luddite lapses. Swapping Flash and Director authoring for Outlook Express troubleshooting... not good. Not good at all.

So anyway, I got to swap my seat in the main, open-plan office with huge windows and nice sunsets, alongside a bunch of people with whom I enjoy working very much, for a spot facing into the corner of a windowless, enclosed enclave. I am actually now the nearest person in the office to the door but, unfortunately, making a dash for it without going past the boss would mean scaling the seven-foot wall my desk is set against and then vaulting down into the lobby - so I'm trapped until I can fashion a crude ladder from twisted paperclips and ingeniously folded pages from my Access 2000 and Dreamweaver manuals.

I have a promise from my old team that they will come and evacuate me for lunch at precisely one o'clock every day, which is touching (*sniff* thanks, gang) but I have the feeling that if I'm not ready to move on the dot of time, the helicopter may leave without me, stranding me in my shared cell. We get fluorescent desklamps to compensate for the lack of natural light - and boy, do they make up for it!!!!!!!!!! That's how bad it is - I've had to resort to multiple exclamation marks to denote sarcasm. Fuck.

I'd better get some sleep, try to clear my head. The saga of the move itself I'll have to leave till tomorrow - if I'm not too busy slitting my wrists, that is.

Posted by chris at 12:22 AM | Permalink


Momus at Tower Records

Wow. I almost hate to drop so much prime reading material on you in one go, but I feel I must direct you to check out the Momus website. I'd never heard of him until last night, but he's a musician with an insatiable appetite for all thing Japanese, and his essays on aspects of pop-culture and Tokyo urbanism are most definitely worth a read, if you're into that sort of thing. Which I am.

It turns out that he's playing in Shinjuku tomorrow night, so I think I'll dash across after work and try and catch the show. It's just a half-hour-or-so set at Tower Records, but Bethany's story and his allmusic.com biography have intrigued me something rotten. I'll make sure I have something suitably angsty ready as raw material if he's offering to write songs for people on the spot. Possibly this will depend on whether or not he has any more legal costs that need defraying.

Posted by chris at 10:52 PM | Permalink


Veni, Vidi, Hacki

Heh - no sooner do I idly wish out loud for a potential hacker version of the Caesar blog than I get mailed this by the man himself - nice one, Caesar. This son of Londinium salutes you.

Posted by chris at 01:16 AM | Permalink


Are you experienced?

Much of Saturday night was spent chatting to Cath, who's heading off to India for a few weeks. Dave and Anita have already been, spending nearly three months there a few years ago, and it sounds like an amazing experience - if rather hard work sometimes.

One of the more unexpected things they mentioned seeing was William Hague on honeymoon, being paddled around on the lake surrounding Udaipur's "floating" Lake Palace Hotel (used as one of the sets in Octopussy). Apparently they were close enough to have shouted something to him, but were unable to think of anything suitably witty at the time. Neither were we on Saturday, actually, but what's wrong with a simple "oi, tosser!"? Sheesh. The well-prepared world traveller should always be ready to hurl invective at smug creepy dwarven balding imbecilic right-wing political failures - something they *don't* always mention in the guidebooks.

Posted by chris at 09:31 PM | Permalink


Serving suggestion for a Saturday night

Serving suggestion for Saturday night: have dinner with friends you haven't seen for a while, dash downtown to a favourite bar that turns out to be having a ram-packed street party, get roped in to a "smash the watermelon with a bloody big stick while blindfolded" game, win said watermelon, break it apart and eat it with your bare hands, sharing as you go, get the juice absolutely *everywhere*, watch the police arrive and confiscate the stick, hop in a taxi to the club, bop away to some groovy house beats, emerge blinking into the mercifully overcast morning and be safe in bed by six. Serves as many friends as you can muster.

Posted by chris at 01:24 AM | Permalink


Whoops

Just-recalled moment of drunken shame from last week: in a bar, the DJ playing lots of rock, metal, god knows what, certain members of our group collectively gritting our teeth, and the intro to "Lay your hands on me" by Bon Jovi becomes faintly audible as it starts to be mixed in... and I recognised it, just like that. Straightafreakingway, less than two seconds in.

