I live in Tokyo now but most of my friends and family do not. The main idea here is that I can tell these people about interesting things that happen and are seen.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Another Comic, Some News, and BONUS

Another Comic:

A Small Kobold 1996 presents: "Civilization 2" done got concluded.
Once again you gotta click on the comic to make it remotely legible.

I am still playing around with the look and composition of things. Also I am slowly straightening out my ideas about how to write a comic. On a list of "Things That Ain't Easy", producing a good quality web comic comes somewhere not far behind "pimpin".

a-small-kobold.com remains essentially broken for now (in fact I recently noticed that it has mysteriously discarded some of the episodes), so I guess I'd better sort that out before I draw any more.

Some News:

Operation: Get The Hell Outta Chiba is nearly complete and in a couple of weeks I'll be moving to a spot much closer to any place I could conceivably ever want to be. It's in the middle of a triangle formed by Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Nakano - an area I will henceforth refer to as RAD DUDEZ TOWN.

(Thinking about printing some RAD DUDEZ TOWN T-shirts with the lettering kind of made out of lightning bolts or possibly bones from a skeleton).

So I'm sure you can all imagine my relief.


Brett Lee's duet with Asha Boshle - an apalling song that has been hugely successful in India. (I'm sure I'm well behind everyone that lives in a country where cricket is actually played here).

Brett's first single and hopefully his last... Asha Boshle on the other hand, has been running shit for maybe about 40 years. She sings on almost every Bollywood song I like - actually for much of the 70s it seemed she sung on every Bollywood song full stop. Here's an example from 1972 - and for added geek value, let me point out that it was ripped by The Black Eyed Peas for a recent-ish single... I'd call them rascals if that term didn't imply affection.

Friday, January 19, 2007

But YouTube Links Don't Really Count...

I don't know why Falco thought he could carry this whole video on his own.

It's like an anthology of everything I ever did while looking in a mirror when I was about 11 years old.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

My Next Tattoo

All these soft boys that be tatooing the sides of they necks with pictures of like some dice on fire or crossed chequered flags and skeletons in top hats - perhaps the name of a suburb in Gothic font, or VEGAN 4-EVA in baseball writing... Chinese words they ain't understand, whatever else... all these soft boys and girls need to realize that they've been straight up wallpapering their bodies with FILLER.

What we got us right here is some CONTENT!!!!

Forehead or torso is the only question that remains.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Comic, Thoughts on the Year 1996, and BONUS

I dunno if anyone ever clicks the link off to the right labelled "A Small Kobold" Web Comic - I know I wouldn't, given that it has not been updated in months... but anyway that is a comic that I work on sometimes. A man ought to have a hobby you know.

Well, I finally did another comic... only to discover that something has gone awry and I can't get the update script to display the sorry thing. If you visit the site now, you can read me complaining about this.

I will probably fix my site once Jeremy tells me what to do. Shitty thing needs an overhaul anyway (any volunteers, by the way? I don't know about inter net stuff and don't have a lot of time to learn...)

So anyway, for the time being you can see the comic right here - if you click on it, it should spring up into a legible size... be aware that it contains adult (adolescent?) references to DRUG USAGE... only stuff I learned from reading educational materials though of course.

I set this comic in 1996 because I needed to distance it from the continuity of everything else I've been doing, and also because 1996 is when Civilization 2 came out. But I had a hard time trying to give it a 1996 feel... in fact, I can remember very little about what 1996 was like. This got me to thinking - I figure that 1996 retro must be about due - and for some reason, this filled me with loathing and dread. But why? I wasn't sure.

So I took a look at the top 10 songs of 1996:

1. Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix), Los Del Rio
2. One Sweet Day, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men
3. Because You Loved Me, Celine Dion
4. Nobody Knows, Tony Rich Project
5. Always Be My Baby, Mariah Carey
6. Give Me One Reason, Tracy Chapman
7. Tha Crossroads, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
8. I Love You Always Forever, Donna Lewis
9. You're Makin' Me High / Let It Flow, Toni Braxton
10. Twisted, Keith Sweat

That's why. 1996 Presents: "Music to Cut Your Own Genitals By..."

Actually I'm pretty worried about mid-to-late 90s retro altogether. Things got worse as the decade went on - I'm talking about shit like Aqua, the boyband revival, "Candle in the Wind 1997" (which was STILL in the top 10 in 1998!), all that terrible vocoder crap that Cher kicked off in 1999...

As for the fashion - who else remembers the remorseless ubiquity of lime green and orange? Skeletal models, heroin chic anyone? (Anyone???)

If it hits us consecutively, we're due for about 6 straight years of nostalgia for one of the most apalling slump periods that global culture has ever known. In all honesty I would be happier doing "Aztec retro" and have my still-beating heart cut out with a stone knife and brandished before my agonized, disbelieving eyes... there would probably be some half-decent drumming happening nearby.


