pacific rim pretentiousness 

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Happy blogday to me

Oh - and part of me is 1 year old today.

No, not the bald spot. Grrrr.

Posted by chris at 12:55 AM | Permalink

Get your war on again

Remember how everyone linked to get your war on back in October on the strength of their excellent first two pages of cartoons?

Still going; still great.

Posted by chris at 12:51 AM | Permalink

Blogroll 'em if you got 'em

I really ought to choose to be sick on bright sunny days that could be spent convalescing in the park, as opposed to ones that are grey and filled with relentless rain. Better planning next time, methinks. Time to slope off somewhere and drink hot chocolate, anyway.

Meanwhile, I'd just like to take this opportunity to point out that the right-hand sidebar is finally up and running. PHP and MySQL might not be able to solve all the world's ills (though I reckon either of them could have Jamie Oliver in a straight fight) but boy are they useful for building your own hand-rolled content management system. I feel my geek quotient rising as I type this.

But here's the important stuff - a bunch of blogs newly added to the disperse sidebar, including a few good Japan-based ones: and antipixel make their debuts, and returns at last.

Posted by chris at 01:07 PM | Permalink

Clandestine camembert baguettes

Other good things about the weekend: Lego ninja mousemat; classic Atom Boy-design writing paper; Breton crepes; smuggling groceries into a 10th-floor ragga club to make clandestine camembert baguettes; sitting under the cherry blossoms in Yoyogi Park drinking sake and eating freshly delivered pizza - giving your address as "tree 203" takes a bit of getting used to, but works surprisingly well.

Posted by chris at 12:25 AM | Permalink

Tokyo MacWorld 2002

Macworld was good fun on Saturday; I'm sure that had there actually been any corporate hospitality areas offering hot and cold running toga'd virgins and as many free iPods as you could carry away, our VIP passes would have got us in without a hitch. As it was, Dave and I had to settle for walking straight in to the main exhibition without paying - which, we both agreed, was preferable to a poke in the eye with a blunt stick. It was a bit like that part in Wayne's World where Wayne and Garth manage to get backstage passes - without the the bouncers, screaming groupies or Alice Cooper, obviously.

Lots of good Mac toys to play with; plenty of oohing and aahing over the PowerBooks and Harmon Kardon speaker sets - and the 10gb iPod was, of course, very strokable. Of particular interest, though, was the dual screen function that seems to be built in to some Mac graphics cards - you can plug an external monitor into the back of your PowerBook, say, and work off two screens at once - or, rather, a single screen displayed across two monitors. I imagine it would be useful for Dreamweaver, Photoshop or other apps that use lots of floating palettes - you could stick all your palettes on the laptop screen and have your main window maximised on the larger monitor, for example.

Also fun was the software on display from, as demo'd by their very personable CEO, Larry - it takes a normal digital photo of your face, applies and iterates an algorithm to identify your features and then *plink* - instantly renders you in surprisingly effective 3D. You can then be grafted into other software programs - chat clients, video conferencing apps, Quake-style shoot'em ups, etc. Here's a shot of me auditioning for the NASA space program; compare it to this real-life piccie and marvel at the accuracy. The software was clearly unable to cope with the size of my real-life proboscis, though, squashing it somewhat and giving me the air of a boxer who's walked into one too many fists. When they get the full release working it'll be invaluable for those of us who yearn to pick our noses gratuitously during long videoconferencing sessions. On bad hair days. In our underwear.

Posted by chris at 11:18 PM | Permalink


Snapshot of Chris at 5:00pm this afternoon:
lifelong DOS / Windows user; can get by on a Mac when necessary but not a big fan of the OSs, or the styling, or the fact that they crash all the time and can't seem to manage their own memory allocation the way Windows can; the Titanium G4 PowerBook and new iMac seem pretty stacked and obviously look quite cool but, well, why make the change - especially when Steve Jobs has just stood up the afternoon before and announced that Japanese iMac prices are to be raised by ¥20,000? No thanks.

Snapshot of Chris at 5:30pm:
eagerly browsing the Apple Web site; wondering how easy it would be to network his PDA and his three home and office Wintel machines with a (purely hypothetical, of course) AirPort (or possibly a Bluetooth chip) and PowerBook; looking forward to playing with the new 10gig iPod and wondering if he can get away with wearing his "Fuckintosh" t-shirt in an ironic manner the next day.

What a difference two free VIP passes to the Macworld Expo make.

Posted by chris at 12:54 AM | Permalink

Bush or chimp?

Bush or chimp? Hint - Bush is the one on the right. I think.

(via quiet resonance)

Posted by chris at 12:31 AM | Permalink


I want one of these very badly. Very badly indeed. Not because I have any real use for it - just because I'm a card-carrying early adopter who missed the chance to buy a folding keyboard for his PDA first time around. Now I can skip that clunky mechanical phase (actual physical keys? with mass? that move up and down? are you mad?) and move straight into the virtual.

(Link courtesy of my cousin Rob, who clearly needs his own blog.)

Posted by chris at 10:39 PM | Permalink

Why do I watch this crap?