I am *so* ashamed.

Posted by chris at 06:06 PM | Permalink


404 research lab

Stop the press: quality not found page found. I think you know what I mean. More listed at 404 research lab. (via bwg)

Posted by chris at 06:02 PM | Permalink


Laid low by bad cod roe

wtf? nothing for three and a half years, and suddenly *bang* - two days off sick in one week. The first one was a head cold, but today I just feel ready to yak. Maybe it's morning sickness. Or, more likely, the sushi I had last night.

Bugger - today was going to be productive, too. Instead I managed only to leave the house and travel one stop in the direction of work on the subway. Swaying. Swaying bad. I gave up, got off and walked slowly back home, overground. I've spent most of the day asleep, actually - anything rather than watch any more Japanese daytime TV... please don't make me... nooooo....

Suppose I should do some more work on The Kanji SITE, try to get the freaking re-design finished. I've pretty much done the hiragana and katakana sections now, which was a major stumbling block. Just the links page to go, I think... and a few loose ends to tidy up, but they can wait till my freshly-assembled team of beta testers points them out.

Posted by chris at 05:00 PM | Permalink


I came, I saw, I blogged

Tired of reading blogs by American teenagers moaning about their homework assignments, and how their parents won't let them go to Insane Clown Posse concerts? Want to read about a *real* struggle? How about the day-to-day slog of forging a continent-wide empire in the glorious name of Rome? Thought so.

I bring you the blog of Julius Caesar. Seems historically accurate, but part of me can't help but feel that a comedy version, moaning about how Brutus "suxor", and how he wishes the senate would "shut pu", would be even more entertaining. (via Centurion Swerdus Maximus)

Posted by chris at 12:29 PM | Permalink


To avoid seeing this message again, buy an Apple Mac.

Pissed off with Windows and its Blue Screen of Death? Unsurprisingly, perhaps, you're not the only one. Be sure to check out the latest version of Clippy, Word's "help" function.

Posted by chris at 12:01 PM | Permalink


Typhoonic tedium

I can't complain, really; I had a sick day yesterday, after all, but it still surprises me that some people apparently managed to avoid going into work today because of the typhoon.

Here's how typhoons work in Japan: They hit the Pacific coast somewhere around Kyushu (one of the southern islands of the main archipelago), they cause a couple of landslides, a couple of dozen families are evacuated from their homes, some poor bugger is killed while trying to clear leaves and branches from his roof gutters (happened again this year), and there's lots of flooding.

This all happens down south, of course, and then the typhoon moves up the coast towards Tokyo, where it rains a lot and maybe gets a bit windy for a day or two, and... that's it. Just that. No landslides - there's nowhere left for any land to slide to in Tokyo, it's so flat and densely packed. And no-one ever dies while clearing storm damage from their gutters, because we have large, intricate spider-like robots that crawl all over our high-rise futuretech buildings, clearing them for us.

If it gets reported to death in Tokyo, it's most likely because the Japanese love making a fuss about impending natural disasters (beats soccer as a national sport - less hooliganism) and Tokyo is home to the highest concentration in the country of people who make those animated graphics for news bulletins, showing navy-blue, crystal-clear rivers (why are they never brown and raging?) neatly bursting their banks and octogenarians falling smoothly off roofs.

Back to the above-referenced post, though - the laughing thing. I thought I'd share with you my (albeit limited) accumulated wisdom on Japanese laughing methodologies. If a Japanese person laughs, it means he or she is one (*at least* one) of the following:

  • amused
  • unamused
  • nervous
  • petrified
  • unsure
  • flattered
  • embarrassed
  • mortified
  • comprehending
  • baffled
  • listening
  • awake
Hope that clears things up a bit.

(Just kidding about the robotic spiders, by the way. But I hope I had you going, even if only briefly.)

Posted by chris at 09:12 PM | Permalink


Big freshwater fish

Woke up this morning to some of the heaviest rain I've ever seen; Typhoon Pabuk is making its way up the Pacific coast towards Tokyo, and we've been getting the leading edge of its storms all day. I had to dash out to the dry cleaner's, a 45-second sprint from my front door, to pick up my shirts before work and basically got drenched, despite the umbrella.

