Thursday, 9 November 2017

Literally, the Best Picture Ever Taken by a Human

This is literally the best picture taken by a human being in the history of mankind.

I qualify human, because I'm sure in my lifetime a robot will have taken a better picture.  Perhaps it will be an automated drone type thing, perhaps it will be floating in the ocean when an elusive giant squid floats by, being chased by a school of ocean faring piranha somehow.  Maybe there are aliens involved.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the picture:

Actually, before I get to the picture, just note that I've made some modifications to it, to ensure that no one steals this amazing picture and puts it on facebook with some misattributed inspirational quote.

Please feel free to e-mail me for a copy of the original.  (Only 2500 USD, one copy, digital, 240px by 320 px.)





Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Blue Planet 2, Electric Boogaloo

So the new blue planet is out, to some amount of interest.  The only reason I know about it is through the internet, via osmosis, so I assume it has gained a fairly sizeable viewership despite only being one episode in.

The videography is amazing.  It's absolutely stunning.  I can barely fathom how long it must have taken the cameramen to capture the images they did, especially when filming migratory behaviour.

Of course a lot of it is fake - the last series was renowned for using footage from inside aquariums and passing it off as the real deal, but what programme isn't a complete lie in this day and age?  For the sake of the overwhelming majority of the footage being spectacular, it's easy enough to overlook the lies for a few scenes.

The voice over is done by David Attenborough, who we can only assume isn't writing what he says.  We can hope, at least, because the script is entirely forgettable.  As in, it just narrates what's on screen and doesn't offer any insight into the animals we see.  For example there's an extended sequence where a fish uses a rock to open shellfish.  This is incredibly cool to watch, and something I had previously assumed was reserved for mammals.  Or at least animals with thumbs.

But the voiceover for this section consists of, 'this is cool, we didn't know fish were intelligent enough to do this, but look he has no hands and he keeps dropping the thing.  Oops.  Oops.  Dropped it again.  Oops, he dropped it.'

Insightful stuff.

But I'm skirting around the real issue.  The sound work is fucking atrocious.  Holy shit.

I don't know what their budget was, but the producers spent literally all of it on the visuals and had their toddlers do the sound for free on their TOMY (tm) Copyright 'my first animal phone.'  You know the ones, they have a picture of a cow, you press it, it plays a recording of what is obviously a bored man saying 'moo.'

I can't believe how badly they fucked up in this department.

Every.  Single.  Shot.  Is accompanied by the sound of roaring ocean, regardless of whether the shot is ten miles underwater or ten miles above it.

Fine.  You are making a documentary about the ocean.  Let's assume it's more of an art piece.

Some dolphins rub up against a coral to clean themselves of parasites or whatever.  Quite interesting - but why does it sound like sandpaper rubbing against a wood railing?

A fish flings itself at a bird that's in mid air and manages to grab it.  Really, really cool shot that must have taken the video guy ages to shoot.

The sound effect they use?  I implore you to watch it because no one who hasn't seen it will believe me, but they dub over the sound of a lion or tiger, or some kind of monster, roaring.

I shit you not.


Go to one minute and 10 seconds.

The very next scene.  THE VERY NEXT SCENE, has a bird preparing to fly for the first time.  It kind of gently puts its foot on the ground while it stands in place, as animals are wont to do.

The narrator makes it sound like it's preparing for a fight against Mike Tyson in his prime, and the audio fucknut plays a sound effect of a HAMMER BLOW, AS THE FUCKING BIRD STEPS ON THE GROUND IN SLOW MOTION, TO MAKE IT SEEM LIKE THE FUCKING BIRD IS PSYCHING ITSELF UP. 

HAMMERS.

The producers were one meeting away from playing eye of the tiger at this very moment.

Christ, this garbage isn't a documentary.  How dare they call it anything other than populist trash dressed up as science.

It's an absolute crying shame because the producers have rightly surmised that we, as a population, have the collective IQ of a pickle farm, and need a story to make it interesting for all us idiots.  We need these animals to have human traits, otherwise they're not relatable, and we need ridiculous sound effects because that's what hollywood does.

Go fuck yourself producers.  Go fuck yourself David Attenborough, for putting your name to yet another soap opera dressed up as a documentary.

