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March 31, 2003


I'm off to lecture in Hilary Cunningham's Anthro course on Gender at 10. The topic"" Technology, the Body and Identity. Only scary bit is that it is a class of 80 undergrads, and I'm planning to have a small group discussion. Hilary says it is doable with this group, so I'm just going to assume that it will work, and enjoy the process."

Posted by jason at 06:41 AM

March 30, 2003

Zbons or ZooBombs!

I know that a simple web search could have solved this problem, but then it never occurred to me to do it. I think i mentioned this when I was posting about my stay in Japan. But ever since I got napster, long ago... and it will be missed, I have known about this band called the ZooBombs (NO-FI ""MAGAZINE"" interview with ZOOBOMBS). I found two songs of theirs by accident: Mo' Funky and Soul Bomb. They were great. When I told Salmon about them, she already knew and all that. Then came 9/11 and the Zoobombs cancelled their tour. Or something like that. I lost my chance. But when i got to Japan, it was time to go ZooBombs shopping. No luck. No band named ZooBombs. Very helpful people in the record stores, but no ZooBombs. There was a very small Zed section though. Like 3 CDs. And one of them was called ""Super Funcy of Zbons"". So I got it on a whim. And viola! It was ZooBombs! I just was spelling it wrong.... Fast forward to today. Yuka and I took the streetcar along Queen to Roncesville, and walked up Roncesville (someone spell this right) to Howard Park, then all the way back down Dundas to home. That's about a 2-2.5 hour walk, with lots of stops. Going up Roncesville, I found a store called ""Boom, she said."" Of course other people know it by the non-dyslexic name of ""She said Boom."" It is the twin of the ""Boom, she said"" near Salmon's house. And inside, in the Zed section, they had a CD called ""Let it Bomb"" by the ZooBombs! Two countries. Two names. Both in English. One band. Now I know... and they rock."

Posted by jason at 05:47 PM

March 29, 2003

Blogroll Me!

Blogroll Me! is a nice widget that I'll add on the right so that people with blogrolling (like I have) can blogroll me with ease. On another note. iBlog's programmers and I have been chatting, and sharing bugs. They fast and efficient d00ds. And they're from India. It is nice to see original software from India out in the online worldspace. Coolness comes from many diverse places. BlogRollMe

Posted by jason at 05:35 PM


Thanks Julia (sometimes Julia_D) for the headsup on this article in the Glob [sic] on war blogging called ""Where everybody is a war reporter""

The first Gulf War did it for CNN. The new one may do it for 'blogs' -- personal Web pages of news and opinion, tracking and debating Iraq's fate by the minute. As JOHN ALLEMANG writes, they're now many people's first choice for unembedded journalism

Posted by jason at 03:09 PM

March 28, 2003

iBlog software

I just set up an iBlog using the :: iBlog :: software from lifi. I am just playing with it, and it won't replace my software I'm using now, but some of you may like it... WALLAH? Yuka! as it does japanese properly. It will update via ftp and webDAV, and it integrates fully with OS X to allow you to work in and with iTunes and iPhoto. I'm going to put it through its paces. [Up
DATE: Sarat at lifli.com has been communicating with me a couple of times already, and I'm sending him crashlogs and info to firm up some problems in an otherwise wonderful looking program.]"

Posted by jason at 11:58 AM


You know I've been bitching about the hegemony of ascii... I think my paper's linked here somewhere. And now icann's catching up: Yahoo! News - Internet Body to OK Non-English Domains"

Posted by jason at 11:30 AM

War Satire Blogs.

Joi Ito's has a list of a couple more interesting Satire blogs related to current events. such as GWB, Saddam and Kim Jong Il. And Joi's blogrolled me back, so he gets a gold star next to his name, and can sit inside during recess to check his email."

Posted by jason at 07:17 AM

Bernie's Wired

Or just strange. This is bernie (one of my students), in the lower left, as pictured on Wired.com's article: Wired News: Brain Music: Not Much to Dance To He was at one of Steve Mann's Decon events. Luckily he didn't have to get naked. From what I heard, no postmodernism was used in the conceptualization or execution of this event."

