My phone can take decent pictures…

 …when it feels like it anyway. We’ve had some spectacular sunrises and sets lately, but I keep forgetting my proper camera. The phone camera is crap at capturing them unless you get in exactly the right position. Even then these looked a lot more beautiful in real life.

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The second one is actually now my background. The first doesn’t look as good on the small screen. My old phone’s camera was better in some ways, though the pictures it took were more grainy they captured colours better. Still the up button on that phone broke so I couldn’t scroll as easily through my girlfriend’s cute texts and the photos of her. Also my new phone can receive Hiragana so she could send me Japanese passages for me to translate. So getting it was a bit pointless really wasn’t it? Also it’s big and flat and feels awkward in my pockets so I have to take it out when I sit down for break times at work. Still it’s having it’s own keyboard problems, namely over-sensitive buttons that make menu navigation about as predictable as a roulette wheel.

Still I did use it when I discovered an IRL texture misalignment.

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OFF THE CHAIN!

Recently I read a deranged article about a guy who was deported from Japan. This is not a link to the original article, but to another site containing a copy of the first draft. The article is a “work in progress”, meaning it keeps changing every time awkward questions get asked.

http://crcjapan.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/inside-the-gaijin-tank-dungeon-at-narita-airport/ 

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Picture related

(skim) Reading the article made me more and more angry at the country that begat my coldly-dumping girlfriend. I went to bed vowing to give up learning the language and never set foot there again. However I’d fallen into the same trap that debito.org and the red-top gutter press set – that blend of unsubstantiated claims and out-of-proportion-blowing with little bigoted snipes slipped in that makes you start thinking “yeah, these people are capable of that”. With a clearer head and the filter of tepido.org, a much more amusing picture emerges:

http://tepido.org/dont-put-your-finger-in-my-ass/629 

There’s plenty of rather glaring holes in the story and questions the guy refuses to ask. If you ask me the picture is more like…

– He had a work visa for Japan that had either expired, or was for a specific type of work (which was almost certainly teaching English in some chain school). His constant reiteration that he’s “been legal” in Japan for years and “paid taxes” are but poor excuses for illegal immigration. If your visa has expired you ain’t getting in. Countries aren’t in the business of selling citizenship.

–  If he did have a work visa for English teaching and had instead been working as a ‘journalist’ or ‘public speaker’ (he implies that some anti-nuclear speeches he gave are “the real reason” why he was deported. In the same way that the anti-whaling protesters and dolphin-protecting “Cove Watchers” keep getting deported for “anti-Japanese activities” eh?) then he was violating the terms of his visa. And that means it’s time to say bye bye.

– Somebody on Tepido also did a number-crunch and worked out that his claim that 20,000 people were being randomly plucked from immigration at the airport and thrown back out of the country was actually a rather big fact-twist. Actually 20,000 people in total were deported in that time period. A lot of them for committing real crimes!

Oh also while on a vaguely Japanese thread… Yo Sushi opened in Cambridge in 2011 (on Armistice day… to an utterly pathetic spectacle of protest by old codgers who know nothing about history claiming that “the young people” know “nothing about history”. No, nothing about the Wakamiya, or the Dogger Bank Incident in my memory. Of course Cornelius T. Soundbite, erm, I mean Julian Huppert, had to chime in with some cod-patriotic bollocks. Fuck off, the Lib Dems are even worse than New Labour.) and is fairly decent, if monumentally expensive. Then last year a tiny establishment called U Sushi appeared. It was just as monumentally expensive and didn’t have conveyor belts, so I didn’t bother trying it as I couldn’t be bothered to work out what I fancied in advance. However more recently they bought out a series of set menus, the cheapest of which is £8.80. Today I thought I may as well trot in…

MY GOD. I’m never going back to Yo Sushi! U Sushi is so much better it’s like it’s from another planet! Or maybe just the opposite side of the same planet.

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It’s located here.

The new year

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Last sunset of 2011

I was magnificently lazy over the Christmas holidays, I just sat about eating chocolate and writing short half-arsed reviews of a bunch of small press comics for a magazine. Oh wait, that’s bad! I meant to do a heap of comic drawing, including finishing off my ill-fated manga for a competition the Japanese embassy was running. I’d failed to get it even near finished before that closed, but I hoped to get it finished by tomorrow for inclusion in the next “issue of” (it’s no longer a ‘regular’ comic) Non Repro. But won’t finish it in time for that either now.