The funny thing is that this will win hundreds of awards for being the most realistic, lifelike documentary ever to have graced a human eyeball.  Idiots will lap it up as the most spectacular, honest, truthful stuff ever sent over the airwaves.

It's garbage.

But, just as trash humans get by on looks alone, so will this.


I might go back and watch it muted, while listening to music.  But for the love of god don't spend money on it.  Pirate it and mute it, play Beethoven or some classical shit over the top.  All the amazing slow-motion scenes will go great with some classical music instead of the Godzilla soundboard the director decided upon.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Fly, My Dragon

So part of my Grandads camera gear were a set of lenses.  There were enough that I might even call them a suite of lenses.

One of the highlights is a macro lens that lets you get within centimetres of your target, allowing a really large photo on the other side.  I was interested in getting a macro lens before I came across this one because they're way, way cheaper than their telephoto counterparts.

Note that I'm talking about stuff for getting up close and/or magnifying macro, not the type to take photographs of people.  I'm sure there's a name for the different types, but I don't know them.

Anyway, as a bonus to buying the adapter to see if I can get Grandads slides onto the computer, I can also use his cool macro lens with my digital camera.  The result is this:



And this:


The video shows how hard it is to keep this thing still.  Modern cameras have image stabilisation, some in the body, some in the lenses.  Canon have chosen to put their system in the lenses, and because I'm using an old lens, it most certainly does not have image stabilisation.

The colours are also wonky, so I had to pep them up in my video software.  The result is an imperfect picture, but I quite like the image even in video.

Getting up close with a dragonfly is hard, especially at arms length without a tripod.  Next time I'm going to try to find a co-operative insect that's at waist height.

I don't know what the green insect is, but it was a piece of cake to take a picture of.

Luckily for me I managed to take a few more pictures at the park we went to, and I still have a ton from the UK to go through.  Tons more pictures to look at on a rainy day!

Friday, 6 October 2017

Cameras and Whatnot

So I recently came into possession of a bajillion 35mm slides.  They were my Grandads and are a chronicle of his time as a photography enthusiast.

Unfortunately, no one looks at slides anymore and the only way for me to check them out would be to find, or fashion, a projector.  This would happen exactly once in my lifetime, then the pictures would be stored away, never to be seen again.

The solution is to digitise them.  This presents problems, all relating to money.

If I send them away to a company to digitise, it will cost a fortune and the quality will likely be pants.  If I send them away to a company to do them properly it will cost more than buying my own studio in the Bahamas full of photography equipment, yachts and supermodels.

Clearly, these are infeasible.

The second solution was to buy a scanner and scan them in myself.  My time is worth nothing to anyone, so I win on that front.  Unfortunately I don't win on the buying a scanner front.  For the kind of scanner I would want (top of the line of course) it would be just shy of one thousand dollars.

Clearly this is also unfeasible.

To make scanning matters worse, in order to get the best quality scans possible, you have to employ a wet scanning process.  Once you've invested in the 1,000 USD scanner you behoove yourself to go the whole hog, buy the fluid and gloves, and scan everything in properly.

This is terrible and I would hate myself every time I squirted a tenners worth of mineral oil all over my scanner.

For psychological reasons, then, scanning is less than ideal.

The final alternative is something Grandad unwittingly provided for me.

Back in the good old days, the easiest way to reproduce a slide, enlarging areas or changing the shot, was to buy a big tube with a slide holder on the end, which twisted and turned every which way to line the slide up correctly.  You could then twist the cheap, plasticky barrel to zoom in and rearrange the shot.  Hold this monstrosity up to the light and presto, you have a new negative or slide of your original photo.

Grandad had one of these, which I didn't think anything of (I'm not reproducing his pictures, enlarging or cropping them with film) until it came time to wonder as to how to commit his slides to digital.

I wondered how to best go about the process, and while mulling it over came to the realisation that a lot of people use their digital cameras to commit prints, negatives and slides to their computers.

Clearly, I was onto a winner.

So without delay I found a Beschoi adapter for C/Y to EOS mounts (this adapter has no way of releasing the C/Y half of the setup without long nails and/or 3 sets of hands, so I cannot recommend it) and hooked it up to my camera.