Posted by jason at 07:08 AM

March 27, 2003

A war fraud blog

Yuka found this first on CNN.co.jp, but I found it on the english site as well.... CNN.com - Soldier 'bloggers' report from war - Mar. 26, 2003 This article says:

One of the most popular is a site run by "L.T. Smash," the blog nickname for a reservist in the U.S. Navy who arrived in the Gulf last December. His site, www.lt-smash.us, carries the moniker "Live from the sandbox." L.T. Smash's accounts range from the ordinary and the oddball to the touching.
I was suspicious, as there's no real info as to who is blogging and whatnot that we expect from a blog. So, I did a whois lookup. (http://www.whois.net/) Whois lookups show who creates and owns a site. The Domain was created last week: ""Domain Registration
DATE: Fri Mar 21 23:03:28 GMT 2003"" So how come it is a) as popular as CNN says, and b) by someone who has been in the Gulf since december? Sounds like some strange pseudo-blog... where an institutional organization fakes a blog so that it appears like it is from an individual. Here's the Registration info for lt-smash.us: Registrant Name: Bart Simpson Registrant Organization: LT Smash Registrant Address1: 123 Main Street Registrant City: La Mesa Registrant State/Province: CA Registrant Postal Code: 91941 Registrant Country: United States Registrant Country Code: US Registrant Phone Number: +1.6195555555 Registrant Email: ltadmin@cox.net"

Posted by jason at 09:23 AM

Charlotte Aldebron via Japan

Yuka found a reference to 12 year old Charlotte Aldebron on the Asahi New web site. She seems to be getting a lot of press for her view on war. Of course, it took us forever to find her web site, as names are written different in Japanese, and we had to guess... Charlotte's Peace Rally Speech is interesting to me, as it is something that gets heard in the media in times of trouble... young people taking the future by the horns and making an impassioned plea for peace/the environment/willy the whale. I'm a teacher, so of course this is good. But what triggers the ever close to the surface cynic in me is how great a sound bite it makes in the media, and again how easily it is dismissed by most people with the condescending ""children just don't understand the issues"" retort.."

Posted by jason at 09:01 AM

March 26, 2003

Canada: Axis of Evil?

Bush rebukes Canada for not supporing the war. And if we're not with him, we're against him. Of course they don't care about the fact that they didn't support us when we said that he shouldn't go to war, but that's not important, it seems. Of course we opposed Vietnam too. Accordingly, we're now one of 'them'. Luckily them includes most of europe, mexico, and others. Nice club to be in."

Posted by jason at 09:10 AM

Travel Wrap-up

Here's a brief overview of recent travels, with a focus on the florida conference that I posted to The Harrow's dicussion list. Thought it might wrap things up neatly. February found me in northern japan working at Future University, and coming home with lots of nice tech toys. Early march I drove to Austin for SXSWi, a big web and interactive conference, got to trash the notion that blogging and for more than an elite group of the privileged. This was great, cause all the A-list bloggers and blog designers were in the audience. But that's of scant interest to you all. Last week I was in florida (palm island) to write a paper on 12th C Latin Vampires, and then present it at IAFA in ft lauderdale. My knowledge of all the cool people in sifi and fantasy is limited, but the first person I met was Brian Aldiss. Just by luck, as he was just standing at the bar. Got to talk about philip pullman and living in south east asia. He pointed out all the regulars I should know. I only recognized the name Peter Straub, not being much of a horror person (sush! don't tell dru), I'd not read any of his books. I was there for the vampires. I did run into my parenial fav Joe Haldeman, and got him to autograph my 10th copy of The Forever Wars. 10th because I always give my copies away. Not this time. I commented that I thought it was a particularly interesting read in light of the attacks that had just started. He cringed and muttered something about not wanting to profit from this war. If you don't know Joe, he teaches Sifi and writing at MIT. Also got to chat with David Skal (Hollywood Gothic) a half dozen times. He has done great vampire work, and knows as much as anyone. though he says he's mined the field out. I spent the most time, dumb luck on my part with Chelsea Quinn Yarboro, after I'd been warned to only call her quinn. She is best buddies with Elizabeth Miller, who had dragged me to the conference in the first place, and made sure that I wasn't sitting alone in the corner tooo much. Never read any of her St Germaine series, but i did read one of her earlier books, which she also thought fondly of. Couldn't remember the title, but she did. :) The reason for mentioning her, was her willingness to discuss the struggles of someone who's been published for the past 30 years, and has made a living out of it. Mostly, she says, because she and her sister inherited the family home in berkely, and the fact that she can pound out 3 novels a year (I don't think she's really done 90 novels though). The impossibility of dealing with insane publishers who don't understand books, the future of epublishing (which she likes) and other things. If you can guess, everyone at the conference was also a presenter, so you didn't feel that the authors didn't feel hounded by fans, but just chatting with other marginally employed people in similar fields. Everyone should consider attending at some point in their writing careers... what you can learn just at the poolside bar is worth the price of admission. There as a film crew over to shoot a documentary for the DVD version of the upcoming movie ""Van Helsing"". They interviewed all the folks who will not be coming with us to Hungary and Romania in May. There are two more vampire conferences there, and the crew's coming along with us. They couldn't care about me, but Elizabeth's the ranking Dracula Scholar d00d. Anyone who wants a bit of dirt from Dracula's 'real' castle, let me know."

