There is a liquor store that I frequent regularly. My tastes are wide and eclectic. One day I’ll buy a national brand sixer of beer. The other I’m looking at the selection of 18 year-old Scotch. And through these experiences, over the past year, I’ve noticed a curious trend. If a single bottle of whatever is in my purchase retails for over fifty dollars, I will be, without fail, referred to as “sir” and “gentleman” from the moment I put the bottle into my hand, showing my intent to purchase it, through to the moment I walk outside the store. Sometimes even just looking at the “top shelf” stuff is enough to elicit a response from either the staff or even other customers.
The response of other customers is the embarrassing. Not embarrassment for myself or the other customers, but for the society we live in. It’s typically a man who clearly is a blue-collar worker wearing jeans and tough workboots, sometimes covered in stains of paint and chemicals. People who do what I feel is the most important, underrated work there is. They create and help maintain the places we work and live in; where we spend most of our lives. And on the rare occasion I’m looking at the $50-a-bottle and up shelf while they look at the bottom shelf, because for some fucked up reason their jobs aren’t valued or paid as highly as they should be, they will make some kind of comment as if they are embarrassed they can’t buy the “rich stuff”. It immediately reminds me of how fucked up some of society’s values are.
But if I walk into this same liquor store only to buy a six-pack of beer, I’m now called “buddy” or “pal” or, especially if I have a “cheap” sixer of something like Budweiser, it’s nothing at all. There is no “sir” or “gentleman” even though I am dressed in exactly the same cheap, low-level white-collar clothes I usually wear. It isn’t the clothes they see. It’s the booze in my hand.
And it’s not just the staff, it’s also the customers. With a sixer of Bud strangers will have no problems striking up conversations about whatever is going on in the world. Somehow a sixer of Bud in the hand is disarming or inviting. Something more “high-brow” like a micro-brew or more expensive national brand and there’s a small, but noticeable pause before someone approaches me to strike up a conversation. That $60 bottle of Glenfiddich, however, is like a gaudy crown. People are hesitant to to even look in my direction. Only after I smile and nod after our eyes meet do they “dare” start talking to me.
It’s fucked up how this sense caste seems to spread far beyond the superficial things most commonly highlighted like what car you drive, how attractive your significant other is, or what title might come with your business card (if you even have one). It’s deeply rooted in our (American) society and that shit has got to stop. But some asshole with a blog isn’t going to fix that, or even offer a solution (except to do away with all forms of measuring wealth, fucking socialists). I’ll just point it out, bitch, and think “yeah, I’ve done my civic duty for this quarter” and go back to my low-level, white-collar job where once every couple of months I can spend some money on an extra special bottle of tipple.
Curiously, strangers never strike up a conversation with me in any way when I’m looking at wine. Only beer or hard alcohol. Wine of any sort doesn’t seem to have any effect in this regard. Whether it’s a $100 bottle or a $10 bottle nobody not the staff or the customers show any difference (until the clerk rings it up anyways). So maybe I should stick to wine if I (naively) want to avoid being reminded that caste exists and people feel unequal to others.
Pro-tip: we’re all the same. we all shit. and all our shit stinks. even girls. seriously.
DJ Danny Avila does an hour-long show on Wednesdays on Electric Area called Ready To Jump. I happened to catch the tail end this past Wednesday and heard a track that really started getting into. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at the time, but it reminded me of something from my childhood. I had to find this track. Unfortunately SiriusXM doesn’t tell you the track that’s playing during the show, just the name of the show and the twitter account of the DJ running it, so I was a bit stuck. Then I found the shows are posted online on SoundCloud, YouTube, and iTunes. Lucky for me iTunes is updated as soon as the show airs, instead of a week later like the others. So I grabbed the show (#61) and, lucky for me, the mp4 from iTunes includes chapter breaks with the name of each track. A few minutes later and I’d found the song I was looking for. I give you “Nostalgibra” by Spag Heddy:
But what is that tugging from deep within my memories. Something about this song…
Gremlins! It somehow reminds me of the Gremlins theme, specifically of a point in the movie where the gremlins are singing along to the theme. Of course they don’t sound alike at all. I think it’s the higher-pitch synth tones where my mind is making the connection, along with the emotional tone of the music which feels, to me at least, as being somewhat mischievous.
Who cares. Point is, Spag Heddy makes some fine music and you should enjoy it.
Ah, Japan. Never change.
A post in celebration that we’re still here. If I may, I’d like to direct your attention to this Team Gaki blog post in which you will find information on how you can watch this past New Years Eve 24-hour batsu game, fully translated. Team Gaki did a great job getting this thing finished in just two months. That is an insane timeline, half what it would normally take.
So what is this batsu game all about?
Like all 24 hour batsu games, the 5 members of Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende spend 24 hours in some crazy scenario during which they must not laugh. If at any point they do laugh they are punished (“batsu” in Japanese). Punishment typically comes in the form of a masked individual hitting them in the ass with a heavy foam bat. This year’s scenario was that they would be members of the Earth Defense Force, a team dedicated to protecting the planet from alien invaders.
