Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Daft Punk was awesome. I almost squeed myself three or four times during their set and I will forever treasure the memory. I got some video but my idiot finger was over the mic for most of it so it sounds terrible. Too bad, but no video could ever, ever do justice to the mind-blowing kickassery that went on.

I put some more stuff together. I got up to the last song on this list and then couldn't take it anywhere without changing the mood, so here I will call it finished.


Daft Punk - Harder Better Faster Stronger (Jools MF Bandwagon Mix)
Scott Grooves - Mothership reconnection (Daft Punk Remix)
Riot In Belgium - La Musique (JBAG re-edit)
Mustapha 3000 - Kongo Thong vs Khia - My Neck My Back (acapella)
Kelis - Bossy (Switch Mix)
Martin Bros - Stoopit (Red Foxx Wamp Wamp edit)
Heartsrevolution - Crystal Castles (Acid Girls' it's no the size that matters mix)
Justin Timberlake - Lovestoned (Kaskade Remix)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thoughts in my brain

I was thinking about poetry the other day. I can't decide whether it's funnier that I thought up a theory to explain why teenagers' poetry is so bad or that I think I'm right. I also thought of a way to quantify how bad or good poetry is, but to do so you'd have to cut open the listener's brain to measure levels of hormones floating around and I don't think that you could get funding for an experiment that would kill everyone who took part in it. That being the case, you'd probably have to read poetry to mice or something, which would help us figure out what kind of poetry mice like. I don't think NSF would want to fund that one either, which is too bad for the mice.

I'm going to see Daft Punk in a few weeks. Those who don't understand how awesome this is either don't know Daft Punk or don't live in Missouri. Last time they toured through the US with the current set, it was the first time in either 9 or 10 years. I'm really lucky. I don't know how long it's been since they've gone to Japan.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Honorary Pagan

I have taken part in an ancient pagan ceremony celebrating the passing of summer and welcoming the coming fall. It was pretty awesome. Saturday I had sukiyaki with the host family. One of the sons is married and has a kid, who cried shortly after meeting me despite my gift of pez. In the evening we put on special festival shirts called happi, went to the local temple, and placated the spirits by drinking lots of beer.

There were two of these mobile shrines called mikoshi, one pulled by the kids and one by the men. Women get to supervise the kids and hand the men beer at the stops. Some younger guys rode in the shrine and pounded on the drum while everyone else pulled the shrine around with ropes and by the big logs. In old times the things were carried like palanquins, and in some places still are, but ours was a smaller local festival so there weren’t enough people to carry it. It was still really heavy.

To the rhythm of the drum, everyone shouted out “yoyasa” in call-and-response fashion which means something like “make us healthy”… or something. There was a major language barrier and it’s not in my dictionary. Every now and then we would stop pulling it and everyone would sit on one side to pick the bottom of the drum up so it would be louder and the chant would change to “hitochi, hutachi, mitchu yoyasa!” (one, two, three yoyasa). More beer would be drank as we sat and shouted for a while, and then we’d ease it down and continue on. After three stops we returned back to the temple and one of the mid-20s guys pounded out a special rhythm on the taiko while everyone clapped out some other pattern and everyone yelled something.

The next day we did the same thing again in the afternoon, except this time they let me in the mikoshi and bang on the taiko for a while. When you’re at ground level it’s so loud you can feel it punch you in the chest, but when you’re in the thing itself it isn’t nearly as loud. It was terrific fun, and I was very very lucky to be invited to do it.

After that round was finished, we went back to eat dinner and then once more to the temple to make a final round. The last time, all the younger men went to one side of the mikoshi and the older men to the other, and we picked up the thing and bounced it up and down while chanting something else that I couldn’t understand but was more rhythmic and changing and awesome. After doing that like ten times we did the taiko thing once more

I had homework to do so I didn’t really want to drink, but they said that I had to have one to make me strong. After that they kept refilling my glass. I think America really needs holidays that endorse and encourage public drunkenness. I feel like it rings false and overly reverent when I say this, but the drums and feats of strengths and ritual drinking (I wasn’t lying about placating the spirits) and shouting I could sense something that was awesome, moving, and very, very old. Something very like this has been done for god only knows how many generations, stemming from primitive man screaming back in fear and defiance at the wind and the rain. This festival is by far the coolest thing I’ve done here.