This is a sample shot.  You'll notice it's on the piss.  That's fine, I can fix that with a rulers or a level.

One of the great things with this system is that once it's set up I can slide the slides in and out quickly, take a ton of simple pictures at this decent level of quality (this picture was taken with 10 seconds of setup pointing at a lamp) and then pick out the ones I want to do properly.  To do them 'properly,' is then a case of bracketing however many shots, shoving them into photoshop and asking it to do the rest.  This will give a nice dynamic range, ensuring as much of the subtlety of film is captured as possible.

Another bonus with this bizarre setup is that I can zoom in 2.4x the original size, so I could go absolutely overboard and capture however many shots zoomed in, then recomposite the final image in photoshop to ensure the maximum quality.  (each of those images would have to be bracketed, so dozens of images.  Clearly something I might only consider for the single best photograph in his entire collection).

So I think this will do.

It's not as good as wet scanning with an Epson V850 or whatever the hell - but it is a lot cheaper.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

A Musical Accompaniment

So I know a guy, through a friend, that makes some pretty damned good music.

In the age of collapsed advertising structures and mostly free information, it can be really difficult to find music that you like because there is just so much stuff.

With this increased freedom I assume it's become more difficult for the creators to cash in on their craft, despite the enormous potential listener base.  There will always be super megastars (enter current pop idol here) but I assume the availability of great quality, free music has made the middling artist a thing of the past.  The group that scrapes by on a few album sales, a few tours and a little bit of luck are probably working normal day jobs at this point right?

This isn't due to quality.  If there's a net positive for humanity in the democratisation of tools and knowledge, it's that the 'average' person is now capable of producing some exceptional work.  This goes for books, music, painting, comics, even documentaries and films.

So now that we can all, within reason, produce high quality stuff - who gets to choose what makes it big?  Luck?  Or boning the right producer?

Who is to say.

Anyway, here is the music.

https://soundcloud.com/doctaters

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Back to School

So my plan at the moment is to enrol in a Japanese language school here in Tokyo.

I've been around to a few different schools and decided upon the school I want to attend, sent out my application and now we play the waiting game.

In the meantime I'm working on writing.  It turns out that being able to read and being able to write are two completely different skills that require work.

Who would have thought.

Anyway, part-time work, rugby and my own studying are what I'm doing right now and, assuming I get accepted, will be for the next month or so.

That's about it.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Foot or Mouth Syndrome

So I've not really updated for a long time.

I've not really done anything for a long time.

Such is my life at the moment.

One thing I have been doing though, is training.

Training when it's hot, training when it's very hot, even training when it's extremely hot.

One such training day saw me run for a little while, sweating an awful lot, then returning home for a shower.  It was a normal run.  The abnormality came that night however, when I had a fever and was sweating with coldness/hotness/coldness all night.

Then my foot looked like this:

So I hobbled to the hospital (more than a mile on this foot nearly killed me outright) and obtained some 'painkillers,' and antibiotics.

That was nearly a week ago, so I've not had a lot of opportunity to do anything other than get fat, which is only a change to my normal life in that this time it's been forced upon me.

Only a few more days until I can walk around though.  Things will change then, just you wait.

(But probably they won't)

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

In case you were wondering what the demographic breakdown for the European Leave bloc looks like, here's a helpful article.  Draw your own conclusions.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-poll-leave-voters-death-penalty-yougov-results-light-bulbs-a7656791.html

When all the current OAP's have passed on with none of these wishlist reforms having been enforced and the UK at the bottom of all quality of life tables for developed countries, will my generation finally stop being blamed for the state of the country?

The maddening thing is that our elders hanging us out to dry, the ones who were supposed to leave the world a better place for us, probably think this is in our best interests.

Sigh.

To be fair though, energy saving light bulbs really are a bit shit.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Another Day, Another Aquarium

So we had some time off, along with the whole of Japan.  No one here wants to go abroad, so whenever there's an extended holiday (any holiday longer than one day) everyone goes out with their families.  As such, we didn't want to be stuck indoors with everyone else outdoors, but we also didn't want to go anywhere that might be particularly popular for a long time on account of there being little enough space at the best of times, let alone during a holiday.

