Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Practice at 30,000 feet


So I am sitting on the plane on my way to
Canada. The Practice is on the in-flight entertainment. I have only seen snippets of it in Japan. But now in my economy-class captivity I end up watching three episodes back-to-back.

Episode 1 – Evil-Doers

Really gripping. Actually I was more wrapped up in the secondary story, the one about the rape case, than the main story about the Hannibal creep O’Malley who is stalking Lindsay.

In the secondary (rape) story, it made me anxious that the accused was a black man. I think that in real life most violence by blacks is committed within the black community. How often does a black man from the ghetto really rape a white upscale professional woman in Manhattan?

At the end when the defendant’s identical twin brother showed the scar behind his ear, proving that he was indeed the rapist, I was bothered even more. I mean the defendant was a hoodlum but the brother was an oncologist. This contributes to a stereotype that I often notice but doesn’t seem to get any attention in the media – that even if a black man is successful he still carries some form of bad genes that will one day express themselves. Either in the form of a crime committed by, a crime committed against, substance-abuse, domestic violence and so on.


Episode 2 – This Pud’s for You

This episode had an uncharacteristically funny element in the secondary story, personified by that character Rodney, a classic loser. A complete creep and pervert, incessantly asking his female attorney to suck on his dick. He even had a name for it – Pudley! I could not stop laughing. The elderly Japanese woman in the seat next to me must have thought that American TV was a real blast.

In the main story about Lindsay being stalked, I did not feel sorry for her. In fact she annoyed the hell out of me. I wanted to see her get her ass arrested, and so it was. Definitely a happy ending, as far as I was concerned.

However the person I despised the most was that dark-haired prosecutor Helen Gamble. She fabricated this story that Rodney was a pedophile when that didn’t appear to be the case. This was to guarantee that he would suffer in prison at the hands of the other inmates. She even said to him “You’re a dead man, Rodney” as if to savor her deed. In the show she is portrayed as this moral and righteous character. However, in typical American fashion, it is OK for the righteous crusader to screw over the person labeled as the “creepy outsider” with impunity. Somehow reminds me of the state of affairs (or the affairs of the State) outside of TV, n’est pas?

Justice for all.


Episode 3 – The Verdict

I continued to maintain my anti-Lindsay sentiments. They lessened somewhat when she decided to be honest, suddenly going off in a tangent in the courtroom despite her legal team’s strategy to hide the incriminating truths. Like Helen Gamble, they all seemed like a bunch of shady lawyers looking like the “good guys”.

So at the end of the day I was happy to see her pronounced guilty. I don’t wish her life in prison, or even prison time at all. But I was happy to see her legal team get their asses kicked.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Fahrenheit 911

Kasumi and I played tennis with Mio and Erik today. Then at night went to see Fahrenheit 911 with Kasumi.

The movie rocks. I can see the US right wing seething. Good. I like it when they seethe.

I am not saying it was convincing. Michael Moore was being disingenuous as usual. But the right wing needs a kick in the pants now and then. All political affiliations and "isms" need this. The left has already been having the shit kicked out of it for years now.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

No time to leave a legend

A bit confused earlier today. Someone talked about his motto being “Live, love and leave a legend”. I wondered for a moment about that statement. It sounded really nice and all, but it just didn't resonate with me.

I think I had a problem with the part about leaving a legend.

I soon realized why - it just doesn't sound like something I want to sacrifice my net-surfing and book-reading and movie-watching time for.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Hiking

Spent the day in the mountains.

Assembled at 7am at Sai Market – me, Kasumi, Mio and Nakata-san.

First we went to Naeba-san. Hiked a long ways to an outdoor onsen.

Then hiked back to the car.

Drove to Gunma and found this small onsen village. Had ramen. Dip in the onsen. Very big, very clean, very comfortable. Had a mechanical Chinese foot massage.

Drove back to Tokyo. Made a stop at a service area. Had kenchin jiro soup.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Home party

Had a home party today. Kasumi’s party.

In attendance were Noda-san and Tango-san, Jack and Tetsuko, and Kaien and her son. The kid is starting Shogakko now.

It was fun talking to everyone. Noda-san and Tango-san as usual are not very knowledgeable about many things.

