When I am taking visitors out and they start on the whole tired “Tokyo is like Blade Runner, without the flying cars” thing, I usually just nod and take them to Shinjuku Nishiguchi… Making our way toward Sakuraya and its floors upon floors of useless electronic gadgetry, before taking a sharp turn into the insanely narrow backward recesses of 思い出横町 (Omoide Yokochou: Memory Lane).

Impossible not to experience at least some level of self-sufficient ‘bet-they-don’t-mention-this-in-lonely-planet’ pride when you walk through that über-authentic remnant of post-war Tokyo, trying to catch your breath amidst the carcinogenic fumes of kushiyaki barbecues and slaloming between drunk salarymen and people sitting at the street-side stalls in an alley that is barely big enough to walk with your arms outstretched.

I used to read MeFi every once in a while, the same way as I used to read Slashdot a long time ago…

This particular thread is a perfect illustration of why I stopped reading both. In one or the other, you could sum up every single thread thusly:

  1. Random guy posts unsupported statement, presenting it as news accompanied by dubious piece of media and trolling comment, then leaves never to be heard again on the thread.
  2. Dozens of people pick up the thing and take it at complete face value, post immediate emotional replies without ever questioning the information itself.
  3. A few hundred more share pathetically uninformed, yet strongly assertive, insights on a topic they had obviously never heard of until that day.
  4. Three people post interesting, thoughtful, carefully researched post explaining why the whole thread makes absolutely no sense and why most of the previous posters ought to read the news once in their life.
  5. Sensible posters get royally ignored, quickly give up in face of the ridiculously steep road that needs to be walked back to sanity.
  6. More ignorant posts pour in.
  7. Thread invariably degenerates into canonical Holy War for the remaining 3000 comments (most of which are only monosyllabic rebuttal to the previous ones, by then).

Mmmn, sounds familiar?

And yea, I know I am quite late on that train of world news, but it’s not like they’ve stopped killing each other in the meantime…

Picture xmas_lights.jpg What I learned today:

  1. Xmas lights are fun.
    OK: I knew that one already, but I mean, they are really fun… Actually, when they are done remodeling my loft in Manhattan, I’ll make sure I have them install a dozen of these sets I got for 1,000 yens at Don Qixote yesterday (don’, don’, don’, donkyyy ♪ don’ kyyy ♪ ho-hotayyyh ♪♪… ahem, sorry, can’t help it: months of conditioning will do that to you…)
  2. Blinking xmas lights are very fun
  3. Blinking xmas lights are very fun: for a while
  4. Decrypting the half baked japanese directions somewhat printed on the back of the cheap carton box to find out how to turn off the blinking is way less fun
  5. However tempting, the tacks that hold the lights to the wall are not to be affixed to the wall with the assistance of a hammer or any other bulky object. And we all know it is very tempting to handle a bulky wooden japanese mallet a few inches away from delicate, highly breakable, tiny capsules of glass.
  6. If you fail to follow previous advice and end up turning one of the aforementioned tiny capsules into a pinch of cheerfully colored powder, resist the urge to do the same on the rest of the garland, for the sole purpose of figuring how long it’d take you to get them all.
  7. If you accidentally get high (these things happen), never, ever, under any circumstances, start looking in the directions of the resulting lighting structure: people have died of starvation that way.

Don’t we all need some? (music to do drugs to, not drugs…)

Well, not me. I don’t do drugs.

But for all of you Acid Freaks and Speed Monkeys out there, tired of listening to the same old Grateful Dead record, or that drum’n’bass mix you traded for some weed in a smelly london basement circa 97-98.
I mean, that beat bores me to tears after the fourth measure, let alone a full track… So an hour of this stuff looped over for 5 years? Come on now, the drugs do not excuse everything. It’s time for a change.

For those whose lifestyle doesn’t involve sporting hoodies to go bang heads against concrete warehouse walls to repetitive music during 10 hours straight: there are many other reasons you might want to download this mix: annoying neighbour, small rodent infestation, wallpaper removal etc.

OK. If you are not into loud repetitive music, this might not really be your thing…

Do not hastily discard the merits of repetitive music… As Mr. Leary used to put it: yes, it is repetitive, but then again, so is sex.

Dr Dave’s MiniMix #9 (right-click here for download)

Picture spam_sandwich.jpg
UPDATED: 12/09/2004 15:46 JST From now on, please check the central Spam Karma page to get the latest updates and news on this plugin.

Yet another techy update for my fellow bloggers using WordPress.

Now that it’s reached version 1.4 and that most (all?) major bugs have been ironed out, I feel it’s time to introduce the latest member in the ever-expanding WordPress plugin family

Spam Karma is a mean critter that truly enjoys killing

In fact it is so mean that we had to keep it in a special military-grade containment unit on this server.

Genetically engineered in the dark recess of our Secret Spam Research Labs and trained through months of reflex conditioning and shock therapy, this thing, once unleashed on your comments, will only let go of its death grip after the last spam has been shredded to pieces.

We haven’t fed it for a week now, and it could smell spam miles away in its sleep.

But while a fierce and merciless spam killer, this plugin is also a perfect companion for your kids and friend’s comments. Only the unmistakable foul stench of spam will trigger its ire… while questionable, yet potentially legit, comments will always be given a chance to clear themselves before being irremediably disposed of.

If you are using WP Plugin Mgr, install is as easy as a click on the “Check Updates” button and a click on the “One-Click Install”… Yep, that’s all.
For those still stuck in the last century, a manual install archive is available here. Please, please, RTFM: it’s short, sweet and contains essential details.

Once installed, make sure you check at least once the Option screen (in wp-admin, click on Options >> Spam Karma).

I strongly recommend you check for updates (if you are using WPPM it will do it automatically for you) at least once a week so as to make sure you benefit from the latest bug fixes I might make.

Spam Karma v. 1.4 is now compatible with WordPress 1.2: however due to the lack of certain functions in WP 1.2 Plugin API, some of the features are missing (Option Page integration etc). It is fully enabled for use with any fairly recent release of WP alpha 1.3.

So, I thought I could keep it like that for a while: avoiding updates and ignoring my blog as much as possible. However I was just contacted by the Technorati Top 100 Blogger Consortium‘s lawyers, threatening to sue on the ground that I am currently infringing on the “blog” trademark by misleadingly labeling this pathetic excuse for a website as such.

According to their cease and desist letter, I am failing to qualify for the Blog©®™ appellation by not complying with Article 1 of the International Blogging Treaty which stipulates that:

Posting rate must be above 6 posts per day. Of which at least:

  • Two must contain pictures of the household pet (can be replaced by household baby or infant if pet unavailable).
  • One must discuss extensively local weather condition and give poorly supported previsions regarding upcoming season change.
  • Two must give a detailed recount of daily office job routine as well as minutiae of every meal ingested during day.
  • Three must contain more than 5 words (though a maximum of two monosyllabic entries is allowed).

International Blogging Treaty, article 1

The fact that I happened to comply with alinea 2 of Article 1, they added, was no excuse for the shortcomings of this site in the other areas: I had to rectify this situation or face the legal consequences.

Not one to be intimidated by such threats, I immediately contacted the dissident United Blogger Syndicate for advice. They assured me that the requirements enounced in Article 1 were absolutely not mandatory.