mr. zilla goes to town

Saturday, March 20, 2004

koyote kawaii


that's... not exactly on the spirit level.

sex and the cities

The pair stumbled raggedly in the door, still laughing, and fell into the couch.

"Whazza time?" said Tokyo, bleary-mouthed.

London squinted at her watch. "Mmm." And squinted again. " 'S Nineteen forty five."

Tokyo rolled his eyes. Loudly.

"Sorry luv, I mean, quarter to eight. Old habits."

"Well. Still early then." Meaningfully.

There is a comfortable, albeit slighty dazed and wobbly, silence. A change of subject.

"Wha the hell were in those last drinks?" I'm completel'y blitzed."

"Luf'waffe Coladas. But you can talk, I was into the B-52's, and I'm totally bombed. Still wanna head back out though. Up for a club?"

"Not me. Still on a diet. Got to ration the beer carbs on the Atkins you know. Maybe you should call your cousin Hiro and see if he's interested?."

"I think he had one too many Manhattan Iced Teas..."


On the evidence now available, forensic weekendologists have since discovered that despite her diet, London went on to finish a bag of crisps and a final lager before passing out. Tokyo retired briefly to the bathroom, and railed a line of speed as long as Macarthur's Arm[y] before heading out.

And the rest, as they say, is just history. Although the history is written in lightning neon ink that leaps off the page and intently grabs the jetlagged reader by the short and curiousities. Kinda like Howard Zinn, but with more unlocked bicycles, and less angst.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

DC idiocy

Democracy is taking root in Iraq and there is no turning back," said Scott McClellan, White House spokesman. "This is a time of testing, but the terrorists will not prevail."
You chump McClellan, they don't HAVE to prevail. Don't you get it? All they have to do is continue to not lose completely. It's YOU who have to utterly prevail -- and for the next five years or so -- for this adventure to go in the books as a win.

And though this might sound like a strange conclusion to some, for all our sakes, I hope you lot do so.


Henges, abbeys, cathedrals, and a coach full of Americans (including a bunch of Texan barely 18 year olds on a private school tour to whom in a 600 year old pub at lunch time I gave a Fabric flyer I still had in my coat and told them to slip their fetters and run along there tonight since it could possibly be the best club the world, right after they observe local tradition and get rat arsed on St Paddy's day, which I'm just about to head off and do myself so I can sleep all day on the plane to Tokyo tomorrow morning).

All good clean fun. Where's my hemlock? Hahaha!

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

this is serious, mum

Oxford street strand old bailey st pauls london city guildhall monument tower of london tower bridge globe theatre tate modern natural history museum, and refreshingly strange ale and odd food in a stinky pub for dinner in earls court. There are a lot of spots in central London with an almost apologetic tone to them:

"We had a really nice thing going just here with this lovely palace / wall / church built in 1082 and a few dead queens buried in it. We're quite terribly sorry, but we can't show it to you today as it all went up in tha blasted Great Fire in 1666, but we hope you'll like the replacement Christopher Wren whipped up for us after supper one evening in the late 17th Century. We're really quite fond of it now, and hope that in a couple of hundred years more it'll have a bit of history growing under the eaves."

But anyway: It's not like I'm not used to the new world order. I work four blocks from target of desire #1 (but not opportunity -- there are now permanent surface to missile launcher turrets on the roofs of nearby buildings), the white house, which was surrounded by triple fencelines out to the range of a good mortar when I first arrived. Flying out of Reagan National Airport there too -- where the northern flight path puts you directly over the Pentagon about 15 seconds after takeoff -- means there are regulations that should anyone in the passenger cabin so much as twitch on takeoff, the flight immediately grounds at nearby Dulles, presumably to put all passengers onboard an awaiting military transport to a two year caribbean holiday.

That's all well and good, but today in the London City Guildhall I came across a sign which indicated the city was at "Alert Level Bikini Black". I can't say I agree with this sauciness. What red blooded counter terror coordination boffin would want to be the one to lower the level back to 'cardigan'? Still, apparently when the intelligence agencies throw off the Clark Kent trousers and have a black vinyl dress-down tuesday, it means that small (presumably government-VIP) jets coming into London do so way off the regular Heathrow flightpath, screaming over the city at about a thousand feet, with armed and dangerous fighter jets hanging maybe 50 feet off each wing. There are people out there with more than chips on their shoulders, after all.