Paranthetically, 1996 also brought us the phrase "no diggity", which I still don't know how to use.

Is it like:

Q: "Would you care for a cigarette?"
A: "No diggity!"

I dunno, is that plausible? Is it? Friends... I really don't know. (I have "no diggity"? Maybe?)

Advice is being accepted on that one.



Would you drink out a glass designed by this man?

Currently, there is a 7-11 promotion here in Japan where if you buy a bunch of beer you can take home a glass that he designed. My flatmate bought a bunch of beer and that is exactly what happened. The glass itself is kind of a wonky shape and has angel wings on the side. You couldn't fit much beer in it... actually it sucks pretty bad.

The picture above is on the side of the box - don't it just make you want to... drink a laughably small serving of beer? Or go fox hunting?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Happy New Year and Chiba Sucks


here is a pie chart that i made about new year's eve:

(click on the graph to make it legible eh)

I was blessed with the company of good friends over the Christ's Mass and New Year's period - our adventures were many, and our depradations upon the weak most grim. Tears and laughter spilled from our respective faces and teemed and roiled upon the streets, just as rain from the sky didn't - except for a couple of days maybe - what I am saying here is that we had fun and the weather was good (though cold! Oh so cold! I had to pull my hat down over my whole face more than once).

Further details of our exploits may emerge in the future but for the time being the flickers is updated. A record of selected moments from those occasional times that I remembered to bring my camera and didn't leave the battery at home... this included most times when nothing particularly interesting was going on nearby.

Anyway the main idea I have to present to you today is that Chiba SUCKS. This is a thought about Chiba that originally occurred to me one day when I looked out a window on the 19th floor of the 100 Sen building and saw this:

I think we can all agree that is mostly a picture of some bull crap - in fact this is kind of the good side as you can't see the exhaust stacks from the various oil refineries that dot the harbourside belching plumes of flame into the night. It is a terrible place. When someone uses the word "hole" in my vicinity I immediately think of Chiba city instead of, say, some kind of space in the ground or an aperture on the surface of an object.

Well, it seems my intuitions on the subject are confirmed. Yesterday, Dave was leaving and needed to check in at the airport around 3:30pm, so I figgered we'd kill the afternoon in Chiba - it's a convenient mid-point between my place and the airport, and the train station has ample lockers for a dude to stash his backpack.

"What attractions does Chiba offer a traveller whose stay is virtually over and who doesn't care overmuch about the quality of his last few experiences?" - that is what I wondered to myself. The answer to this question is: NOOOOOOO.


Here's the official japan-guide.com entry for Chiba. But don't bother reading it - allow me to summarize:

"Many tourists visit Chiba... because the main airport is there. Here's a picture of a plane! FULL STOP. [noise of a goose honking]"

I mean the entire purpose of that website is to make people hyped up about Japan being awesome. It is not supposed to be giving any real objective or critical view - yet their best attempt at positive spin is: "CHIBA... there's an airport!"

"CHIBA: We make it easy to leave!"

Japan Reference rather apologetically notes Chiba's economic importance and concedes that it is "not a major touristical destination" (touristical, Japan Reference? TOURISTICAL???). The reconstruction of Chiba Castle is damned with faint praise, being "large enough to be appreciated".

The Lonely Planet, meanwhile, maintains a monkish silence and omits Chiba from its index altogether.

And Wikitravel actually goes so far as to actively mock Chiba (in between irrelevant references to William Gibson's use of Chiba as a setting in Neuromancer, doubtless inserted by some fanboy editor). A sample attraction:

[Chiba Port Tower] offers views of the surrounding industrial wastelands and container docks, at least for a kilometer or two until they fade off in the smog. There is also a delightfully pathetic display of stuffed fish mounted on sticks in a simulated ocean environment downstairs; the simulation is needed since heavily polluted Chiba Bay hasn't sustained anything above seaweed (or with less than 3 eyes) for quite a while. Entry ¥410, open daily from 9 AM to 7 PM (or 9 PM in summer).

So basically I feel justified in being completely racist about Chiba now, and all the more eager to uproot myself from the suburbs and move into some over-priced meat locker of an apartment closer to the heart of Tokyo.

(DISCLAIMER: I guess I am mainly dissing Chiba City here. Chiba Prefecture appears to maybe have some pretty good stuff in it - but Chiba City is making a hell of weaksauce effort for Japan's 13th biggest city - does even the pachinko suck in Chiba? Do they only have like "Demolition Man" and "Addams Family Values" machines from ten years ago? I imagine a generation or forklift drivers, trapped playing "Guns'n'Roses" themed pachislot and dreaming of the day they can afford to move to Yokohama...)

No real conclusion by the way - Chiba sucks, I'm getting the hell out of it. That's the deal.