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2005-10-13 7:21 p.m.

prelude to my entry into everyone's favorite worker's paradise

Well, WTF has come to the Rock and gone. All in all the visit went well.

The latest with the Cancerous Ex is that the weekend after I came back from Kyoto, he emailed her telling her he had gotten a morphine prescription. Talking to some friends about this, she found out that, in Japan at least, morphine is only administered in injection form to hospital in-patients. At this she decided that enough holes had been poked in his story and decided to cut him off completely. He responded by sending her a picture of some pills he claimed to have gotten on the ďblack marketĒ (she highly doubts he has access to any kind of black market), saying he was going to take them and die. When she didnít respond, he sent the same message again several minutes later, with ďBy the way, itís your fault I got sickĒ tacked on the end. Nice. She still didnít respond. She thinks that if he actually killed himself the police would contact her. Itís been over a week now and she hasnít heard anything, soÖ Maybe sheís finally done with that.

Tomorrow I fly to Beijing, and the day after that I fly to Pyongyang. Thereís every indication that this time itís actually going to happen.

Iíve been reading up about the place recently, and today it finally dawned on me that I AM GOING TO NORTH KOREA. North Korea, where they spend 25% of the GDP on the military (compared 3.3% in the U.S.) while cutting food rations back to below subsistence level for the population as a whole. North Korea, where only Pyongyang even really has electricity (check out this satellite map, and note the black hole between China and South Korea). North Korea, where if you or a family member within three generations of you is suspected of, say, believing in God or looking like a ďcounter-revolutionary,Ē youíll be shipped off to the concentration camps. North Korea, where Kim Il Song and Kim Jong Il are worshipped as gods. North Korea, whose people are encouraged to be less than friendly to the U.S. and its citizens.

That will be fun.

Anyway, hereís a little news nook for ya:

Yet another Reason Why We Are Totally Fucked, Sooner Or Later: supernovas and neutron star mergers

Congress has passed a bill prohibiting torture of detainees, despite Bush's protests. And you thought progress on social issues had stalled during this administration! And in general, people are finally starting to realize that Bush sucks. About a year too late, but oh well.

The Japanese are gonna dig a hole to the center of the earth.

And if youíve ever wondered who would win in a fight between an alligator and a python (I know I have), now you know.

Thatís all for now. Tomorrow I'll be on a plane to Red China, happily reading my favorite book , The U.S. Imperialists Started the Korean War. With any luck they won't even ship me off to Yodok, and I'll be back in about a week.

iíll never see myself in the mirror with my eyes closed,