By the time I actually left the flat, it had abated from "monsoon-strength" to merely "torrential". Torrential I don't mind, as long as it's roughly vertical. Horizontal rain - something ain't right there. The downpour had nearly stopped completely by lunch, and the streets were smelling strongly of the sea - unsurprising, perhaps, given how much of Tokyo Bay had been dumped on them by that point. I was half expecting having to pick my way through a shower of frogs, or pavements piled high with shoals of fish, but given the office's proximity to Tokyo Disneyland I suppose it was equally likely that we'd end up with a freak downpour of Mickeys and Donalds. It's a small world, after all... *thump* it's a small, *splat* small *thunk* world...

Posted by chris at 05:28 PM | Permalink


William Gibson in Wired 9.09

Wired's been excellent this month - a series of articles on Japan-tech, including a great little piece by William Gibson on his private Tokyo:

Shinjuku at night is one of the most deliriously beautiful places in the world and somehow the silliest of all beautiful places - and the combination is sheer delight. And tonight, watching the Japanese do what they do here, amid all this electric kitsch, all this randomly overlapped media, this chaotically stable neon storm of marketing hoopla, I've got my answer: Japan is still the future, and if the vertigo is gone, it really only means that they've made it out of the far end of that tunnel of prematurely accelerated change.

The entire edition will be available on-line, maddeningly, on September 11th, so set an alarm in your palm pilot or keitai now, or just buy the print version.

And why do I never bump into Douglas Coupland and Michael Stipe in the Shibuya Tokyu Hands? Bah.

Posted by chris at 11:52 PM | Permalink


Come back, Richard and Judy; all is forgiven

Well *that's* a first. I'm taking my first sick day off work - ever. It's an odd feeling... I don't feel guilty, as such - and nor should I, given the state of my throat and my sinuses - but still... I *ought* to be in the office. I just oughta.

But instead I have Japanese daytime TV to look forward to... yum. Lessee...

Channel 1: News. News about rain. It's raining somewhere. Oh, there's a typhoon coming. Great. People trying to catch shinkansen in Osaka are worried about possible delays. Not actual delays, as far as I can tell... just possible delays. Shocking.
Channel 3: Documentary with manic-haired hyperactive thirty-something showing us how men load fish onto conveyor belts. Fascinating.
Channel 4: Home shopping channel... ugly handbags embroidered with teddy bear designs. (Man: "See how convenient the clasp is to operate!" Woman: "Wow! It's so easy!")
Channel 6: TV drama (like a UK soap opera, only worse) with extremely poor acting and cheesy background music.
Channel 8: More shopping. Handbags again.
Channel 10: Anime. Muscled basketball players undergoing some kind of sporting crisis.
Channel 12: Real-time stock market report; commentary in whispered tones, as if to try and convey the seriousness of the situation (Nikkei at lowest level for 17 years).

I now understand why Japan had such a powerhouse economy for so long - faced with daytime TV like this, wouldn't *you* rather be in the office?

Posted by chris at 11:35 AM | Permalink


dnainjapan

I've decided I really like my new php sidebar. Notice, if you will, that not only is the fridge report fully up to date but the disperse list of blogs and other sites is also newly engorged. I'll be updating the listening to part in a few minutes, and then hopfully I'll find it much easier to keep things current. I would update the reading list, but... I'm not actually reading anything at the moment, apart from Wired and my new camera's manual.

Meantime, of the newly added members of the aforementioned disperse list, I'd just like to give special mention to Dave and Anita's web thing, dnainjapan, as they've been good enough to link to me since they started, and I've only just gotten around to reciprocating - gomen ne, guys. They have some good photos from the Fuji Rock Festival (mine are coming soon, I promise), and Dave's made some of his mp3s available for download, too - he's actually a rather shit-hot dubmeister in his spare time, so you should definitely have a listen. Hopefully he'll START DJING AGAIN SOON (spot the subliminal message)... and yeah, sorry Anita - PlayStation + boys with thirty-second attention spans (unless the object of their attention is matte black and electronic) = death of polite conversation. 'S just the way it is.

