Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Something everyone can enjoy

Basically, I've moved on a bit from my high-minded notions of improving public safety in Osaka. Whilst still working on that theme, I'm now aiming to become a millionaire by producing simple images that people can download and use as background wallpaper on their mobile phones.

Here's another example:

image by Dan

(For those interested, I'm nicking the basic images from The Highway Code.)


Public safety part II

image by Dan

Sunday, January 29, 2006


Making Osaka a safer place

I got this idea last night while I was riding to Gamble's birthday party. More to follow.

image by Dan

Friday, January 27, 2006



A young lawyer in the grip of a compulsive shopping addiction spent €4,000 (£2,745) in less than two hours at a motorway service station in Italy.
Police take compulsive shopper to hospital
The Guardian, Thursday January 26, 2006

That's 568,746 Japanese yen by my calculations. Inspired by this tortured soul's battle with her inner demons, I took a notepad and a piece of paper to my local convenience store to try and compile a shopping list that would put her in the shade.

Coincidentally, today's choice Japanese phrase is buzamana makekata o suru, meaning "to suffer a humiliating defeat." I was in the shop for 15 minutes and I realised I had no chance of getting anywhere near this woman's standard. Even with the new Shigatsu no yuki DVD and the premium biscuit selection from behind the counter, I was struggling to break 10,000 yen.

I guess the point of this story is that it takes a motorway service station to show us the true darkness that lies in a human heart.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Jiro jiro minaide kudasai, or: the day Dan dropped the F-bomb

I dislike working in room 6. First of all, it's very cramped. Secondly, the window behind the students opens up onto the top floor of Vivre, where all the scumbag schoolkids hang out when they're done rendering their teacher's lives futile for the day. The only concession to privacy room 6 affords is that the lower half of the window is frosted, meaning that should someone want to peer into a class, they would have to come right up to the window in order to do so.

And what should happen the other day but exactly this? I was facing the window, my two students across the desk from me glowering at their textbooks, attempting to break down the communication barrier by a sheer effort of will. Suddenly, a loathsome, Bon Jovi-esque hairstyle appeared over the frosted portion of the glass, followed by the vacuous face of some wannabe-gangster schoolboy. He scanned the goings-on on the desk with an expression of childlike wonder, then his eyes rose and met mine. I retrieved the situation as only Dan can:

"Yeah, mate-- fuck off."

His eyes widened in alarm and he disappeared. My joy at having vanquished this hair-dye serpent from my linguistic Garden of Eden was tempered only by the ashen-faced horror with which my two students were now regarding me across the desk, oblivious to the presence of the erstwhile voyeur.

It could only have been more perfect had my manager been sitting in room 7.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


America's least gifted

Chicago resident Veronique Armour, 22, was stopped early Friday as she drove in the wrong lane on a city street. While a police officer was removing Armour's 1995 Honda Civic hatchback from the street, she somehow escaped the handcuffs and drove away in the officer's cruiser, said police spokeswoman Joann Taylor.

Armour was caught a few minutes later in a parking lot about a mile away, police said.

In addition to charges of driving under the influence and related traffic violations, Armour faces charges of possessing a stolen vehicle and escaping from police.
Drunk-driving suspect flees in police car
Reuters.com Mon Jan 23, 2006


Saturday, January 21, 2006


Stupid bloody whale

Fears were growing for a whale which swam upstream in the Thames today, reaching central London after losing its way in the North Sea.
Whale stranded in Thames
The Grauniad, Friday January 20, 2006

"It'll probably choke to death on shopping trolleys and dead babies," claimed Andy.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006


The political correctness of a five-year old

In fairness, she could be anywhere between four and six, but this made me smile: as we were mucking about with some flashcards, my student (her name's Tomo, for those who care about these details) suddenly froze, scrutinising me intensely.

Her words were as follows:
Hana taka.
Nani jin?
Chugoku jin?
Your nose is large.
Where are you from?

Can't fault the logic. What slays me is that she's the brainy one in the class.


Yeah, Vietnam...

This image is dedicated to anyone who's had their village blown up this week.

There will be some genuine photos of my holiday available shortly. The above occurred to me while I was sitting in the hostel in Hanoi.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Give me strength

"Yeah, you should check this out dude- apparently, it's like this big concert that's held all over the world and all the proceeds go to charity to help starving people in Africa."

The pricking of my thumbs warned me that I was in the presence of grave stupidity. "Are you talking about Live Aid?" I asked.

Mike leaned over the bar and checked the cover. "It would appear so," he conceded.

Words seldom fail me and neither did they on this occasion. I let fly.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


This guitar kills fascists

Wandering around the Ho Chi Minh museum in Hanoi, I was reminded of the above slogan on Woody Guthrie's guitar. Reason: all the arty exhibits had notes explaining their significance and forestalling any erroneous interpretation.

Example (roughly paraphrased): "this exhibit celebrates the benefits of technology, whilst condemning those who use technological advances for harmful or destructive purposes." Quite fortunate that they were prepared to tell us this, as it wasn't immediately apparent to me. The same goes for the fascist-slaying guitar.

So, just in case the true significance of this page passed you by...

This blog celebrates freedom and diversity of opinion, but it also knows shit when it sees it.


Those damn shady Canucks

A Vancouver woman pleaded guilty on Thursday to poisoning several trees that border the city's downtown Stanley Park to improve the view of the ocean from her condominium.

June Matheson admitted she purchase herbicide in the United States and applied it to five trees in the spring of 2004 in an effort kill them. Three trees later died, according to a court document.

A witness told police that Matheson, a well known interior designer, had complained that the city-owned trees, which ranged in height between 25 and 45 feet, had grown too tall and she wanted to "get rid of them."

Prosecutors said Matheson may have felt an improved view of nearby English Bay would increase the value of her condo, which she sold in October 2004 for nearly C$1.7 million ($1.5 million), and called her actions "selfish in the extreme".

Matheson, 72, agreed last month to pay C$50,000 to the city to replace the dead trees and help plant others in Stanley Park, which is one of Canada's most famous urban parks. Local media reported she was given an absolute discharge by the court following the guilty plea.

Ocean view -- as soon as the poison works
Reuters, Fri Jan 6, 2006

As is often the case with Reuters articles, I did a little more research to see what else I could unearth about this dastardly affair...

Mr. Donaldson told the court Ms. Matheson had to sell her home shortly after being charged, because people were throwing rocks, eggs and even bags they used to clean up after their dogs at her apartment balcony.

"My 70-something client is now the object, truly, of feces and abuse," he said.

-from The Globe and Mail

Feces (sic) and abuse? Well, that's just too darned bad.



The horror, the horror

[He] regarded the paper as if it were a window-pane through which he saw for miles. His lips twitched, and he seemed to compress his frame, as if to bear better. His usual habit was not to consider whether destiny were hard upon him or not--the shape of his ideals in cases of affliction being simply a moody "I am to suffer, I perceive." "This much scourging, then, it is for me." But now through his passionate head there stormed this thought-- that the blasting disclosure was what he had deserved.
Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Always with the answers

What would you call, like, a guy who goes up to a girl in a club and he's, like, all over her, y'know, and he's like "I love you, you're amazing, etc," then, when she flips him off, he starts doing, like, exactly the same thing with the girl next to her, even though she's, like, RIGHT THERE?

I thought about this for a second.

I call him Andy, I said.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


2006 AD

Happy New Year folks!

Started 2006 in Vietnam, goodness knows where I'm going to finish it, but I intend to litter the interim 365 days with broken hearts and charred corpses. How's that for a resolution?

Watch and learn, kiddies.

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