Posted by jason at 08:32 AM

March 25, 2003


I didn't get a job offer from Trent. I don't post the ins and outs of my job application process, but since this was one that I really was looking forward to, I just wanted to share. Sort of sucks, but I'm just not finding the academic world that interesting these days, so it is hard to get depressed about it."

Posted by jason at 08:28 AM

March 24, 2003

Papaya Suzuki

When I was in Japan, I saw PAPAYA SUZUKI WITH OYAJI DANCERS. It was the funniest thing I saw that month. A bunch of wonderfully aging Japanese guys dancing in Bollywood. Yuka helped me track down the site. Now I'll go and complain that there's no English site. How monolingual of me."

Posted by jason at 09:58 PM

Where's Raed?

Yuka told me about Where is Raed ? that she noticed on Joi Ito's site. Proported to be a blog from Bagdad. I've been offline for so much of the past 6 weeks that I have lots of catching up to do."

Posted by jason at 06:50 PM

March 23, 2003

Jason in the Swamp.

I was out in the mangrove swamps taking some pictures for a children's novel that I'm working on. I need the pictures to show to an illustrator so that she'll get the idea of what the main character has seen. Took about 300 so far. Here's one that will give you a feel of the place. So beautiful... and haunting. But on the way in, I had the strangest experience of my life: That is the nose of a manatee. It is over 4m long!!! You can see from its back that it has been pretty badly scarred by boat propellors. Ugh. But it looked liked they'd scarred over well. I have been told that if they scar, it is not much of a problem. And if it doesn't they die. I was so busy taking pictures that I got a little too close. He's (or she) actually swimming under my kayak. It got really scary when I actually bumped into him! And when he took off, my kayak nearly tipped over. I wasn't worried about me, as there was another boat around, but poor camera would have been toast. But it was worth it."

Posted by jason at 04:31 PM

IAFA! in florida

I'm posting this after the fact, as there's no internet connection at this conference... unlike SXSW in Austin. I was spoiled there. The drive from Dad and Cheryl's place was uneventful, but interesting. Driving across Alligator Alley was slightly more interesting than driving the 401 between Toronto and Kingston. The swamps aren't nearly as interesting from a highway at 120km/h. Unfortunately. I had to stop at a grocery store and get a couple of yoghurt drinks, a tub of sliced fruit, and another of raw greens. Good driving munchies. Two days with Dad's cooking would play hell with anyone's system. Good food, but all meat. Though we did have a bucked of clams and a big slab of smoked salmon. I think he's the only person to deep fry eggs. And his toast can be wrung for the oil, and used to light a lamp. What do you do when you're in florida? Well, you go to the airport hilton, saunter up to the bar for a beer after the 3.5 hour drive from where I've been staying with the family. And you're standing next to Brian Aldiss. You can figure out what a d00d he is. We chatted about living in Oxford (he does), visiting Iceland, and Judy Merril (The Judith Merrill collection is probably the top sifi lit collection in the world, and it resides below the Osborne Collection where yuka works), among other things. Brian took the trouble to point out some of the folks sitting around nearby tables... Charles De Lint, Peter Straub and others I should know but didn't. After he was dragged off by old friends, I found a quiet table to write this... and peruse the index of participants: Stephen R. Donaldson, Radu Florescu, Joe Haldeman, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, piles of people I'm embarrassed not to know, and of course Elizabeth Miller (but she hasn't checked in yet). I'm really not up on the writings of people here, aside from the ones mentioned, as they're big cheeses in their field, and you'll probably know most of them. I had thought that this would be mostly scholarly, rather than having this A list of science fiction writers. But they're not the only ones here. Though we're surrounded by highways and the airport, this is a very pretty oasis of a hotel. A cat has been haunting about, and as I looked up I saw a raccoon scurry across a path. And it is only 7pm and very bright. The raccoon is rooting his way around a big palm tree at the moment, judging from the movement of the leaves at its base, and he doesn't seem to be worried by the airplanes flying over. I now have to decide whether to find something to eat, or find a hotel to sleep in tonight, or a quiet place to read my paper over. But first, finish my beer and see if my conference badge is available yet. As ben would say, good clean times.