Those little VIP government jets are clearly more of an interesting target for the bad guys than a 747 chock full of peons. Sure. And it was probably only an exercise anyway. Riiight. I'll pretend I'm not going to think about that when I'm crawling skyward out of here sitting on 200 tons of jet fuel on Thursday. Off to Salisbury, Bath and Stonehenge tomorrow. I'll see if there's any druids with some jiggling beads to sell.

Say, isn't the luxurious escapism of travel grand? It frees the mind from the cares and worries of the world.

To paraphrase Jared: I think its time to go dip mine in some frothy amber.

man of pies, man of letters

Ahh, London. Civilisation is where you can get pies for lunch. Speaking of which, Since he won't do his own blatant self-promotion, I thought I'd briefly mention that Sean has a blog up and running which will be a regular read here. Having just spent an hour reading through the product to date, it looks like really good stuff. Specially for the extranational fan base who miss the daily nuance of marky mark's ascent... do you think he'll do a CK commercial in the election campaign? maybe with Lance Armstrong on board so that between them they can fill out the package? Both of them, I feel, have one more on board than jackbootjack.

Monday, March 15, 2004

london calling

Let me just get this out of the way and blow the profanity quota for the month:

Holy fuck, some fucking fuckers blew the fuck out of some goddamn trains in Madrid and killed so many fucking people I want to vomit.

I stood in Waterloo Station this morning with a thousand random strangers on their way to a thousand different places, to observe 3 minutes silence for the victims of aforementioned sickening fucking violence. (Oops, there I go again).

The BBC TV News (London edition) is headlining the police urging people to break out of their characteristic English reserve and get talking on the Tube and collectively suss out any random pieces of luggage lying about. Announcements that suspicious parcels will be blown up have migrated from airports to the train concourse. What will be the next horror that forces the warning to move onward and outward again? Ask the folks in Israel I guess...

Today's papers here are completely ballistic over the caning handed to conservative Spanish government in the wake of the attack. For better analysis that this rabbit headed foaming response I suggest you head over to Road To Surfdom as my Washington neighbour Tim D is a sharp observer.

Apart from that everything is peachy keen, I've spent the last 48 hours caning around many of central London's tourist traps, out to Greenwich to the 0 meridan, Royal Observatory, and the National Maritime Museum. At the NMM I fluked into being one of just two people in a 90 minute long hands-on look at a range of sea charts and altases from a 15th century copy of Ptolemy's Geographica, to Dutch maps of the English coast to a first edition of Matthew Flinders' maps of the Australian coastline, with two of the NMM's boffin carto-historians on hand to answer anything and everything. There's something about maps that just tweaks my nipples. I love to come across political maps of years gone by and hunt out all the clues and combinations that let you pin down the date of production. All brilliantly entertaining and diverting.

And while on the subject of diversions, went to Fabric last night (Sunday)after getting in too late on Saturday to get out there. A completely unflyered unbilled unhyped night, and yet the music quality was first class. In the main room: big techy progressive arcs of aural fire. In the back room: hard trance accompanied by a massive unit of a solo live drummer... I think I just about dropped my knitting. The venue has to be seen to quite understand how they've just got it so right. Stoinkingly awesome.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

the week's big (t)issue

SHOCK AND INCREDULITY. The first Stewart guilty verdict, on the charge of conspiracy, brought an audible gasp. And the palpable sense of shock grew more pronounced with each additional "guilty," the spectators' expressions of surprise ranging from a stunned "No way!" to a smattering of muttered obscenities. The shock seemed only to grow as Cedarbaum finished with the verdicts against Stewart and began reading out the guilty counts against Stewart's ex-broker and co-defendant, Peter Bacanovic.

A couple of journalists actually started crying.
Uh... what?

Excuse me?

How about you harden up, you atrocious blubbering pack of disperspective beagle-eyed twats? You're a disgrace to the fourth estate. No wait - you're a disgrace to the disgraceful elements of the fourth estate!

