Monday, 28 November 2011

ICING ON THE CAKE



Our Man is pretty chuffed to announce that the Let Them Eat Cake fund to put Christmas cakes into the hands (and mouths) of tsunami survivors of Ishinomaki has reached and surpassed its goal of raising ¥640,000 (about $8,000?) in under three weeks. We happy few in the bunker wish to thank everyone who gave something.

The fund is now officially more or less shut. If you were going to give, but didn't pull your finger out in time, tough. Continue your vice-like grip on your pennies, there will be more chances to do the right thing. Right now, we are figuring how many cakes to order and thanks to your limitless kindness (well, some of you) we will probably get a bouncy castle as well for the kids. But you didn't come here for such life-affirming sweetness, did you?

Nahh, if you are anything like Our Man, you came here for snide potshots at the higher-ups. Well, how about this piece from Jake Adelstein on Tsuneo Watanabe - Japan's Rupert Murdoch - one of Our Man's many top-tier former bosses. Stick that in ya cake hole, Chairman.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

PEPPER SPRAY IN EYE OF BEHOLDER

Our Man will return to radio silence shortly to crack though more novel rewrites, but before he does, can he just post his favourite piece of Casually-Pepper-Spray-Everything-Cop art?


Monday, 21 November 2011

OCCUPY, ARAB SPRING, SOCIAL MEDIA: THE LIMITS OF FREE

Free. Like this blog. Our Man is free to write what the hell he wants and you are free to take it or leave it, at no cost. Free, right?



Free for all to see - the inhumanity of the University of California at Davis. A horror? Yes. An aberration?  No, not by a long stretch. Forget for a moment the heavy-handed police response that is official policy now in much of the Free World to deal with dissent, or the full-body X-ray scanners in US airports and other acts in the security theatre that we are but players, not to mention the Collateral Murder video (oh, but we don't mention that now because the messenger is an arrogant arse, so we are free to disregard the message)... this was on American soil, dammit.

Soil that is not fit for tents, which are a health and safety hazard, according to the university chancellor, thus warranting the sending in of the campus cops in riot gear. Well it was for the students' own good, that pepper spraying. Pepper is a vegetable, after all. Like pizza.

Our Man watched the two longer videos at Boing Boing, and was struck by three other thoughts.


  1. He gets the "Shame on you" chants but not the "Don't shoot children" ones. If you want to effect real change, to be taken seriously as a force for good, why would you willingly put yourself down as being just children? Unless you want special treatment.
  2. What  a lot of students taking pictures. But only a dozen or so martyrs protesting. Our Man would like to think if he were there shooting a video, he'd bloody well sit with the protesters. If not, it's just protest theatre, as meaningless as the 100ml contact lens solution limit to protect us from terror at airports. Unless these band of brothers, these happy few, actually wanted the cops to overstep the mark and be filmed doing it? Gosh, perish the thought.
  3. The cops. My god, Our Man watched Mr Donut's finest surrounded by chanting students shortly before Pike sprays the vermin and he saw not the jackboot of authoritarianism (although they were all wearing black and had those Nazi/Alien helmets) but the amateurism of privately paid mall cops.

Is Our Man siding with the forces of oppression? Well, not if he can help it, but something strange does come over you when you hit middle age. It started in his 30s and now is rampant in his second score of years: he, er, finds he has more in common with the powers that be than the revolting students. Speaking of which, according to this petition, the whole demonstration was organised by a university teacher who wants the chancellor's head.

But, all that is by the by. It's free speech, right? As American as Hawaiian cobblers:



Perhaps we should look elsewhere for moral leadership. How about Egypt? Our Man certainly enjoyed looking at Aliaa Magda Elmahdy's website here, but after he and three million other "readers" checked out the entirely liberating nude pics of a 20-year-old girl, he did finally get it. In the land of the veil, to go nude is a radical statement of free speech. And terrifyingly brave. Sorry, no shot of her courageousness, you'll have to brave the NSFW link yourself. Oh, but here are her words (that's all you were really interested in, right?)


Words. Which brings Our Man to Social Media. That means Facebook and Twitter and a whole bunch of other bollocks that don't cost a thing (in cash, not necessarily in time or sanity). Free, right?

We've long known that Facebook was evil and is selling every link you click on to advertisers, whether you are logged in or not, but now Twitter is joining in the snoop-a-thon with that bloody stupid activity bar. You can now snoop on all activity of your followers, a power Mubarak could only dream of.