Monday, October 22, 2007


It's really weird how "balls out" and "balls deep" mean the same thing

Friday, September 14, 2007

Bikes in Japan

While I was in Hikone, I got the impression that all anyone had in Japan was these unrideable POS commuter bikes. Once in a rare while I would see someone on an honest-to-goodness road bike, once even in spandex, but I can count the number of times that occurred on one hand. Anyway, I borrowed one of the crap bikes from the school so I could go shopping and stuff, and while it was ludicrously undersized it did have a bell AND a honky horn on it, so that was alright.

Anyway, now I’m in Tokyo and I am learning that Hikone was not typical. Not that Tokyo should be seen as typical, but here there is a much greater variety of bikes. There are a lot of messengers, and they tend to ride shiny new singlespeeds, almost always tastefully colored, rather than the fashionably shitty fixed gears that you so often see in America.
They have the commuters and foldable bikes here, too, but I’ve seen some that look like they have internal gearing or something. This one was suspended in some weird way. There was one foldable bike that had monstrous pegs on it. I also saw some dude on a bianchi somethingorother.

There are also a lot of bikes made by car manufacturers here. I had heard of Cadillac bikes, but they were just a curiosity, really. I was surprised at first, but now I’m used to seeing once in a while a Chevrolet bike. The best one was this Dodge BMX bike.

“That thing got a Hemi?”

I'm staying now in Osaka. There are a lot more hostess bars and a lot fewer messengers. I went to one enormous underground complex that had every kind of shopping you could imagine. One display was advertising Sharp TVs and had some silly biking on it.

Edit: I can't get it to upload. I'll try later

Saturday, September 8, 2007

hot hot hot, red hot

Some more music. I haven't cut this one up in to bite-sized chunks, but it's fun. I've just started to get the hang of using ableton, so this is experimental until I can get a handle on some more of the functions in the program. I have a great mix of the thong song that I wanted to get on there, but I ran out of momentum when I got to the Bjork. More will follow, I'm sure.


Best Fwends - Bedroom Music
Don Rimini - Sumo and Geishas
Yuksek - Composer (Surkin Remix)
(dunno) - Knight Rider theme song
Soulwax - I Love Techno
Diplo ft. Daft Punk - Work is Never Over
Speaker Junk - Close Your Eyes (chopped by me)
Stardust - Music Sounds Better With You (Chateau Flight Remix)
Daft Punk - Musique
Bjork - Innocence (Simian Mobile Disco Remix)


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Where I've been

For the most part, I've been hanging out with this guy. He had a spinal cord injury when he was 18ish, and needs someone to help him get in and out of bed, to help him grab stuff from shelves, cook and feed, etc etc. Most important is helping him transition to his full-time Japanese caretakers.
"Hoteru Mayonezu"

The plane ride was uneventful. We went first class, since he had to have seats that recline fully or else he might get a deep vein thrombosis and die. He also had to have lots of room so he wouldn't get a pressure sore, or else he might die. It was fun, though. I sat down in my spacious chair with fold-out TV and 3-prong plugs, and said yes to everything the flight attendants offered me. This included extractable cheese.

The scenery was nice, but right after hte meal everyone shut their windows and tried to sleep. I stayed awake the whole time but for about 45 minutes, going on the theory that since I was arriving at a normalish bedtime I could reset my clock in one night. It's a good idea, I think, but only if you can go for a full 24 hours and then get back on schedule after 6ish hours of sleep. I don't know if it qualifies as jet lag, but I was pretty sleepy for a few days.

First class clouds.

We went to Kyoto, and there was enough in the station alone to keep us occupied for several hours. It's an amazing place from what we were able to see in the few hours we had, and I plan to go back as soon as I can.

Some artwork on the 15th floor of Kyoto station.