I took the initiative for once and decided upon another aquarium, this one somewhat nearby.  Kasai Rinkai Sealife Park is surprisingly large and houses fish, rays, small sharks and even a few birds.

There's not a lot more to say so here's a video, much like the last I shot.

(Bear in mind it was pretty busy, so it's not the best shot thing in the world)


Monday, 17 April 2017

Aquarium Sumida

So I went to an aquarium with some people and took a few pictures.  I also shot a little video, which you can see here:



I spent most of my time looking and reading, so didn't end up taking many pictures.  As such, here are one or two that turned out alright.


This one looks good in colour, but I like the fronds and shapes of the anenome, and you don't often see clownfish in black and white.


It turns out I am horrible at photographing jellyfish.


This guy looked bored, which is a shame because they're incredibly intelligent creatures.


Clownfish in colour, because they are bright orange after all.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Neuromancer

So Neuromancer is one of those books that I've always promised myself that I will read, but never managed to get round to it.

For whatever reason I sat down with it over the past few days.

It's one of the first books to approach cyberpunk and is the defacto standard upon which all other dystopian future books and movies are judged.  I say this knowing that certain other works, like bladerunner, came before it, and were an obvious influence on the aesthetic, dialogue, even the names used throughout.

In short, this book is spectacular.  I don't necessarily mean that in the literal sense of being a spectacle to behold, moreso the hyperbolic sense of being something truly unique.  It may be that I am pre-disposed to liking anything in this setting, which may or may not be true, but the story works on a personal level that is exemplified by a single line of dialogue at the very end of the book.  A fundamental nature of existence is revealed to one of the protagonists that fundamentally alters the outlook of their universe - yet I could care less because it doesn't directly involve the characters that I have followed from start to finish.  I care more deeply about the people than the very nature of existence for something that is not human.

It is often said that the root of a good story is good characterisation, and this is why something like Robinson Crusoe divides opinion (is the island a character or not, and if so, is that appealing to the reader?) whereas something like the Titanic movie does not (it's a universal love story that happens to be set upon a famous boat and is either liked or loathed without having to delve into why).  Whether you enjoy these stories is irrelevant because the central theme of the knowably human is evident throughout Titanic, but more difficult to find in Crusoe.

Cyber Punk is often accused of being an excuse to set a scene.  To have worldbuilding overtake the character and assume life as Defoe managed (I think) to do two hundred years ago.  I think this is to criminally undersell the value of world versus character, but it is a complaint I have seen time and time again with everything from music to painting to dance.  How can I relate to the work.  How can I understand what is being said through it.

Neuromancer understands people.  It is a book written by someone who sees a world through the eyes of a character as opposed to showing you the character acting within a world.

I don't know if anyone reading this will have a mechanically altered pancreas that filters out drugs, or mechanical eyes, or the ability to telepathically alter the world around them, but these characters are as human as anything you will see in any other fiction.

That the science behind their augmentations allow them to interact in such a way is testament to the abilities of characters to work within the genre, and is something many authors have failed to replicate.  Why care about a world, when everyone is a crudely drawn archetype?

In this way I think Neuromancer is the perfect gateway drug.  It starts with a now infamous line, carries a story through locations that are as real as any documentary, and ends with a bomb that left me feeling hollow.  The kind of hollow that drops the gut and reminds us of the power of great literature.  Stories take on the experiences of the reader through a myriad of twists and turns that remind us of our past, our feelings and, fundamentally, of who we are.  Whether it has the same effect upon you as it did me can only be discovered through reading, so get to it.  It's available freely online with a quick google search or here, and isn't so long as to be overbearing.

Neuromancer is the high watermark for fiction of this genre and is a classic in any.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Wow - Machines edition

So I recently came across this video:

Which is mesmeric despite the terrible quality.  It looks like one of those videos that loops indefinitely, but in reality only has 100 or so frames to the entire thing.  The way these guys have got the system down to a fine art really make the whole thing.  Also, how cool is that machine?  I assume the driver has a wealth of experience using it which makes the whole process look simple, but the design of that piece of equipment is also brilliant.  Although, having said that, it doesn't look like it would be particularly versatile.  You wouldn't be able to fight off the zombie hordes with it for very long.