But don't worry, it's all free, isn't it?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

STOP FAFFING ABOUT AND SPEND SOME MONEY



Things you really should pay for:

1. Get off your arse and commission (that means pay) Quakebook's own Mari Kurisato NOW to do some art for that project you've been meaning to do for ages because, well, she's facing eviction if she doesn't make rent by December 3rd.

2. A cake for Christmas for the long-suffering tsunami kids of Ishinomaki.

3. A hardback bilingual edition of Quakebook for Christmas for loved ones (and others you are obliged to buy presents for. Might as well make it a good book that is for charity and all).

Yes, yes, it's tedious all this right-on stuff, but dammit, what else were you going to spend your disposable income on (since Our Man's novel is still in a quagmire of rewrites...)?

Friday, 11 November 2011

TSUNAMI SURVIVORS: LET THEM EAT CAKE


Been a while, huh? Apologies, the novel and the cover life have been taking their toll on time for the deep reflection that readers (of other blogs) have come to expect. There was also another matter that has been taking up Our Man's time these last couple of nights, and maybe you could help him out.

It's those tsunami survivors of Ishinomaki. They have survived and all have (pretty shoddy) temporary homes to see them through this winter, somehow, or their partially livable damaged homes. The need for immediate relief has, Our Man believes, past. But there is a small matter of Christmas coming up.

Specifically, Our Man's. See, he can hardly in good conscience sit around supping 7-Eleven Bordeaux watching the half dozen copies of his by then complete e-novel flying off the virtual shelves if he knows that plenty of kids are miserable this Christmas and he is in a position to do something about it. Well, he is and he will.

Our Woman in Abiko made a promise to the kids of Ishinomaki that she would return, and, by MacArthur, she will. This time bearing cakes. It's all part of a fiendish DIY Keynesian plan to support a community and blah blah blah you are not really reading this are you? Our Man will skip to the numbers:

1. Give Our Man and Our Woman some money (direct to our charity bank account or via PayPal)
2. OWIA orders cakes, cookies and shopping vouchers from two bakeries just reopened in the tsunami zone.
3. Agents Provocateurs infiltrate the tsunami zone and give them to the needy on Christmas Eve.

We help put a smile on the face of kids, we put some cash into the local economy and Our Man can enjoy his Christmas in peace, dammit.

Sound like a good idea? Go here and read more or just donate some loose change at the right of the blog.

Check out the running total here. Oh, just one other thing...

We need ¥640,000 by December 1st to order 100 cakes, 100 biscuits and 100 shopping tokens. If you are in a position to help, please do. Our Man would appreciate it. Almost as much as the people of Ishinomaki.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

ABIKO 2011: BEND OVER, YOU WON'T FEEL A THING


Oh. There seems to be something happening on November 13th in Abiko. The blank signboards are up outside key means of public communication and Our Man's letter box has been stuffed with pictures of smart-casual folk in hard hats staring into the middle distance. Either the Abercrombe and Fitch catalogue has gone amateur hour or there's a city council election afoot.

Of course there's only one issue this election: which candidate can dig up the most soil. See, Abiko is a hotspot for radiation. Possibly because of the rain storm that swept through these parts back in March when the meltdown that wasn't a meltdown but actually was a meltdown happened, or didn't happen, depending on who you read or what you can remember about 3/11; or because they keep burning radioactive stuff and creating radioactive ash at the incinerators down the road in Kashiwa; or because everywhere is irradiated, which means nowhere is, relatively speaking, right?

Right.

So anyway, candidate A promises to remove more soil than candidate B from Abiko's schoolyards, parks and other public land. Thank goodness radiation only affects public property with easily accessible topsoil. Our Man wonders where they plan to put all this soil? They wouldn't just dig it up and bury it on site in schools in a big hole would they? Because that would be counterproductive and downright silly. So they won't do that.

Anyway. Our Man will try* to keep up to date on all the local races so you don't have to.

By the way, the novel. #halflifebook remember? is coming along. On the second draft now. Hoping it can make a public appearance in December. Working on it.

*"try" in the sense of "if a leaflet lands through his letter box and the picture of the candidate looks like a potato or some such equally comical non-candidate-like thing, he might, MIGHT, consider taking a pic of it and posting it here."