Monday, February 23, 2009

On a Wave of Indignation

Another 20 hours of flying, another James Lee Burke book down the hatch, and I've found myself in Australia.

I had a brief layover in Singapore. It was just long enough to have some toast with delicious, delicious kaya butter from toast box (now at the airport), and buy a jar full of candied ginger for the remainder of my flight.

Let me just say right now that four christmases is the worst piece of filth ever to be committed to film. It somehow made my flight seem longer than it actually was. We got in (after a pretty hairy landing into Perth) at around 3 AM. I woke up the next morning and found this little bronze statue of Bon Scott down the street from the hotel. It was really quite small. I'm not sure if the town was cutting corners or not, but he appeared to be about 3/4s full size for absolutely no reason at all. Most people wander up to it and say 'wow, he really was a little guy.' I prefer my idols larger than life, and feel that Bon Scott should always be remembered as being 11 feet tall.

Staring down a few days off in Australia, when the temperature hovers in the high 90's, we did the most reasonable thing we could think to do, which was buy a case of local Creatures beer, and then make it cold. This is Jesse, shortly after proudly announcing that he worked in a bar for 11 years, and was not opposed to hauling a case of beer the half mile or so back to the hotel in the blazing sun dressed head to toe in black.

On our second full day off I took the ferry out to Rottnest Island. It was a nice ride, if a little hot, that threaded through a number of large freighters anchored off the shore.

The island itself was amazing. It was automobile free, and the beaches were untouched. I did a little snorkeling, and just plain floating in the ocean when the heat got to be unbearable. I got stung by a small jellyfish shortly after remarking to myself how interesting and peaceful it looked.

Locals see it as a lesser Galapagos where tons of species of birds thrive, including some giant pelicans that looked like they were raised on a diet of pork fat and clam chowder bread bowls.

It was also the only spot where these little Quokkas live. They are a cross between a large rat and a small kangaroo, and may very well have been born of an ancient carnal encounter between the two. They have long tails, pouches, wee beady eyes, and really do not care about much of anything at all.

They have no known predators on the island, so are able to flourish there. Were there anything larger than a roll of nickels that wanted to do one of these little guys harm then they would no doubt be extinct within days. In fact, local Western Australian adolescents are often prone to what is known as 'Quokka Soccer' which, as you could imagine, sounds a lot more charming when spoken in a local accent, but nonetheless involves kicking one of these little rats around on a beach.

They sure do make a decent oven mitt though.

On our third day in Perth we all had a pretty wild night at a local bachelor pad that is fairly beyond description. I didn't take any photos, and kind of wish that I had. Actually I have been relegated to the iphone camera for the last week, and it makes everything look like it's taken from inside a fish bowl. Oh well. Awwwwwstralia.

Give Up

The tale of one intrepid Australian and a black magic marker.

By the old walls

Kurt Vonnegut smiles down on Osaka.

Given an afternoon off, a few of us took the train out to Kyoto. It was a bit of a stretch navigating the underground. The Tokyo subway system is a cinch, but Osaka is slightly more confusing, and once you venture out of the city the little bits of English get increasingly less common. We worked it out though, and it was completely worthwhile.

I had been out to Kyoto a few years before. I remember it being very traditional, and very old. This time around we hit the covered food market. I strolled through and grabbed handfuls of pickled things, and maybe a few cups of eyeballs. These things happen.

We had some amazing dinner, and sat by the river and shared some sake, then hiked up through the temples and shrines of the old city. It was a moment so far removed from the chaos of traveling, and traveling in a group, and traveling in a group of miscreants that gets a little tedious from time to time. It really was an excellent trip. I was toying with a new camera for most of it as well. If anything the pictures look a little bit dreamier than the actual place, but I'm not complaining.

The show was in Shinsaibashi with all of it's crazy american shops and sad, sad robot lamp posts.

And the Japanese Obama-mania continues.

I spotted this, and instantly wanted to translate Robert John's lyrics back into their original English, just for kicks. I don't think our interpreter was interested in any more of my nonsense at all. After five straight days of me asking how to say 'give the gorilla a megaphone' and 'where do all the high school girls hang out?' in Japanese she was about to snap.

I think this might trump my Glen Danzig Halloween costume idea from last year, but only if it comes with a restraining order.

Really Japan? Curved escalators? Now you're just showing off. I want an elevator that goes sideways.

the time I made 'pong' with lights

No one thought it was funny.

it just never gets any easier