You might be able to change a duvet or two with it though.  Your bed changes per hour would be through the roof.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Aaaaand Relax

After the stress of Elon Musk trying to steal money from me, I have now calmed down.

As a tribute to the first day of a new month (now with some more money) I have decided to write a short thing about nothing in particular, just because.

I bought a gym membership, my first in many years, and boy they're expensive here.  Prior to now I just used the club gym.  The only problem is that we haven't started the season yet (this last month of vegging has been glorious) and their ground is miles away.  I value sitting at home on the sofa for the couple of hours I get free a day, so I bit the bullet and bought a month at the local golds gym.

In related news, I've carried on the writing, link here.

Regardless of the quality of the writing, I'm happy this one didn't have a title picture with some weird rascist overtones.  I'm not going to link that one.  Don't go looking for it.

I will, one day, get round to adding pictures to these things myself instead of relying on the editorial team.  That way I can add funny MS Paint style faces and whatnot.  Definitely a great idea.

In other news there is no other news, really.  It's still pretty cold.  Not cold enough for snow.

I sent out christmas presents this year which arrived in england.  They were inspected by the post office because there were dangerous looking items inside.  There weren't, so they helpfully sent the not dangerous items back to me with a sign saying WELL DONE, NOTHING IN THIS WAS DANGEROUS, FEEL FREE TO SEND IT ALL BACK TO ENGLAND AGAIN.

No one will believe the incredible lack of logic in the decision so I'll take a picture and post it up next time, but this is actually what happened, I kid you not.  I haven't actually opened it yet to check that everything is still inside, but considering how frequently half my packages have stuff stolen out of them or just do not arrive at all, I'm not holding my breath.

But this is a positive February, so it will be fine.  Most likely.

Monday, 30 January 2017

PayPal - Thieving Scum

I hate paypal, but I had to use them for some writing work I did a while ago.

I stupidly let the money accrue in the account, as transferring it cost a base 300 yen every time.  I came to take that money out, and now I can't access my account.

No worries, I'll phone them up.

6 phone calls later and they won't even pick up my number any more.  They just boot me off their lines and won't speak to me.

They have stolen a hundred quid from me.

It's a crying shame no one will read this because I would love to shout out to the world never to use them, and I would love them to go out of business (spoiler alert they won't because they're owned by amazon).

I am as angry as I have been in a very, very long time.

Paypal is a thieving organisation run by crooks.  The funny thing is, one of the founders of paypal is elon musk, the guy everyone thinks is going to save the world.  Once a thief, liar, crook and scumbag, always a thief, liar, crook and scumbag.  Beware that man.

Update - Got my money back!  Woooo!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Flu is Upon Us, Run for Your Lives

So Flu season is officially underway.

Every year, without fail, the dreaded influenza attacks Japan with devastating effect.

It's particularly virulent here not because they have weak immune systems, nor due to random mutations making their viruses stronger than elsewhere, but (I assume) due to geography and society.

Population density is very high here, especially in Tokyo and the cities.  If one person sneezes on a crowded train, can you hear the other passengers fall?  The answer is yes, because the sneezer can't even raise his hands to cover his mouth, so full are the trains.  This raises some obvious problems in terms of hygiene, and means that a single infected individual may make a great number of other peoples weeks worse.  I assume this isn't a problem in the middle of Siberia, where you're more likely to see a meteorite than other human beings.

The other problem is the people.  No one washes their hands.  Ever.  I've written about this a thousand times before, but it's worth repeating in case you find yourself here.  Don't touch anything, and always bring hand soap/alcohol with you.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I've never seen someone wash their hands in Japan, and I have used public toilets.  They consider rinsing fingertips under tepid water for three tenths of a second 'a thorough wash,' and go about their day as if they're not the reason everyone is always sick all the time.

My speculation on this is that a thousand years ago, when no one knew anything and a splinter could kill you, people ran their hands under water and gave up at that, because the whole thing was a futile attempt at keeping clean and what's the point.  That tradition is still observed outside temples and shrines and whatnot, where literally hundreds of thousands of people will pick up, mess around with, and then drink from the same half a dozen spoon/ladle things.  The water may come from a tap, but it can also be recycled, pumped around a closed loop and topped up with fresh water when it gets low.