An instructional video on how to put pyjama bottoms on an elderly bedridden relative... a "talk" show hosted by what appears to be the corpse of a flour-faced harridan... guests perched awkwardly upright on the edges of their sofas... I get the impression she'd scold them if they even looked like they were trying to relax... interviews with the crowd at Ueno Park for the cherry-blossom viewing... enthusiastic vox pop: "I came to see the cherry-blossoms! They're really beautiful!"... maniacally enthusiastic vox pop: "It's the cherry-blossoms! They're beautiful!"... even more maniacally enthusiastic vox pop: "I wanted to see the cherry blossooms! They're really beautiful! It's so calming!"... this, in the middle of a frantically elbowing mass of 10,000 housewives and grandmothers... a travel programme featuring things to do in Korea - if you're Japanese and only like doing on holiday things that you could do in the safety of your own country, of course, such as going for a Japanese-style massage, sitting in a sauna, eating Japanese food, or walking underneath blossoming trees...

I *can* turn it off... I can... I have the remote control... I *am* in charge of the situation.... breathe... breeeeeeeathe.... I *will* turn it off...

help meeeeee...

Posted by chris at 01:57 PM | Permalink

The Vernal Equinox, you say? Why, that's my favourite too!

Oh, of course, it's Vernal Equinox Day. Silly of me to forget. I even felt a little vernal as I got up this morning, actually, but at the time I put it down to the Nepali I had for lunch yesterday.

(Comprehensive list of Japanese National Holidays here)

Posted by chris at 01:35 PM | Permalink

National (Velvet?) Holiday

Happy... er... Whatever-the-heck-day-it-is-today Day to you! I know it's a national holiday today, I just don't know which one.

I know it's Something Day today because it's 1pm on a Thursday and yet I'm sitting here at home in my pants, reading newspapers and surfing particularly bad Japanese daytime TV... oh... that's how they make rice... I seeee... I really never thought I'd experience a wistful yearning for Richard and Judy. It's funny how life works out, sometimes.

Posted by chris at 01:16 PM | Permalink

Shopping Rebellion

Shopping Rebellion - a good article on the vagaries of Japanese fashion, courtesy of The New Yorker.

At certain popular stores, like Silas & Maria, a British skatewear brand, would-be shoppers are required to wait in orderly file in the street, as if they were on a bread line, before being permitted, twenty or so at a time, to rush in and scour the sparsely stocked shelves for any new merchandise. The next twenty customers aren't allowed in until the last of the previous group has left and meticulous sales assistants have restored the shelves and racks to their unmolested condition. The whole cycle can take half an hour or more. This is what Japanese teen-agers do for fun.
(Thanks to bgirl for the link)

Posted by chris at 10:50 AM | Permalink

"125 public information symbols have been determined"

Finally remembered to check out a URL that I've been meaning to look up for ages. Posters went up in subway stations a few months ago proudly proclaiming "125 public information symbols have been determined" and displaying a comprehensive list of government-approved signs, covering everything from "safety evacuation area" to "swimming place".

What I really wanted was one of the actual posters, but I'll have to make do with the free downroads instead. Plenty of scope for subverting these, I'm sure you'll agree. The t-bar one in particular is crying out for a spot of photoshopping.

Posted by chris at 11:53 PM | Permalink


People who unquestioningly forward on hoax virus warnings to their entire address book in the name of "being helpful" make me want to throw them off a cliff in the name of "buying them flying lessons".

Posted by chris at 02:28 PM | Permalink

Secret Force

Actually, one thing which was worthwhile about today was spotting a nice Japlish sweatshirt when I ventured out to the convenience store. A young chap was lounging against a vending machine, thumbing his cellphone, wearing a top that loudly proclaimed:


Either way, my friend, I think your cover is blown now, hmmm?

Posted by chris at 07:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Pocari? Sweet.

I'm sure there are other, more worthwhile things I could be doing on a Sunday, rather than just sitting here rehydrating myself (thank you, pocari sweat) after the previous night's revelry.

None spring to mind, though.

Posted by chris at 06:53 PM | Permalink

Shut up! Bloody Vikings.

I came out of the shower the other day to find that I'd missed a call to my cellphone. My keitai had picked up the caller's number, but I didn't recognise it - nor was there any voicemail waiting for me. I had been expecting a call from someone, so I dialled the number... and got a recorded message - specifically, a very bad recording (as in unconvincing rather than lo-fi) of what was probably meant to sound like an act of sexual congress, accompanied by a voice-over encouraging me to phone another number to arrange a more private audience at a love hotel of my choosing.

For god's sake - not only do I have to put up with the usual barrage of unsolicited e-mails promising to enlarge my breasts or reduce my mortgage (it's never vice-versa, is it?), but I'm now getting Japanese porn spam voicemail. Un-be-freaking-lievable.

Posted by chris at 11:50 PM | Permalink

The Little Ninja

Ninjai - The Little Ninja... Flash goodness from people who clearly know their stuff. I really like the way they reference classic Japanese artwork in their mist'n'mountain vistas... and of course it helps when it's mixed with caped Japanimation ninjas leaping through dense forestscapes, slashing at each other.

If you liked that bit in Princess Mononoke where Prince Ashitaka decapitates a samurai from a couple of hundred metres away - with a bow and arrow - I think it's safe to say you'll love this.

Posted by chris at 11:47 PM | Permalink

The end? You promise?

Number 31 in the "CDTV Midnight Groovy best ranking" pop charts tonight appears to be Yuki, with a song called the end of shite.

Not... sure... why.

I bet there'll be some more along soon enough.

Posted by chris at 01:11 AM | Permalink

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