Posted by chris at 07:41 PM | Permalink


New toy

Hee hee hee. If I sound at all like a kid with a new toy over the next few days, then... um... it's probably because I *am* a kid with a new toy.

Today's shiny bauble purchase is a Sony digital camera, to replace my crappy little Kodak APS. It seems to work pretty well at first glance, though it also looks like it gets through batteries the same way I get though pocky sticks, i.e. at an alarming rate. It's only a 2.1 megapixel model, but that's all that my drunken bar-going friends and I require - I've still got the Olympus for quality analogue shots, anyway.

Evidence to be posted on-line shortly...

Posted by chris at 07:15 PM | Permalink


The Semiotics of Smoking

The Chap is without a doubt the finest on-line review for gentlemen of breeding that I have ever been fortunate enough to happen upon; fight spiritual malaise, learn how to dress for golf, and let Howard Spent's guide to the semiotics of smoking assist you in telling the difference between a nouveau riche and a rum cove. Genius.

Posted by chris at 12:31 AM | Permalink


Pppffffft

Well, this is... er... interesting: Water Gun Tokyo 2. No, it's not some kind of Japanese riot-control method (now there's a thought...). I haven't read it all yet, but basically a Tokyo photographer takes pictures of young women spitting water at his lens.

Fascinating, even if it does look rather disconcertingly like spew in a couple of cases. (via gmtPlus9)

Posted by chris at 12:45 AM | Permalink


wlEM shAkspEr rulz

This is sheer genius, even if you don't speak fluent hacker: Romeo and Juliet for the L33T generation:

Romeo: A/S/L?
Juliet: WTF?
What utter class; there's more like it at no-effort online movies. ROFLMAO.

Posted by chris at 12:16 AM | Permalink


PHP perfection

excellent - it all appears to have worked. blogger and my ftp server are now playing happily together on the swinging tyre, picking fleas out of each other's fur - and eating them. bless.

one thing, and one thing only: please don't link to www.tokyotales.com/blog/index.html any more, as it doesn't exist. I'll put up a re-direct tonight, but I'd rather people just linked straight to the php page, which is the default page anyway: http://www.tokyotales.com/blog/ should do fine. much thankingness.

Posted by chris at 03:26 PM | Permalink


PHP paralysis?

Quick warning - I'm about to go all php, so bear with me for the next thirty minutes as I slowly coerce blogger into playing nicely with my FTP server ("blogger wanna banana?" [waves banana] "nice banana, look, yum!" [mimes eating banana, smiles exaggeratedly, etc. blogger refuses to budge or do anything other than sit huddled in corner, hugging own knees and rocking slightly back and forth] )

Fingers (and bananas) crossed...

Posted by chris at 02:21 PM | Permalink


3-D Pong

It's a beautiful, sunny day. I'm going to get up out of this chair, put on some clothes, and go for a nice walk in the park.

Or I was going to - until I found this. Now I will stay inside for the next 45 hours straight (until I have to go to work on Friday) and play three-dimensional pong until my carpal tunnel syndrome becomes so bad that my mouse-hand needs amputating. It's like cocaine - but easier on the nasal membrane.

Posted by chris at 12:03 PM | Permalink


Moody / unamused / calculating

Eeek; I'm all over the front page of GBlogs and their cam portal - "like a cheap soooot".

Shit. Must try to smile more; I look like I've just killed someone. My default setting seems to flick between moody / unamused / calculating, when I'd rather it was contented / amused / approachable. Well, okay - maybe I'm quite happy with "calculating".

Maybe I need a gimmick to soften the image. Or at least a catchphrase. Or, better, a cute sidekick. Any volunteers?

Posted by chris at 08:30 PM | Permalink


Superb Gerling video

Oh, and I can't vouch for the song itself, but the video for Gerling's single "The Deer in You" is superb. Two rednecks hunt the Gerling members, made up as deers, wearing yellow backpacks and bounding through a forest in their super-bouncy trainers. Gerling trap the hunters between a cluster of trees with synths built into the trunks, where they force the rednecks to dance as they play the bark bontempis before disappearing underground to quaff green cocktails with mask-wearing leprechauns.