As you can see, a year in the US has not prevented me from continuing to experience occasional fits of utter dumbfoundment. Listen closely through your screen now - you might just hear the popping echoes of some of my brain cells spontaneously exploding into popcorn. When you're merely slipping between shades of culture, from one flavour of settler Westernality to another, is this how cultural acclimatization transmits? Harmless soundbytes and puffy popnews culture, symbiotic carriers of foreign DNA (Disturbing Nonsensical Anecdotes) that slowly but surely worm their way in until they consume all cognitive dissonance?

Sweet mercy, I think just gained a whole new visceral understanding of the Homer Simpson character.

Fortunate that there are bent people out there who add salt and butter to the popcorn.

Fortunate also that its time for some time out, coming up as follows:

March 13-18: London (play)
March 19-22: Tokyo (play)
March 23-April 5: Canberra (work and play)

Looking forward to catching up with Jaya in Tokyo and bunches of people in Canberra. See you soon.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

splinter cells

My my, things certainly are hotting up for Graham and his Neurocam adventures. I hope he keeps in just enough trouble to one day tell us what Neurocam is all about.

I feel perhaps a similar sense of adventure with a new group of disloyalists I've taken up with. Regime change begins at home, but there are some harsh and unjust laws in the USA which mean that only US citizens get the opportunity to vote against miserable failure President Bush. (Although I hear that Attorney General John Ashcroft has a few ideas in the pipeline to put paid to the shameful situation; for him, citizens who vote against a wartime president have a place reserved in the third circle of Gitmo.)

Not only that, it's illegal for a dangerous foreign national like myself to contribute financially to the candidates competing to oust the President. It strikes me that there's a curious lack of balance to this situation, when we've seen the Bush regime just add a third scalp to their belt in three years with Haiti's President Aristide asked ever so politely to step aside to allow an insurgency aligned with former thugs and death squads to run the country as the US and UN send peacekeepers for the second time since 1994.

But I digress. Starting last night I've signed on with the Committee To Redefeat The President in an attempt to effect certain changes upon and within the voting plurality of the United States, and overthrow the current regime in a popular coup d'etat in November this year. Alas, unlike Aristide, it seems they won't depart without a fight. (Remind you of anything? Like, say, the death star? Batman notwithstanding, why does evil always have the cool toys?)

We'll be working on again tonight -- the beginnings of the cellular campaign in both senses of the word. It could get messy, especially when we down tools and beers around 9pm to watch the Super Chooseday results come in. And perhaps a little hoarse.

Update: expecting around 30 operatives to present for duty, over three times that number arrived to make calls, write letters, and register (democratic) voters from pro-democratic zip codes in battleground state Pennsylvania. That's what I call something approaching a smart mob, much unlike the pathetically pointless dadaist nonsense being carried on with last year. Good thing we weren't Neurocam, or we'd have run out of letters to stick on nametags already ;-)

Monday, March 01, 2004

happy leap day!

Happy Leap Day everyone! The first time since I was a tender, innocent 19 year old that the orbital ballet gifted us with an extra twenty four hours to the year. The weather was the warmest of the year, birds were singing, squirrels nutting, and the melodic popping of conservatives' aneurysms over gay marriage brightened the day.

Not wanting to miss this wonderful gift from the universe, I hid myself in dreamland until midday but woke to find the hangover fairy was still sitting next to the bed with his polka-dotted scone-mallet. (Gay marriage I'm fine with -- some of the couples registering out in San Fran have already been together for 50 years. But the fairy mallet and my noggin made a most uncivil union). The rest of the day was spent with the incomprehensively expensive Sunday edition of the New York Times ($4.50), a few litres of orange juice, Lonely Planet: Tokyo, and singing along with the badgers. (Thanks Kaz for the link. Wishing all the best for you and Bec, and hoping for a safe and healthy arrival of Ms You Know Who!)

Correction: Lunch is of course right, 2000 was a leap year, its all those other end-of-century years that aren't leap years. Gosh darned 365.24219 day "tropical" year. Do you think this is proof of a lack of intelligent design in the universe? Or perhaps just an intelligent design passing down the universe assembly line at 4.47pm on a Friday?