The reason? Sherlock! Yes the BBC finally got off their arses and made another three (three! When are we getting a proper series?) episodes of this. And BY GOD are they awesome. The first one was shown on New Year’s day and the second last night. The second was based on the Hound of the Baskervilles… except now “Baskerville” is a secret bio-weapons research facility. You can see where this is going… except it doesn’t go there, actually XD.

Speaking of Sherlock Holmes the latest Hollywood film is incredible too. It’s 2 and a half hours long mind you. But actually there’s only 8 minutes of story and the rest is filled up by slow motion (troof). Still it’s incredible, even if some anachronisms annoyed me… no, his car is not one of them! But the fact there’s nobody walking in front of it with a red flag is. Mind you though, Sir Conan Doyle never liked Sherlock Holmes using motor vehicles, and still had his hero riding around in horse-drawn cabs even after he’d bought a motorcycle. Of course Sexton Blake’s writers had no such qualms, and a motor-car featured in those stories as early as 1898. Later he was thundering around in a Mors car at thirty miles in the hour!

An even more annoying anachronism (to me), though, is the fact that they got the German flag wrong! Germany wasn’t using that flag in 1891 (though had used it earlier), they were using a Black-White-Red tricolour up to 1918. Mind you though, “The First World War in Colour” managed to get it wrong too. As did an old docudrama about the early days of Albert Einstein.

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My 2011 Calendar, from Sweatdrop Studios. It kind of sums up the person I was in 2011, very interested in Japan to the point of considering moving there and even becoming a naturalised citizen (eventually). I was working diligently on learning the language and spending hours reading blogs by foreigners who had gone to live there.

I was also giving vague thought to converting myself to drawing manga style, in the vague hopes of “doing a Bakuman” once I was naturalised. But then my girlfriend dumped me in November, and in December I found myself constantly saying “Nanaji” for Seven O Clock, when it ought to be “Shichiji”. Also I read a load of Debito (though a lot of it “through the filter” of Tepido). I still think he’s bonkers and his followers a bunch of commie shitstabbers. But you can’t argue with clear cases of shitty policing, insane working hours with no recognition and GIANT FUCKIN’ INSECTS. If I never set foot in neon hell again, it’ll be too soon!

On to the 2012 Calendar, then…

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Yep, that sums up the kind of person I want to be in 2012, the same person I was in 2006! I’m getting the Mini on the road no matter what and waking the echoes of a July afternoon out in the fens (without going over 50 XD). I’m also doing Download and as many local rock/metal/blues/ska gigs as I can cram in. Oh I’ll be collecting more antique comics rather than horror movies though. (Bring back Silverscreen! Those shops were great). Starting with this…

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It’s 6 months worth of The Boys’ Friend (aka the best British comic ever) from mid 1904. I got lucky on this one, nobody else bid and It went for £50! I was expecting to pay over £100. Maybe the low price was because it’s January. Anybody else out there wanting to sell bound volumes of the Boys’ Friend/Realm/Herald, Union Jack, (Halfpenny) Marvel or Skipper please do it right now or wait until Jan ’13 eh?

Boys Friend Price fluctuations…

Complete year 1903 – 04 – £49.99 (Was “pickup only” and BIN, I cheekily offered to pay extra postage and the seller agreed, bargain!)

Complete year 1902 – 03 – £170 (! And I had to drive down to Enfield to get it. Well worth it though! they look great on the shelf)

Half year Jan-Jun 1910 – £110 (great condition)

Half year May – Nov 1904 – £49.99 (woohoo)

Plus loads of individual issues at about a fiver each. Anybody out there got any they want to unload?

 

Other crap I can’t be bothered to write at length about…

– Helicopter crash! I saw it fly over my work, it seemed to be ‘skidding’ in the air and the wind was really strong that day. It exploded near Ely and crashed into a field

– The strong wind! Part of our fence blew down. A panel of fence at work somehow not only blew down but ‘jumped over’ a big wheelie bin.

– The Pheonix, and it’s dire distribution: http://blog.crystal-knights.co.uk/2012/01/09/the-post-formerly-known-as-wheres-your-pheonix/

–  Despite the lazy last days of 2011 work is going ‘decently’ on comic for 2012. I hope to do at least 6 issues of the Red, White & Blue, 3 of the The Trident, 2 of The Sentinel (a ‘red top’ for comic collectors) and 1 of the Small Press Digest (encouragement-filled magazine with yellow covers). I’ve got a table at Camcon in May, seemingly the first nerdy convention in Cambridge for many a year (possibly since the Old Boys’ Book Club met there!). Gonna be great! Also got a ‘premeet’ in April.