I'm living for the time in a little town called Hikone (that's Hee Koh Nay) in the Shiga prefecture. You can see windsurfers out on the lake fairly often. The lake itself looks different almost every day. All the trees and gardens here are very well maintainedIt has a long history, of which I'm mostly ignorant, but it has a cute little mascot named Hikonya. He and his nemesis are ALL over town. I've forgotten the other one's name, but he's often pictured with a bottle or barrel of alcohol next to him. Hikonya wears a helmet with huge horns on it, which was a distinctive feature of the warriors of Shiga prefecture.

Some kind of shrine or cemetary.

We visited the castle gardens. They were beautiful.

I'm going to Tokyo on Monday for two nights, and then to Kyoto for one night and then Osaka. After a night in Osaka, I will be meeting my lovely girlfriend at the airport. Then to Nishinomiya, a suburb of Osaka, to begin orientation and everything for school. Kwansei (Kansai) Gakuin Daigaku, which translates roughly to Kansai (western region of Japan including Kyoto and Osaka) University University.

I have lots more pictures, and keep adding to the collection. See here for more.

Food here is tasty, but I find myself craving hot dogs and beer. I haven't found hot dogs, and the 3 types of beers I've tried here they've all been pretty terrible. I miss my girlfriend

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I'm here. Google can sense that I'm connecting here and puts all of its buttons and text in Japanese, so it's taking me a while to figure out how to post things properly. For now, this sign on a cafe in Osaka nat'l airport will have to do.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Welcome to Hill House

I’m staying at the lovely Brady Beckham’s house for the time leading up to my departure. On top of being a really sweet deal for me financially, it happens to be the coolest house I’ve ever stayed in. Please, allow me to show you around.

8B Clarkson from the front. Note the 25 degree angle of the driveway, which makes the walk from your car to the door an actual workout, and as my bedroom is on the very top floor begins the 20 foot vertical rise between my car and my bed. That’s not my car. On the descent, the angle of the driveway makes you fling your feet out in front of you and lean wayyyy back in some comical swaggering sillywalk or else risk cartwheeling down the hill with only concrete to pad your fall. So the driveway is neat, but most of the houses on this street have something similar, so we have to go inside to see what really distinguishes it from the rest.

Following the stairs all the way up, we come eventually to the master bedroom. As befitting the master of the house, the master bedroom comes with its own private balcony, upon which you can sip scotch and smoke fine Cuban cigars while perusing the morning’s stock reports.

Right now there’s a mattress and crappy plastic shelving on it, so unfortunately I have yet to use it to its fullest.

Aside from the balcony, the bathroom is what makes this the master bedroom. Each bedroom effectively has its own bathroom, but mine is the only one where you don’t have to peek your bare ass into the hall before getting in the shower, and as far as I know is the only one with a sweet red mood light to get you ready to shit. I’m guessing it’s there because reds and blues aren’t perceived as well at night, and the red light lets you read Harry Potter with reasonable clarity while your hairy pooter (woo!) goes to work, free of any worry of the light waking your sleeping partner.

Down the stairs once more, you’ll see the weird half-door hiding a closet. A moist, vaguely assy smell seeps out from under this one, so I haven’t opened it yet.

Rounding the corner again, you’ll see the bar bearing a mural of all the former residents (from left to right: Greg, Sam, and Brady. I don’t know who the girl is) and proudly displaying the name of the manor. The Beta Sade, I guess.

More ghostly evidence of the former residents is found in the portrait over the fireplace.

The portrait is my second favorite piece of art here. The best is this cardboard cutout of a Hawkeyes coach. I don’t know his name, but he answers to Coach as well as to anything else, so Coach he is called.

You can see him here casting a watchful eye over the living room. The view from the outside is best, because he makes a creepy silhouette that looks like someone is watching you as you walk up to the driveway.

The garage is pretty neat. The residents before included two cyclists, and at least one of them left a few things behind. Add then me and my bikes, and steve and his bikes, and we’ve got a total of 11 fully functional bikes in the house, and 3 more in various stages of disassembly.