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

So water is clean, and touching water imbues the toucher with cleanliness, I suppose?

They all wear masks which is a horrible idea to try and stop getting ill (the masks, they do nothing), but is a great idea if you are actually sick and don't want to make anyone else ill.  For whatever reason, they do not cover their mouths when they cough and sneeze, instead preferring to throw their hands back, find the nearest person and cough/sneeze as loud/hard in their victims face as possible.  This is why masks are a great idea, because they can do that to their hearts content while limiting the risk to their victim.  I doubt the masks do much in this instance, but it's got to be better than nothing, right?  Right?

They absolutely learn about cells, viruses, bascteria and transmission in school, I've seen the books and posters telling the kids how to actually wash their hands and not cough in other peoples faces, but absolutely no one takes notice.

And the hospitals here don't have a bonkers death rate after surgery, so the doctors wash their hands.

As a nation, they know about the transmission of disease, but the grand total of shits given is zero.

In thinking about it, I suppose that's similar to our obsession with soccer.  We are absolutely horrible at it, and we'll never be any good, but everyone gets their hopes up like a bunch of idiots and then get angry and start rioting when we lose.

As a nation, we know soccer is a lie and terrible for our national health, but everyone still gets angry.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The Cold! The Cold!

So I've caught a cold.

I hadn't slept in a few days (bar a few hours here and there) so I had to take a day off work yesterday.  I was basically carrying around the typical flu symptoms along with a severe case of zombie, and for some reason random nose bleeds, which led me to the conclusion that 'teaching,' a bunch of kids probably wasn't the best idea.

I managed to get some rest last night which led me being able to work today, which is good because money - but I'm starting to lose the energy I had at the beginning of the day.  Luckily my classes are complete and I only have to do typical busywork like making worksheets and whatnot, so the next couple of hours will pass quickly and I can get back to my sofa.

My fridge is currently a haven for unhealthy goods.  If there were a tax on owning unhealthy things I would be bankrupt with all the goodies I was sent over Christmas.  Yes, I am writing this from a place of smugness, and yes you will be jealous when you see the photograph with all the sweets I have.  But no, I am not giving you any.  They are all from england and good chocolate is rarer than wagyu beef here.

(...  Unfortunately I don't have any pictures on hand, so you will have to imagine the subtle golden halo and hymns that emanate from my open fridge.)

In other news, I tried to make a christmas dinner.

Coming into the endeavour with no experience I expected it to be a complete disaster, so I also made a backup meal of hamburgers.  In keeping with my attempts to make everything as difficult as possible, I bought ground beef and made them myself, topped and bottomed by rolls made from the home bakery.  The burgers were tasty.  Very, very tasty.

My mum sent me over some stuffing for the big occasion which ended up being some of the most delicious I've ever tasted (it's the same stuff we ate with every roast back home) and the chicken.  Well.  Only pictures will suffice in this instance.

Om nom nom.

It turns out that Japanese chickens are about half the size of english chickens, so the stuffing exploded out during cooking.  It didn't matter though, because the whole thing was unbelievably delicious.

If I'm using too many superlatives for your liking, please understand that I am a horrible cook and for a meal to end up edible, let alone tasty, is an accomplishment for the record books.

You might also notice that there aren't any vegetables.  This is because the chicken was more spread out when it was raw, and took up more of the dish, only to curl up when it was cooked.  The picture is also a little deceptive in that the dish itself is actually very small.  If I were to add potatoes and carrots, I would have to wedge them in between the chicken and the dish.  Hardly conducive to good browning I'd say!

Food nobbery(sic) aside, I'm glad I decided against adding veg because this whole endeavour took a bastard long time and was a pain in the backside.  Along with the burgers, ice cream and cake we made (those last two were group efforts) we ended up spending most of the day on the food.

Chocolate, ice cream, roast chicken, chocolate cake and burgers.  Now that's a christmas dinner.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

The Christmas Eve

So I'm here on the eve of Christmas, watching some chronic Japanese TV that's barely more than a commercial for shit to buy, wondering whether to wait until I wake up tomorrow for the ceremony of opening presents (it's 11.48 in the pm as of this word).