I'm now at dad's place, and heading home tomorrow. I'll see if I can whip up a post that covers the rest of the pretty wonderful conference. Strangely enough, almost no pictures of the conference, but lots of pictures of the hotel cat. I miss being in Toronto and miss everyone there..."

Posted by jason at 09:50 AM

March 19, 2003

Paper done... Ft lauderdale tomorrow

Got my conference paper done. And I read it over to folks over for dinner tonight. They said that they could follow it. WHEEEEEEE! So, just a few typos to fix up, and another time check to see if it fits into 20 minutes, and I'm DONE!!! I think 3800 words will fit into 20 minutes. I finally got to relax after that. And I went for a swim, and then walked out to the ocean and stood in the surf for a bit drinking a scotch. Since I've been here two days and haven't really left my room, just typing, it was nice to get out, even if it was midnight. If you're worried that I'm roughing it, here are two pictures. One from Dad's place looking out at the ocean, and one from the beach looking back. I'll post the paper if it doesn't suck."

Posted by jason at 01:07 AM

March 16, 2003

Gone to florida

Ok. In 5 hours I'm outta here. Flying to florida for aweek. Presenting a paper on Walter Map and William of Newburgh's vampiric stories at the IAFA conference in Ft Lauderdale. Rought life. See you anon!

Posted by jason at 10:20 PM

Bob the painter

Check out this video of Yuka and bob jordan at his show down at the Toronto Convention Centre. Bob has great stuff, and we hope the he'll someday paint a gummybear for yuka. Don't we all wish that? Great pictures."

Posted by jason at 07:53 PM

Radio Free Wallah

I just added the bloglink to the Radio Wallah Street Journal. It is the somewhat blog of my good friend and mac guru alan. Though this may come as a shock that I need a mac guru, 15 minutes discussing macs or old radios with Alan will cure you of the thought that I'm even on the event horizion when it comes to knowledge of technology. And that's a good thing^tm. BTW, the key interest for you non-radio fans is alan's amazing images of old radios... and his general wit and charm. Watch out for the moose."

Posted by jason at 10:03 AM

March 14, 2003

KAT! does another flash movie

Ryan did a great presentation in class yesterday about group work at the graduate level. I think the new KAT! flash movie (258.swf) would have set it off nicely. Groupwork is the bane of academic life. And since she didn't add any music notes, that is ""Hot Buttered"" by the band Popcorn. I'm not joking. And if you don't watch KAT! flash movies, then shame on you."

Posted by jason at 11:11 AM

Good to be back in class...

The one thing I do miss is when I'm not around class for KMD1000. As usual, students RAWK even when other parts of an educational institution are somewhat moribund. I'm enjoying the student's presentation of their work, and I'm getting eager to see what their final papers/projects are going to look like. Kelly, Stuart, Henry and Ryan presented today. Some on new and some on previously completed research. More interesting than some of the faculty presentations, and that's a good sign for the future of academe."

Posted by jason at 09:29 AM

March 12, 2003

Manning the Deconism - Cyborg Echoes: Collective Consciousness beyond the Post-Cyborg Era

