Month: May 2009

True Geek Confession!

This months True Geek Confession is:

I have never seen “The Goonies”.

I missed out on last months, so here’s a bonus:

I still read and enjoy some of the “Dragonlance” books.[1]

Tune in next month for more True Geek Confessions, where you may mock me at will.

[1] The [Noun] of the Twins books, specifically. Obviously not the original trilogy, because it’s shit.

Ow, my brains!

Came home mid-afternoon with a blazing headache shading to migraine, took a bunch of pills and went to bed. Just woke up, it’s 9.00pm.

Sleeping pattern: Fucked.

How will I manage without a flashlight app?

This weekend, the following things have broken, in order:

(1) Our car. This is now in the shop. They don’t have a loaner, so I am taking the bus to work.
(2) My new iphone headset. This is now being weird in one ear.
(3) My iPhone. It developed a bunch of dead pixels in the exact middle of the screen. It’s now also in the shop, being “serviced” which I guess means “being looked at by an apple tech, then thrown out and replaced.”

I’ve also just realised that my iphone has my Blizzard authenticator on it, and in order to log into my account management to remove the authenticator, I will need the authenticator.

See if you can see the problem with that.

An e-mail to Blizzard (Subject: QQ!!!11!!!) is now in order.


About the only broadcast TV we watch these days is C4 for music videos during dinner. This means that we sometimes get to see a guy named Dai Henwood. He is, we are told, a professional comedian, who also does presenting work on C4.

Apparently he’s won awards for his standup comedy. This … is amazing to me. I’ve never seen his standup work and can’t comment on it, but holy fucking balls he’s near unbearable on C4. It’s quite difficult to explain why, but he seems to tend towards that sort of leaden, cliched, silly voice comedy that tends to get airtime on NZ TV, but that makes me want to stick forks in my eyes … but usually just results in my turning the TV off.

Mr Henwoods comedy stylings are clearly what C4 want for their their target demographic and I hope it works well for them, but I prefer a much sharper, more observational, cynical and much drier sort of comedy. Or, altenately, if you’re going to do stupid shit then play it straight and then it works. Don’t spend your time grinning at and mugging for the fucking camera. It’s the difference between the awful Welcome to Paradise and the sublime Flight of the Conchords (or, for that matter, the not sublime but utterly splendid Back of the Y.)

It’s possible that Dai is an NZ Bob Saget analog, cast in roles that don’t really match his natural comedy style. Maybe the smirking matey-mate stuff he does on C4 is a role that they’ve asked him to play, and that his standup is actually hilarious.

I can only hope, but I’m not making any effort to find out.

Oh yes, Henry Tudor actually slept here.

I’d like to present some thoughts on Japanese street fashion, and more specifically the differing impetus behind fashion in western cultures and fashion as I experienced it in Japan, and through talking to various Japanese people about clothing styles and whatnot.

It seems to be that in western cultures, fashion is of course decorative, but (especially amongst the young) is also highly totemic for whatever tribe the wearer associates themselves with, or wishes to associate themselves with. As such, there’s some depth to it, it’s not JUST a stylistic or decorative choice of clothing … someone dressed goth is pretty likely to listen to goth music and maybe think sad thoughts and generally be a bit angstful and darque. Someone wearing a hip-hop outfit will very likely listen to hip-hop music, and identify with a hip-hop lifestyle. The beardy guy in the Cardboard Tube Samurai t-shirt very likely has a favourite Linux distribution. You can make assumptions about people, based on their mode of dress.

This does not, generally, seem to be the case in Japan. In Japan, there’s less psycological depth to your choice of outfit, less lifestyle texture to it.

It really is just a pretty outfit.

In a western country, you might cross the street to avoid a group of punks. In Japan, you wouldn’t bother because they’re not going to behave any differently to someone wearing a suit, or shorts and a t-shirt, or an cardigan and slacks ensemble.

Related to this, or possibly because of it, there’s little regard for authenticity as a prized quality in clothing. Going back to punk as example, we saw a store selling pre-ripped t-shirts printed with (in english) “I love punk! I love life! I am happy!” and the rips had been hemmed, so as not fray.

To your average westerner with an interest in semiotics and a copy of Catcher in the Rye, that sort of phoneyness makes you want to simultaneously laugh, wince, and run quickly away from the store before your own belief structure is compromised via association.[1] It’s awful. It’s Hot Topic to the power of ten. It’s like meeting someone who’s painted half-timbering on the outside of their leaky 90’s house and is now declaring it to be a Tudor Mansion. To the Japanese person buying the Punk Life Happy outfit .. it looks the part, and that’s all that matters.

It hurts you, in your soul. But it’s also part of the different culture that makes Japan so damn awesome.[2]

[1] Luckily Shibuya has a Apple store. Get there as fast as you can, and stay until you feel better.

[2] An interesting reversal of this applies to tattoos. In western nations, having a tattoo means .. nothing, nowadays. Maybe once it meant that you were a sailor or a carny[3] but now it pretty much seems to mean that you were in your twenties, in the 1990s. In Japan, however, tattooing was only legalised in the 1940s, and is still strongly associated with the Yakuza. Lots of public places ban anyone with a tattoo from entering, even today.

[3] Circus folk. Nomads, you know. Smell like cabbage. Small hands.