It was showing in Tower this afternoon, although without the sound turned up; I only realised it was Gerling when they showed a mini-interview after the video and the name came up in katakana. Gerling were the ones who sounded like two different bands when I saw them at Fuji this year - dull guitar rock on the one hand, but nice house beats on the other.... oh, that's right... you won't have any clue what I'm talking about because I haven't finished writing up the Fuji weekend yet... jeez. Bad Chris. I'll do it soon, I promise. Honest.

Posted by chris at 08:18 PM | Permalink


Fuji Rock Festival '01 webcast

Excellent news for those of you who missed the Fuji Rock Festival last month: practically the whole thing is going to be re-broadcast over the net, starting August 16th. Have a look at http://frf.msn.co.jp/live/index.html for the schedule, and plan your listening accordingly. I assume that all times quoted are Japan Standard Time, which is GMT+9 (London+8, New York+13).

Don't forget your hat and your sunscreen, remember to drink plenty of fluids and I'll see you at the Orbital and Coldcut gigs - again.

Posted by chris at 07:53 PM | Permalink


Shinjuku strolling

Well, it *was* a dull day... until a random phone call pulled me down to Minami Aoyama and initiated an evening of long island iced teas and smooth beats (as in good music, rather than well polished hazing rituals) at Las Chicas. Well I never.

I couldn't be bothered with a taxi; it was still pretty warm outside and not too humid - perfect for 3am - so I strolled home instead. It only took about an hour, and as I approached Yoyogi I realised how low the cloudcover was; the light grey sky (does that part of Tokyo have white, not sodium-orange, streetlights? I can't remember noticing before) was smothering the top half of the NTT tower, with the illuminated DoCoMo logo blurred but visible through the fog.

Ditto the skyscrapers on the west side of Shinjuku station; dark monoliths, corroded to half-height by the fog. Through the dull mist, with no sign of life or light inside, they appeared more massive than usual, any sense of perspective or range obscured by the fog. Then again, it could just have been the booze, as they looked pretty normal again this morning. Whatever.

Posted by chris at 04:49 PM | Permalink


Permalinks now working

It's been a productive, if dull, day. I finished exporting the remainder of the 755 level 2 kanji (don't ask), built my first php page, and got the archives working properly. The permalinks should all be working if (and I realise it's a big if) you find yourself wanting to link to any of the dross contained withinhereinforthwithbelow. I can't be bothered to change the template yet - click on the timestamp at the end of each post, or right-click it and select "Copy Shortcut". Mac users can work it out for themselves, I'm sure.

Posted by chris at 07:09 PM | Permalink


To the Batmobile!

If I had one of those secret garage pit things (see below), I would never leave the house.

Actually, that's not true. I would leave the house but I would only do so in the car, via the trapdoor. I'd install a small subterranean passageway, in turn accessible via a batpole. And I wouldn't bother having a second car parked on top; maybe some cleverly hinged fake patio furniture instead. Or a swimming pool.

Posted by chris at 04:38 PM | Permalink


Coolest garage ever

One of the small apartment blocks opposite me has the coolest garage ever.

The couple who live in the ground floor flat have two cars, but only one parking space. Their single space is overhung by the rest of the building, so they don't have room for a vertical stacker, capable of lifting car #1 into the air so that car #2 can park underneath it. (NB those are very common here, even for residential blocks. I saw some 2D ones in NY too but here you get full-on, three-dimensional monstrosities, capable of holding an array (as in data structure rather than range of types) of vehicles in a neat 3D, 5x3x2 box. I want one, but I don't even own one car, let alone 30.)

Instead their solution is pure Thunderbirds. I watched the other day as the guy swung car #1 out into the street, parked briefly, returned to the parking space, pressed a button on the wall, and stood to one side as the metal floor swiftly trapdoored up and into the side wall of the parking bay, revealing the roof of car #2. Another button on the control panel, and car #2 rose majestically into view (hydraulics? pneumatics? giraffes with strong necks?) Then he drove car #2 onto the street, reversed car #1 back into the bay, lowered it back into the pit, and then drove off in car #2.