[Steve asked me to blog this event, but I'll be in Florida at the IAFA presenting on medieval vampires. So he asked me to spread the word instead. If you want to participate, come on down! If you don't want to participate, come on down and picket! Or get ejected. Or whatever. I just hope someone videotapes it.] Be part of cyborg history as the Deconism Gallery hosts the world's first collective brainwave musical concert. http://wearcam.org/deconism/cyborg_echoes.htm The Deconism and Interaccess galleries, are to host three events and ongoing exhibitions that explore the relationship between cyborg art, science, technology, architecture, design, philosophy, and law. Each of these works explores the premise that we've already (and in some cases unwittingly) become cyborgs, but that this transformation has occurred without an understanding of the implicit opportunities and threats to our collective minds and bodies. Following a noon speaker series, March 21 12:00pm-1:50pm, Prof. Ian Kerr, University of Ottawa, R. Owens, and Prof. Steve Mann for Speaker Series, in Flavelle Dining Room, University of Toronto, Speaking on Cyborg Law. Open to the public. DECONversation at Deconism Gallery ?Friday March 21st, 7pm 330 Dundas Street West, located directly across the street from the main entrance to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). Robotic Body vs Cyborg Mind: A Live Probe Into the Continuum of Existentiality with Steve Mann and Stelarc The McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto presents an evening's dialogue between Stelarc, an internationally recognized Australian performance artist and public intellectual in the area of new media and technology, and Steve Mann, the acclaimed inventor of the wearable computer and the world's first photographic cyborg. Stelarc and Mann have both probed the nature and workings of the body and mind through technological mediation. The dialogue will be a probe into a future of awareness, the nature of consciousness reacting to technological extensions, and the ensuing effects upon individuals, culture, and society. Audience questions and participation are encouraged, and a glogged transmission of the evening's event as seen through Steve Mann's wearable EyeTap system will be broadcast to the AD ASTRA 2003 science fiction & fantasy convention. This event follows the opening of Stelarc's ""The Prosthetic Head"" at Interaccess Gallery. For more information: http://eyetap.org/deconism.htm and http://wearcam.org/deconism.htm DECONcert at Deconism Saturday March 22nd, 7pm 330 Dundas Street West, located directly across the street from the main entrance to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). DECONcert in the Key of EEG: Regenerative Music An outgrowth of Toronto cyborg and PhD candidate James Fung's research into biofeedback, DECONcert presents the world's first regenerative soundscapes in which audience members actively (and unconsciously) choreograph a collective cyborg consciousness by contributing their own brainwave patterns. The resulting atmosphere is an open-ended and participatory experience incorporating leading-edge EEG (brainwave) technology. Regenerative Music places the human being into the feedback loop of a computational artistic process. DECONcert Hertz: Wearable Brain Waves The conception of neuroscience researcher-cum-fashion designer Ariel Garten, ""DECONcert Hertz"" is a play on the popular music concert phenomenon, wherein one walks away from the performance with a t-shirt of the band. However, in DECONcert, the audience is the band so the concertgoer walks away with a print of his or her own band width, in Hertz, on an EEG shirt. As our recorded brain waves are continually emitted unbeknownst to us, they may constitute yet another form of communication or surveillance. For more information: http://eyetap.org/deconism.htm and http://wearcam.org/deconism.htm Tickets for each of Friday and Saturday evenings are $10, and are available at Flavour Hall (500 College St. Toronto 416-839-9943) or at the door, first come first served. Space is limited. Ongoing Exhibitions at Deconism Gallery March 22nd - 31st DECONsciousness: Building as Blog Ever had cause to wonder what a house or building is thinking? In an age of networked consciousness, that thought is an echo that slips frictionlessly past the soapy surface of time's constraints. Agile, flexible, and invasively curious, the spaces of this exhibition are collaboratively curated and designed by Steve Mann and architectural designer Stewart Morgan. The History and Future of Wearable Computing This exhibit features selected highlights from the invention, research, design, and development of the wearable computer. The continuum between seminal art installations and Steve Mann's next-generation wearable computing prototypes will be presented in a rare public display. The exhibit condenses thirty years of design into an ""executive summary"" interval of time and space by using high-thought width demonstration media. Deconism events are presented in association with the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, University of Toronto. Funding for this event is provided by Thought Technology Ltd. Ongoing work is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council. Press contacts: * Mark Federman - McLuhan Program - 416-978-7026 * Ariel Garten - Flavour Hall - 416-839-9943 * Steve Mann - Deconism Gallery - 416-946-3387"

Posted by jason at 08:55 PM

Google == big brother?

Google as Big Brother is a web site that chronicles the hegemonic impact of Google on the internet. Gone is the days when it was considered to be the great non-corporate alternative. Long gone. I read this a while ago, but forgot to blog it. It is a scary read, as per usual."

Posted by jason at 05:56 PM

March 11, 2003

Thank you Heath. SXSW panel transcript.

Heath Row's Media Diet has a transcript of our panel on Conceptual Firewalls at SXSW last Sunday. It is so wonderful to be able to hear/read what you've said at a conference, especially if it is just one person's fast typing. Must appreaciated."

Posted by jason at 10:23 PM

March 09, 2003

Glogging (video blogging) SXSW

Yes, I have my cam running on the right, showing SXSW participants."