Obviously I'll open them tomorrow, don't fret.  But as I sit here unsure of what to do with myself in an entirely non-christian country, I've come to the realisation that we could all use some excellent music in our lives, no matter the time of day or time of year.

As such, here's my christmas pick for best christmas music.  Christmas.


If you listen to the lyrics you'll understand perfectly why this is an excellent christmas song.  Also, for whatever reason, this is the song that has really got to me recently.  Obviously if you don't know what the song is about insofar as it is part of a soundtrack for a video game, you won't have the overall aesthetic in your mind - but I think this is a song that entirely transcends the work it draws inspiration from.

That might just be me to be honest.  It'd be interesting to know what you think.

Everyone has their own quirky tastes, this is mine!


After I've brought you all down with a haunting ode to the bleakness of life - here's a santa delivering pizza.  I think I uploaded a very similar picture a few years ago, because these guys are everywhere and always out and about during christmas - but you can never have enough santa with a crash hat on a trike.


So this is my traditional christmas eve meal.  The traditional christmas foods of home-made gyoza (ungodly in its deliciousness, in case you were wondering).


The other half of this epic was the lasagne, pictured below.  Contrary to popular opinion it was actually this variation of pasta eaten by jesus before he was hung, or drawn, or born or whatever it is christmas was invented to pretend happened.

A much less well known fact was that he enjoyed gyoza as a side dish, and a mug of white wine.  Note, his mug might have been a black disney mug that changed colour when it got hot.  That might just be mine though.


Anyway.

I have special plans for tomorrows meal so if things go well I'll upload a picture of that.  I'll see if my holiday blues have cleared up enough that I can stop listening to the above song, and possibly come up with another recommendation.

Happy Christmas!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Writing and Whatnot

So I wrote something for an online publication recently.  It was about gyms in Japan and how to navigate them, should you find yourself over here.

Check it out here.

It's a way less formal thing than I normally write which is fine by me, it feels more like a blog than an advertisment or article for a newspaper - just like this!

The only problem is the picture they used for the header.  I have literally no idea where they found it, what it's supposed to show, or what it has to do with the article itself.  I don't know what the thought process on that one is really.

Feel free to check it out, leave a comment and so on.  I'm sure my next writing job with them will rely on pageviews and comments and whatnot, so it would really help if you clicked on the link, even if you don't read it!

That's all for now.  Bye!

Friday, 9 December 2016

To Make the Beer

So the girlfriend recently went to a beer manufactory with the intentions of creating a brew so delicious, so compelling, as to turn me into a beer drinker.

I won't beat about the bush - this beer is a travesty.  I have no idea how they go about explaining the process of beer creation at this place, but needless to say they need to work on their methods.

I have never been one for enjoying the finer foods so I've not had the need to improve my food related vocabulary but here goes:  It smells like crap.  The first attosecond seems pleasant, with the distinctive beer smell the first through the olfactory gate.  After that, however, things turn grim.  To be honest I don't have a point of comparison so will refrain from elaborating further, but needless to say, things are grim from the off.

The taste follows an incredibly similar trajectory, with the first drop seeming palatable, only to descend into chaos mere moments later.

Despite this, and despite the expense, it's something I'd recommend to anyone.  The intrigue inherent in not knowing what is going to turn up on your doorstep, coupled with the crushing disappointment, is a valuable life lesson in patience and setting expectations.  There are few things in life, and were it not beer, I'd recommend it to anyone from the ages of two to two hundred.

As there is alcohol involved I am required by law to only recommend making your own beer starting from the age of five.  So, for everyone from five to two hundred years of age should try this out.

(To be fair to the girlfriend, they were limited in the ingredients they were allowed and the volumes they could create.  You would think they would steer their customers towards something that actually tasted decent, though.)

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Snow Whaaaat

So it snowed today.  A lot.  Absolutely out of nowhere.

I was hoping it would settle and destroy all the trains like it normally does, alas it was not to be and I had to go to work.  I didn't see the normal bizarre driving that you normally find around snowy days, with no overturned apple carts and cement mixers.

I now know just how cold toes can be, because my shoes haven't been waterproof for five years, which is probably too long to own the same pair of shoes but they are just so damned comfortable.

Anyway, the reason I'm writing this today is because I saw this:

I'll have something more interesting to write about later.  Probably.