Their costumes and several of the pranks pulled on the cast were inspired by an old Japanese sci-fi monster series called Ultraman. A few of the pranks really stood out and created some of the funniest moments of any of the batsu games such as the producers showing the uncanny similarities between Hamada and a couple Ultraman monsters, a touching, but painful letter from some of the cast’s children to their fathers, and a couple ruthless pranks setup early in the show with huge payoffs towards the end. Rather than spell them out here and spoil them, you’ll need to just trust me on this and head into it blind. It’s a 5-hour long show, so you’ll need to clear out a 5 hour block of your day or, perhaps the more sane choice, break it down into hourly segments. It’ll be worth the time.
It’s a little late, but humor me. I have one hell of a scary story.
Your computer is infected with a virus. But there’s no way to prove it’s infected. You just notice little things. It won’t boot off a CD anymore. Certain web sites won’t load on your computer. Yet those same web sites, those same CDs, work on other computers just fine.
But soon the rest of your computers start to experience these same symptoms. You isolate them. Pull them off the internet. Physically remove the wired and wireless network cards. Then you run some diagnostics and see, somehow, it’s still talking over some phantom network that it can’t possibly connect to. What else is there? The speakers? The microphone? And when you physically remove them … that network activity stops?!
You figure out how they’re getting infected. It’s the USB sticks you use to transfer files. Stop using the USB sticks. Flash the BIOS. Reformat the hard drives. Reinstall the OS. All OK, right? WRONG! It’s still there.
And here’s the kicker: one is a Linux box. The other is a Mac OS box. Another is a Windows box. Different operating systems. All infected. HOW?!
This horror tale is one told by a security expert. One who has the credentials and the reputation to believe he’s not making this up. This is the story of BadBIOS.
Is this all really possible? And why waste what would be the most sophisticated virus ever seen on a single individual and not sell it, or use it on extremely high-value targets like banks or governments?
Continued on the inside…
Yet another example of why Japan amuses me: hot canned ginger ale. The products they produce have such wonderful, probably unintentional, whimsy that you can’t help but smile. Now I shal attempt to recreate this with a can of ginger ale and a stove. I’ll let you know how that turns out.
The company (and most of the people) behind the Myst series of games have a kickstarter going to fund a new game called Obduction which will be similar in style to Myst, but set in a different world. And it’ll be powered by the amazing Unreal 4 engine. Shit just got real. The possibilities are endless and this fucker needs to get funded. I continue to debate with myself whether I should continue saving to buy a house or dump it all on this.
You’re gonna carry that weight.
There’s an Indiegogo campaign happening right now that you should know about.
Iranian Legend: The Iron Sheik Story will be a documentary about the Iron Sheik who, for fuck’s sake, if you don’t know who he is you’re missing out. In the 1960s he was an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling for Iran. In the 1970s and 1980s he was a legendary professional wrestler. Today he has one of the craziest Twitter feeds there is.
But years of drug addiction and the wear and tear of wrestling 300+ days a year for more than a decade have taken their toll. He’s in need of surgery to fix his knees and the money from his professional career is long gone. Part of the money raised to create this documentary will go towards paying for his surgery and rehabilitation.
Check it out. Toss in a few bucks. Help Bubba out.
In the Kiki series each cast member is given a food or drink item to sample while blindfolded. They must then sample a number of similar items and correctly identify the one they were given while blindfolded. Get it right and the cast member wins 100,000 yen (about US$1,000). Get it wrong and they receive a batsu (punishment), typically involving getting hit over the head with something.
In this episode they’re tasting Ponzu, a citrus-based sauce typically used for dipping.
Sabine Pearlman has a collection of photos of cross-sections of different cartridges. That’s cartridge not bullet. A bullet is the projectile — the bit that leaves the gun, while the cartridge is everything put together (bullet, gunpowder, primer, case, etc.). If you want to see more then let Google be your guide.
While we’re talking about these things, let’s quickly dispel a little 80s Hollywood myth: the teflon-coated bullet. The myth has it that coating bullets in teflon should turn a normal bullet into an armor-piercing bullet. The reality is to pierce armor a bullet needs to be made of a very hard material and move at a very high velocity. Teflon does play a role in this, but not the way it’s portrayed in movies. The harder bullets induce more wear on gun barrels. A coating of teflon helps reduce that wear. Thus many armor-piercing bullets come wrapped in a bit of teflon. In the early 80s the news media focused on the teflon, misrepresenting its role in the penetration capabilities of these bullets. A few action movies later and the myth was firmly set into movie culture.
J-BUROGU has translated a second episode of Oogirishi Night from he Japanese television variety show God Tongue. God Tongue airs after midnight and, as a result, can get away with airing more adult-themed shows that usually edge on the border of perverse for the first thirty seconds, then fire the jet engines and blast well beyond that border into the aether.
In Oogirishi Night a panel of comedians are given a topic and need to come up with a response that is both perverse and funny, but not so perverse as to cross the boundary into which the joke is no longer funny.