Posted by jason at 06:42 PM

Oh my god!

Just had to share. I'm sitting here with Salmon's crew in front of a pile of polite and attentive people who are listening to us talk... see previous post to see what we're talking about. Since there is always a geek tradition of blogging while sitting listening to presenters. So I just figured that I'd see if I had the gutz to do it too. But I'm too nervious to actually think of anything to say. Except that to say that it is so great to have the opportunity to share our thoughts in the SXSW forum.

Posted by jason at 06:32 PM

Driving in the night... a Glog.

Here's a short 800k video of us driving through the night. Katherine's driving, of course, as I'm collecting video. We take a break at a texaco."

Posted by jason at 02:46 PM

Made it...

Salmon and I completed our drive to Austin in 30 hours. Stoped for about 2-3 hours over all. Nicely enough my jetlagging helped. I couldn't sleep all night, so I drove. Stopping for a 2 hour break when Katherine drove. She did the bulk of the work. Clocking something like 65-70% of the driving. I just did all the nastiest stuff... All across the south they're fixing the roads. And so it was down to 2 lanes, compressed to the width of two semi-trucks. Imagine weaving through them at 120km/h (that's the speed limit) boxed in by transport trucks. Just the thing to keep one from getting bored of the flat night. I even have a quick time video of it somewhere."

Posted by jason at 02:40 PM

March 06, 2003

Massages for the Masses

I have fixed the cam software on my computer, mostly due to patience on my part and the most recent OS X system upgrade, but I had to do some hacking about, so there is some sense that I participated in the fixedness. I'll have the cam going as much as I can down in Texas, and will probably have it going on the road in archive mode, to see if anything interesting happens in front of the car. Like in the TV cop shows. As well, and bloggers take note, I have paid for a premium account with blogrolling.com. All the stuff down the right hand side of this page used to be coded by hand. Then I got 2 blogrolls to manage my Fav Blogs and Linken. By paying $15, I get 10 blogrolls, and help Jason (another jason) provide the free part of the service. It is a great tool. If you are a chronic and want to handroll all your links, fine, but for the rest of us who hope to have social lives, blogroll is it. And now a massage from the Swedish Prime Minister."

Posted by jason at 04:42 AM

March 05, 2003

Conceptual Firewalls...

If you've not heard, though I have only been home mere days, I'm heading to Texas. Salmon and I are leaving 7am on Friday to drive to Austin. She's organized a panel discussion on the topic of Conceptual Firewalls. Though I keep thinking of it as 'cultural firewalls'. Hopefully we'll infuse the proceedings with some zing that they weren't expecting. SXSW /interactive/panels/sunday Conceptual Firewalls: While blogs have the potential to foster community and to support independent publishing, access to internet technologies and online communities in general remains uneven. The "firewalls" take many forms: linguistic, cultural, economic, gendered. If blogs and blogging communities are to enable anyone to publish anything at anytime, it's crucial that we consider the ways in which they may or may not partake of these same inequalities. Heather Champ (The Mirror Project), Cameron Marlow (Blogdex), Jason Nolan (Knowledge Media Design Institute), Katharine Parrish, moderator (squish), Ana Sisnett (Austin Free-Net) %uFFA5%uFFCARoom 17A"

Posted by jason at 06:36 AM

March 04, 2003

Google buys Blogger/Pyra

Yes, I know you've probably heard this before, but anyway, the Google/Pyra story is interesting for me, obviously. It brings blogging on to the social scene at a level that may help in my job search. At least the question won't be ""what's a blog?"" and ""Who cares about blogs?"" any more."

Posted by jason at 09:04 AM

Serious Lagging

Trying to fight the rhythm of the spheres. And of course, all I get is dissonance. It seemed as if I'd escaped jet lag, getting a good normal night's sleep after I got back from Tokyo. But for the last two nights I've been able to get an hour of sleep, then I'm up from 2 to 6, sleeping from then until afternoon. Icky. SO, I've forced myself to stay up until 3am, in the hopes that I'll sleep until a reasonable time in the morning, and get into work. There are things to avoid doing that take my presence in the office. The fun of the evening has been pruning my mp3 list, and digitizing a pile of tunes for my upcoming trip. Removed some stuff that I don't even remember what it is, that's how memorable it was, and replaced it with Iggy Pop, Tom Waits and Concrete Blond. Three more Blonde CDs, a Magazine and a Suicide and ""Les Chants D'Eros"" and that should be it. Just in case you're wondering, I have 10 Beatles albums, Benny Goodman, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Mingus and Parker, Django Reinhardt, Diana Ross, the Duke, Sarah Vaughan, and tones of Robert Johnson... so all is not genX angst."

