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2006-06-18 11:14 p.m.

from fear through the eyes of madness

I haven't written in a long time. Well, that's because I've suddenly become insanely busy. I got a job doing patent translation. I could tell you what sorts of things I'm translating, but according to my non-disclosure agreement I'd have to "neutralize" you afterwards. For serious.

No, really. It said neutralize, dude.

I'd like to be reincarnated as a raven. I'd like to be one of those ravens who's a harbinger of things. I'd be harbinging all the time. My friends would be like, "Hey man. You wanna peck the eyes out of this corpse?" and I'd be all, "Dude! I gotta harbinge at three!" and they'd be all, "You and your dumb harbinges all the time!" and I'd be like, "I take my harbinging duties very seriously, thank you very much!" It'd be cool.

The Philipina mail-order bride showed up to my English conversation class. Once. Her husband came and sat through class, as well, though he refused to participate. He speaks less English than my preschoolers do. She's been studying Japanese, but she's still not very good at it. She's 23. He's 45. Natch asked me "to take care of her," because "you came here because you wanted to, but she came because of… [makes the Japanese sign for 'money']." She seemed to enjoy herself, but she hasn't shown up since. I can only assume it's because I'm such a sexy, sexy bitch and her husband feels threatened by me. I mean, that's gotta be it, right?

I'm not sure how to feel about that sort of situation. I don't know what to think about people who mail-order brides or people who choose to become mail-order brides. On the one hand that's pretty sleazy, dude, but on the other hand maybe he's a really good guy who it just never happened for, who just wants someone to take care of and be taken care of by. On the one hand I feel bad for her, but on the other hand as far as I know no one forced her to do this. I'm confused. It seems like the modern-day relatively-acceptable version of selling your daughter into prostitution.

Two more kids showed up to my English conversation class, too. A pair of sisters, age 6 and 8, who I know pretty well. Big sister started crying when I asked her a question she didn't understand the first night… [sigh] She came back again the next week, though, without tears. Amazing the difference between the kids who've been coming for six months and the new ones…

I don't like bread that tastes like paper. I'm much more fond of that which tastes like wood.

Autumn tells me that Japanese people need less sleep that white people. Autumn tells the kids that the reason "I" is always capitalized in English is because the individual is the most important thing in English-speaking culture. Well, I got news for you- Autumn is full of shit. She's also resolutely crushing the genki of the first years, which bothers me a bit, since they used to be an amazingly good class. Now, though, stretching in the middle of class merits a five minute-long angry lecture and being forced to apologize to the whole class and the teachers. Especially if your name is Daichi.

Japanese animation led me to believe that, in Japan, every overgrown path winding off into the woods leads to a fantasmagorical alternate dimension in dire need of a prophesied hero who just happens to be you. Well, I've been down a lot of Japanese overgrown paths, and I'm sorry to say that the percentage of them that actually do lead to fantasmagorical alternate dimensions can be depressingly small. I'd demand a refund, if I wasn't paid to be here.

I did zazen with the student teacher's brother. Or rather, I did zazen and he walked around behind me with the big whacker stick. He's just back from his two years of training at the Eiheiji monastery. He said he wanted to stay another two years, but there were too many others who wanted to come. He's all hardcore- reminds me a lot of a just-returned Mormon missionary, actually- the kind who wanted to extend but were denied. He got the subtly condescending deference going ON.

News Nook

Good ol' Anne Coulter. So courageous to write a book attacking the 9/11 widows.

A minor-league hockey team called The Trashers will not be playing this season, because the owner has been indicted for using money from his mafia-backed garbage collection business to inflate players salaries beyond the cap. That is hilariously cool.

In other news, I seem to have acquired a new guilty pleasure: a band called Coheed and Cambria. Their albums have titles like "In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth 3" and "Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV: Volume 1. From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness." Each album starts with a variation on the same melody and goes on to lay out an episode in a five part far-future sci-fi/fantasy story, and get this- the first episode is going to be released LAST. So far, parts two through four have been released. Oh, and the last two episodes are actually a two-part conclusion. My inner thirteen year old says "COOOOOOL!"

I was introduced to them by a friend, the guy I've been raiding islands with lately, with whom [I totally just used "whom"] I'm going to climb Mt. Fuji in a couple of weeks here. My first impression was that they sounded like a combination of The Real Thing-era Faith No More, "Don't Get 2 Close 2 My Fantasy"-style Ween, and Spinal Tap. And I mean that in the best possible way. Wikipedia says " Coheed and Cambria's music is often compared to that of Rush, partly because of lead singer Sanchez's wide vocal range and high-pitched voice, Dream Theater, for their technical phrasing and intricate time changes, and Yes, partly because of the intricacy and "dueling" style of guitar and bass work. Their technical precision, terse rhythmic phrases, and the advanced compositional structures of songs evoke earlier similarly crafted rock. Story elements and melodic themes are cohesively wrought throughout their albums to date. Coheed and Cambria are the most visible proponents of a new sort of "prog-rock opera" style for the 2000s. Notably, though, the futuristic science-fiction storyline on which all their music is based harks back to the epic sound and feel of 1970s progressive-rock. Sanchez has stated that he is influenced by bands such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath."

So, yeah, they're prog-rock, I guess. Some people also call them emo, but I can give you a logical proof which conclusively demonstrates that they are not. It goes like this: I hate fucking emo. I do not hate Coheed and Cambria. Therefore, Coheed and Cambria are NOT emo. End of discussion.

To get a taste of what they're like, go to their MySpace page and listen to "Welcome Home." Check out the lyrics, too.

sincerely written from my brother's blood machine,


P.S. Itinerary!