Much cooler, though, is what I can only assume is the other half of that door from upstairs, hiding a scary crawl space. With this picture you’re getting the first look in the room at the same time as me. I’ve never gone in with a flashlight for the reason that I would probably be killed by some To Kill A Mockingbird-esque freak man the second I stuck my head past the door frame.

There are other things that make this house cool.
There’s never a shortage of chairs, for instance. There are four refrigerators that I'm aware of. And as my roommates are either gone all the time or hide out in their rooms all day, for all intents and purposes, I have this sweet pad to myself. Thanks to Brady, I have a room to sleep in, a driveway to stagger down, and some guy in the living room to keep me safe. Here’s to you, Brady, and your kickass house.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I want a pet robot

They sing

I made a quick mix of around 50 minutes. It's kind of deep housey and chill, for the most part. There were a few other tracks I wanted to get in, when I got what's linked together it sounded complete. It has Michael Jackson, Cut Copy, and Grand Master Flash. I hope you enjoy it

I also got a chance to listen to that last one casually. Sometimes they're tricky; you have to listen to tiny pieces of the song scores of times to get each part right, and after a while you get so used to looking for tiny things that you forget the big ones. Like one song going from the 4th beat to the 3rd of the next rather than the 1st. Heh. I'll fix it some day.

Hopefully I'll be playing music from time to time on KCOU soon. I'll note here when I have a regular slot and am planning on putting the track lists from each show here.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Here’s a mix (link). After taking far longer than I’m prepared to admit, I decided to just throw a couple more songs on to make it close to CD length and call it good. As such the last couple and first couple of songs are not mixed in as smoothly as I’d like, and there are a few places where the Acid put in a minor (very minor) stutter that I won’t be able to fix without spending more time than I’m willing. I also don’t know who the original artist for the Trouble and Bass song is. Whatever.

In other news, I think making 5 gallons of mead was a mistake. A delicious mistake, yes, but still a mistake. It’s equivalent to wine in strength and less than $2 per bottle, but the stuff is so cloyingly sweet it’s hard to get through it. It tastes like honey and alcohol, not surprisingly, so I think it would make a really good mixer for cocktails. Maybe with some pinot grigio and a couple chunklets of watermelon it could make a good sippy drink. Anyway, I’m looking for ideas to make it a little less of a chore to drink – so if anyone has one then let me know.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lake Lifestyle

I've spent the last couple of days at my parents' place at Lake Lotowana, right between Blue Springs and Lee's Summit in the burbs of KC. A picture my little sister took pretty much encapsulates every visit I have back here.

It's the most utterly relaxing time you could possibly spend anywhere. The biggest decision of the day is whether you'd rather sun yourself up by the house or down at the dock. Showers are completely optional, because the frequent dips in the lake mean that my sweat is replaced with lakewater residue every couple of hours, which is replaced in turn by new sweat residue as I strategize my time spent on the front porch and the hammock in the back yard to maximize my exposure to the sun. Every time I visit, I regain my old skills on the wakeboard for a few days at a time, then I leave for Columbia for another 3-4 months and lose them again. I really, really like it.

The real purpose of going back to KC was to get organized for a day trip down to Arkansas for some freeriding, and then to spend some face time with Mom and Dad to remind them that I’m a real person, and not just an occasional email. I accomplished both of those, and so today I regretfully packed up my shit and drove back to Columbia. I’m glad that I left when I did, though, because on the drive home I saw a dead armadillo by the roadside and a bird shitting mid-flight across the highway. I’m pretty sure that the bird was hoping to hit a car as he went by. When you fly miles and miles each day in search of whatever it is birds look for, you don’t just happen to shit on a 20 ft-wide band of concrete. Though it might be that what the birds are flying miles and miles for every day is a suitable target towards which they can fling their poo. I think that’s why we envy birds.

The purpose of this blog will be eventually to record images and experiences in Japan, beginning when I arrive in the tail end of September. Until then it will be about as exciting as any other blog you find on the internet.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Dogs, etc

Sam, a Boston Terrier. Shown here sporting a fashionable antler accessory and a confused expression."

Bubba the standard poodle. The very picture of loyalty and awesome hair. His hair isn't as long now, but I wish it was.

Pen and Jake from Adventure Time