Posted by jason at 03:14 AM

March 03, 2003

OpenOSX runs Wintel software on your Mac...

You may not care, but I always think emulators are interesting, especially if they support diversity in computing. OpenOSX.com's WinTel CD allows you to run a multplicity of OSes on your G4 Mac. It seems to be an alternative to VirtualPC at 1/10th the cost."

Posted by jason at 06:32 AM

March 02, 2003

Miao's Tigger!!!

Project Achieve Wiz, and all around mom Miao just annouced on her blog, the birth of Tigger. Miao's been keeping a baby blog since march 2001, just before the birth of her first baby Kitten. And it is the most sustained online baby documents that I've ever seen. Miao (Jenyi Wu on her passport) just sent me some great pictures. Hopefully she'll post more soon. Yay Miao!"

Posted by jason at 12:31 PM

March 01, 2003

Gomi-Sensei in China

[I got the following email from Gomi-Sensei (aka Professor Garbage), an old housemate from when I lived in Tokyo in the mid-80s. He's a permenent resident in Japan, and I'd hoped to meet him on this trip. Unfortunately he's spending the year teaching in China. And for the first time in his life, he's teaching his native language, German, rather than English and Psychology. Just had to share, as he has a taste for the truly interesting things in life.] Here in the depth of central China (Hunan Province) I was looking for a Western-style restaurant a few days ago. After passing up one in fear, since it called itself ""GRILLED RESTAURANT"", I chanced upon the one and only..... THE VENUS FAST FOOD RESTAURANT OF GOLDEN SUN Among other offerings, this was on the menu: MAIN DISHES: Steak for Two Eithers Fried Ice Cream Served with Suice or Coffee Super Intestine Double Boiled Soup Bullfrog Cook Rice Bacon Pam and Egg Baked Frog Rice in Bamboo Tube Sweat Corn Congee Spiced Corned Goose Sole Burned Red Pepper with Preserved Lung for Two DESSERT: Sweat Heart Plum Watermelon Wet DRINKS: Carbon Burn Coffee Holy Venus Drink Bosnia Purified (BEER) Everything was served at once, so the sizzling hot ""Steak for Two Eithers"" came at the same time as the ""Fried Ice Cream"". This ice cream actually seemed quite cold at first, but since it started to melt, I had to eat spoonfuls of it while cutting up and chewing the sizzling steak. I had to instruct my Chinese friend in the use of these surgical instruments, since she had never used them at a dining table... Please concoct your favourit menu from the above and I shall try to have it sent to you by CARRYOUT a.k.a. TAKEAWAY..."

Posted by jason at 04:51 PM

Off to the airport.