Jack talked about his mistrust and disdain for the power structure in the U.S. He said that the whole creation of wealth is based on the military. The worst thing about it is that it is not just one or a handful of people at the top orchestrating this thing, it is so deeply part of the system that everybody, or at least a very great number of people, are dependent on this military-industrial complex.

He did not believe Bush is evil, just dumb. He thinks Cheney is the worst of the current administration. I agreed, the guy is creepy. We talked about possible Bush Administration involvement in 9/11, he mentioned someone who wrote that bin Laden was a stooge for these guys, but Jack did not believe things went that far. I agreed with him there too.

Kaien also talked about some weird interesting stuff. Nowadays China is ridiculously capitalist. Universities are all privatized. Only the rich can attend. The gap between the rich and the poor is very bad. It sounds like a horrible society. Jack said that China always had a huge gap between those at the bottom of the heap and those at the top, and now it has reverted to that.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Museum day

Today was a major museum day.

I went to Uguisudani with Kasumi and Yoshida-san. Our first stop was the Tokyo National Museum (Tokyo Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan).

Here was the order we saw/did things.

1) Checked out the Kichijoten National Treasure painting of Lakshmi. In addition we saw objects from the Yakushiji temple and its pagodas, mostly from the 8th century. The Lakshmi painting was definitely the centerpiece.


2) Saw a gorgeous resplendent collection of fine and decorative art from Japan as displayed in exhibitions in the west in the 19th century. A couple of things really struck me. One was a black underglazed porcelain framed piece. The artwork looked exactly like the kinds you see with the blue underglaze, but the black was a twist on it. It looked very cool and elegant. Another was a couple of shiny gold knife bejeweled knife cases.

3) We ate a fabulous lunch at the Hotel Okura Garden Terrace located in the Horyujikan. I had the Gastronomy Lunch, which included a fillet of beef steak along with shrimp in a reddish-orange creamy sauce. It set me back 3150 yen plus tax but was well worth it. The bread too was nice, seemed like a multi-grain brown bread.

4) Looked at a fine collection of objects from the Horyuji Temple, mostly from the 8th century. Some pieces that stood out in my mind were paper with sutras written on them. The kanji looks like the same characters as now. There was also a sutra in Sanskrit which looked exactly like today’s Devanagari scripts, not that I know them or anything. The writings were so clear and so neat they could have been done yesterday.

After this we walked into Ueno Park. We came upon the Tokyo-to Bijutsukan (Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum). There was an exhibition of objects from the Sechuan period in China. I wasn’t that interested but they were. It cost 1300 yen to get in. I decided to be a good sport, and also to take in these cultural things when it is foisted upon me. I probably sure as hell wouldn’t go on my own, but we grow as a result of both our own choices and also going along with what those close to us are doing.

After all this I was pretty museumed-out. As we continued walking through Ueno Park we passed by a science museum. Yoshida-san asked if we want to see that but I said I am overflowing with museum info at this point.

We then got on the Yamanote Line from Ueno Station’s Koen-guchi and went home.


Friday, May 14, 2004

Scripting problems

Tired, hungover, needed extra sleep. Call from client at almost 11am to ask when I will arrive. I tell them an hour from now. They want me to participate in an IM session.

IM session goes from shortly after 11am to around 4pm! Lots of stuff discussed. Towards the end MSN Messenger seemed to kick me out. I couldn’t sign back on and then realized that I cannot connect to the internet.

Eventually restarting my router fixed this.

I go out on my bicycle to Nerima area. Eat lunch at Fracasso.

Return home, try to solve the problem of why some scripts do not work on my machine.

I finally figured out that Norton Anti Virus Script Blocking feature has been causing this. I checked it off and the scripts worked.

I am sure that this feature does not unconditionally block all scripts. Otherwise you could not do much on the internet in this day and age, and I am a big net surfer. Reading information on Symantec’s website, it seems that it is supposed to detect scripts with virus-like behaviour. So does this mean that my scripts exhibit virus-like behaviours?

I also found that in NAV Auto-Protect displays "Off" and Email Scanning displays "Error" in the System Status screen. I could not solve this, looked around the web. Found the answer in the Symantec website. The conclusion was that I need to reinstall NAV. Did, fixed the problem.

One more aside. In the past I had disabled Symantec Password manager since I suspected it had something to do with my scripting trouble. Clearly it did not, since the problem persisted after I disabled it. Anyway I am now using it again and my scripts work fine. So the cause was simply the Script Blocking feature.