I *love* this place.

Posted by chris at 04:28 PM | Permalink


Yawn

Christ, I'd forgotten how boring holidays could be.

Screw this - I'm going into the office tomorrow.

Posted by chris at 02:37 PM | Permalink


PHP possibilities

Ah, I seeeee... so *that's* how php works... riiiiiiiiiiight. The conundrum of the infrequently updated right-hand-sidebar is sol-ved, methinks.

Posted by chris at 02:35 PM | Permalink


Just plain wrong

Eeeuw, god, this is just horrible: a nine-year-old bodybuilder. Just..... eeeuw.

Posted by chris at 05:12 PM | Permalink


Kanji SITE relaunch

It looks like I have quite a way to go before The Kanji SITE is ready for re-launch. (Demo pages here, here, here and here.) I just did a Dreamweaver "check links site-wide" on the development version of the site:

Files: 4320 Total, 2328 HTML, 1507 Orphaned
Links: 49008 Total, 48689 OK, 88 Broken, 231 External
Shit. I suppose 88 broken links out of 49,000 (0.18%) ain't bad, but still... thassalotta orphaned files. I think 1001 of them are just backup copies of the right-hand pages... have to investigate further.

I'm just stepping back inside; I may be some time...

Posted by chris at 10:55 PM | Permalink


This is expressly *not* a hiatus

Busy busy busy. This is not a hiatus - this is merely work pressure. I have at least four things I'm working on simultaneously right now, and probably one or two that I've forgotten about. The Fuji write-up is being delayed accordingly... damnit. I know you're all itching to hear how the Hothouse Flowers went down, after all.

Luckily, the Obon holiday starts in two days - then I'm free to work on the site twelve hours a day, pausing only to stroll through the park every now and then to refresh myself and get away from the radiation source that is my monitor.

Or I might just spend most of the week asleep.

Posted by chris at 10:51 PM | Permalink


A goddamn long way

I now know exactly how far one lap of the stretch of river next to my flat is. I've measured it diligently over the last few weeks, jogging from my flat south to Ome-Kaido, north all the way up the opposite bank to Waseda Dori, and then the final stretch back south again to the flat. I have yet to confirm this with GPS technology, but I can confidently state, after rigorous testing, that one lap is exactly half of A GODDAMN LONG WAY. (Plus or minus 2%.)

This is based on the discovery, earlier tonight, that two laps is precisely one goddamn long way; eventually I hope to build up to three laps (one unbelievably long goddamn way) or even four (one-and-a-third unbelievably long goddamn ways). I'm sure there's a way of doing all this in metres, but part of me doesn't want to know.

No left sock filling with blood this time, either - progress.

Posted by chris at 01:22 AM | Permalink


I am Jack's Younger Self

I am Jack's Younger Self - incontrovertible proof of the links between Fight Club and Calvin and Hobbes. Genius. (via DoctorGrosz)

Posted by chris at 02:12 PM | Permalink


Wipeout Fusion preview

Okay, I have set the wheels in motion. Tokyo Tales is transferring hosts; I'm currently waiting to hear from the existing host company regarding the DNS transfer, so don't be surprised if there are a few moments of weirdness over the next couple of days as I try to synchronize the new DNS with my FTP and with Blogger's FTP. Fingers crossed.

In the meantime, go and check out a quicktime preview of the forthcoming Wipeout Fusion on the PS2... can't hardly wait, no sirree Bob. (You name *is* Bob, right? No? Oh.) Many thanks to the resplendent Nigel for both that and the flash shoot'emup below.

Posted by chris at 08:12 PM | Permalink


Bloody socks

I took off my socks after getting back from my run last night, and found that one of my toenails had been digging into the adjacent toe, dyeing the inside of my sock a nice rusty red. Lovely. Of course, it only started hurting *after* I saw the damn blood, didn't it? Ow.

Posted by chris at 10:31 AM | Permalink


A scanner darkly

Right. That does it.

After nearly three hours of scanning photos on one of the office Macs, I have reached a decision: I will buy a digital camera. There - I have spoken.

Posted by chris at 05:50 PM | Permalink


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