Gawd. I miss tokyo. I'm on the Keisei Skyliner going from Ueno to Narita airport. And as I thought last night as I was coming in, I can't imagine that I've ever seen so packed a city ever. You can reach out from the window of your apartment and touch the house next to you. You can look through your neighbour's window, and right through their house, and watch the TV in the living room of the house beside it. Yet people live here, thrive. It is not a ghetto or a jungle... but a massive uneasy alliance of humans... endlessly alive and varied. Well, not so varied. And some might say not so alive, but amazing none the less. The thing that gets me, as someone who has thought a bit about community and bioregionality and the environment is that Tokyo really seems to have no plan. No urban development plan with any consistence. All the houses out my window are less than 4-5 meters from the track. Windows are right open to the trains. And the houses and apartments give way to commercial and industrial facilities without a moment's warning, only to immediately give way to a temple or more houses the train station I'm at now... is actually 5 or more stories in the air, hovering over apartment buildings below and there are 6 tracks of rail overlapping. Does tokyo work because of this lack of planning? Think about it. The cities with big problems in the west... NYC, Chicago... whatever designed. And administered, with places for residence and places for commerce and places for industry. The organization of locations of human activity seems to collect and consolidate human activity. according to some rational empirical sense of order. And what in life is really so ordered? Nothing I know. Life and experience is chaotic. Dynamic... and yes, of course fecund. Could a tokyo exist as it does because of the inherent chaos of its urban structure. A structure that no amount of social engineering and concrete, and trains can ever really segment into an ordered whole. In the past, I had compared Tokyo to a cancer, because of its grown and uncontrolled nature. But perhaps it is the ordered cities that give rise to cancers, because they cannot engage successfully with the chaos of human experience. And then perhaps Tokyo is more like the swamp. The swamp is in my mind an ultimately good location. One of many growing things in a messy struggle for self expression. Versus the well ordered planted field which has lost everything but the vaguest genetic memory of it's organic and biological origins. I'm not trying to be profound... just looking at the world out my window, and trying to figure out why it is that I find so much appealing in this dense maelstrom of cluttered buildings, and endlessly confused streets, bifurcated by these railways of seeming order, which are themselves, seen from a sufficient distance to be just a metatangle of transportation. I feel immediately more in touch with tokyo through its physical being than I did with Hakodate because of this intricate web of incommensurable spider structures all striving for the same rays of light and life. And I'm still not trying to be profound... just looking for words to conceptualize what I feel, as the train I'm on is passing under a contrcuction site, and travelling along side it... and the construction is to build another level of trains above tracks above the one's we're on now. In Toronto, we have the gardner expressway. It is the noose around our city. The black mark that keeps us from our rightful place on the water front. Is it really the 4 lanes of transportation 4 stories in the air? Tokyo has more elevated transportation that Toronto probably has streets. And remember that Tokyo probably has the population of Canada crammed into the greater toronto area. I don't think that it is the expressway that is a problem. But that it is not 2 stories in the air, as it needs to be to allow transport trucks to go under it, but 4 or 5 stories. Not that it is 50 meters wide, but that there are 50 meters on either side in which nothing is allowed to grow. It is not the pathway, but the space that it is, zoned from being a path to being a monolythic impediment. So, do you remove the imedement or do you remove the pathway. Couldn't you leave the pathway in tact? and surround it with life? yes, it would be cosmetic, but I'm wondering if the problem is itself not just cosmetic. If you covered the gardner expressway with ivy and had it dripping with green, and surrounded it with buildings, enclosed green houses, malls, movie theatres or just growing stuff that might suck up the toxins that it produced. Night clubs and bars would be great. No worries about auto exhaust or noise with the music and second hand smoke. I do think that homes would not be a good idea, because they'd quickly become a ghetto.. .but what am I saying, the south side of the gardner is already awash with condos that remind em a bit of what is ubiquitous in Tokyo. So, what are we left with at the end of my musings? Perhaps a couple of things. One is a deep and abiding questioning about the notion of urban planning, and the ""a place for everything and everything in its place"" mentality. Not that I've ever seen planning accomplish much good in this regard. Well... what's left. I think that I'm not advocating a free for all of capitalist expansion for the market. The market is what prefers order, wanting only variances to increase profit. I think that rather than putting industry afar away that allowing industry to co-habitate with homes, but focus on industry that is no more polluting per unit area than the houses are. The same goes for agriculture and commercial locations. I wouldn't mind living next to MacDonalds, if macdonalds produced no more garbage, smell, waste, noise than any of the houses around it did. It is not the industry that is a problem, but the fact that when we segregate or ghettoize a facet of our lives, we allow that facet usually to have a greater negative impact on our lives than we would if it was next to us... the Nimby mentality, no doubt. but if everything is ""in your back yard so to speak, then in a sense you have to confront your pollution. Confront your noise. Confront your garbage. I'm not going to apply this to tokyo, except to say that they have at least confronted some of this, successfully or not and I somehow have left ueno forty minutes ago, and am now pretty far from tokyo, perhaps 10 minutes from narita, in a world that is newer, and seemingly more ordered. I think Alan called it something like shopping mall country, or parking lot country. Or someone did. I guess when you have the car, and economies of scale, the structures are forced back onto even a non system. The political economy of the car culture requires that it have primary affordance... hmmm... No wonder we can't ban cars from Toronto. THey drive our culture, so to unuse them would be to divest ourselves of our own culture. And how can anyone be expected to do that? And as I watch the drainage pipe for a train terminus empty into the ditch next to a dozen acres of rice fields, you'll get my sense that I'm not ever ever positioning Tokyo or Japan as having some essentialized solution or quazi-aboriginal closer touch which the way things should be, but that every time I experience it, Tokyo sheds light on every other social experience I have with cities and urban spaces. Ah... my flight awaits."

Posted by jason at 12:16 AM