*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Sunday 27 May 2012


The things you learn after you have spent a few thousand dollars on a sport.  When it comes to any of the sports I know anything about, now, I try to stop my friends spending money until I've found out what they want from the sport.  You always buy the wrong stuff without advice: through ignorance, over-ambition, or getting 'up-sold'.

What I did not need is much of what is on my road bike.  It is a lovely bike, but suited for other purposes than mine.  The main thing bothering me at present is the relatively wide 'q-factor'.
It's also called 'tread'.  The picture shows it clearly: the width your feet will be.  There's a lot of argument about what is optimal, but many people prefer narrow rather than wide.  I am among them.  My fixed gear, having just one chainring, is about 150mm, but my triple-ring road bike is more like 165.  I do feel the difference, especially in my right foot.  I did some more measurement and found that the drive-side of the crank (right) is 5mm offset.  That's fucked up.

Nobody needs a triple, but I did not know that when I bought it.  What people need is a double that fits their range.  A double has less 'q-factor', and I imagine, less drive-side offset.  Almost all road bikes are far over-geared for anyone but a 'king of the mountains'.  If you are buying a stock bike with a 'compact double' crank it is over-geared, and there are only two ways to solve this:
- the cheaper way is a massive cassette on the back
- the expensive way is a new double crank, and likely the bottom bracket to fit it
There are only two double cranks I know with the right chainrings: 30/46, or 48.  White Industries VBC, or the Velo Orange ones.  That's going to be your own money and build up.  I'll be doing the cheap or expensive option (VBC) on my next road bike.

But the road bike is going to be used for just another year regularly and left in Japan for riding the few summers I come back.  I need a 'ghetto-fix'.  First thing I did is move the cleat on my right shoe so that I pedal with no more than 2mm clearance; the left shoe has more like 5mm.  I am going to look to find a bottom bracket (Phil Wood?) that is 3mm thinner on the drive-side.  My small chainring should just clear the chainstay still.  'TLAR'!

Saturday 26 May 2012

The Michael Bryant defence?

So now when you kill a cyclist in Toronto, you use the Michael Bryant defence: I get to kill because the cyclist endangers me so much, in my two tonnes of steel?
What a load of shit.

Thursday 24 May 2012

Québec est vraiment une 'société distincte'!

The demonstrations in the street in Montréal have made American news.  Here's the crib-sheet:
- started as protest against tuition increases
- did not have the support of most in Québec since tuition is quite low, and some of the student antics were juvenile
- the Premier of the province brought in a law against concealing one's face on the street (not police, of course)
- N.American Francophones understand the 'security state' and the nature of 'security theater' a lot better than the Anglophones do
And just how is it a 'distinct society'?  It is the only part of Canada:
- that is not American
- votes on social policy, not 'wedge issues'
- has any urban charm
- keeps Canada from better health and lifestyle outcomes than the idiot nation to the south ('idiot nation', not every individual)

There are many more links about the news in Montreal.

Update: fucking pigs 'kettled' the demonstrators.  The purpose of kettling, and the nuisance charges lain on that won't stand up in court, but gain the demonstrators a night in jail, is to take away the right of peaceful assembly.  The correct response is to come out in numbers the police cannot deal with.  Montreal may (please!); Toronto rolled over.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Finding posts

Yeah, I am running out of ideas.  I feel like I keep needing to feed the beast, but:
- I don't know what you people want
- ideas run in fits and starts
- I am always short of time with a wife and an infant who deserve more of mine
- I don't have a consistent schtick

I think the latter is the obvious problem.  Help me out here.  Which posts of mine are memorable to you?

Thursday 17 May 2012

How to read Japan news.

'Japan news', not 'Japanese news'.  I have edited for length and added comments in [square brackets].  A tragedy inaccurately reported by 'sins of omission'.

Hotel where fire killed seven not up to code

HIROSHIMA — Despite failing inspections for decades, no changes were ever made at the hotel where a fire killed seven on Sunday [due to no penalties/pay-offs/no follow-up - choose one], the city of Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture, admitted Tuesday... But after checking records and related legal provisions [they realized they could not cover their asses], the city now says structural changes to the hotel put it in violation of the law as early as 1987...

Meanwhile, the Hiroshima Prefectural Police have identified the seven killed, including four Chinese residents of the prefecture [this is a 'love hotel' so that means they were yakuza, or 'snakehead' run prostitutes for 'delivery health'], and three others seriously injured. However, their identities have not been released to protect their privacy [avoid yakuza reprisals, or because someone was in the hotel they are covering up for], as the Hotel Prince was a love hotel.

It went through a major renovation in 1974 [but none since - 'love hotels' are a dying business, as are all cities but Tokyo]... The woman who ran the hotel reportedly told city officials she couldn't afford to make recommended changes to the facility [she's now fucked, because the yakuza money behind her won't take the fall - on the other hand no claims may be filed by injured parties, who have something to hide, much less the deceased foreign prostitutes, who nobody in Japan gives a shit about]. Local real estate sources said the owner had apparently mulled selling the hotel [she should have burned it without people in it!]...
According to investigators, the windows of the rooms were covered with plywood [typical Japanese 'love hotel' 'privacy' architecture]...

Wednesday 9 May 2012

A 'fuck-off Japan' day

I needed a new monthly train pass.  So I took a moment in the morning, went to the machine at my work station, and tried to buy it.  Could not do it at the gate to either subway line.  Not allowed is the message, with no explanation.  Fuck-off Japan.  At least the machines have an international language (English) button.  I figure that the twats insist I renew my pass where I bought it: my home station.  Japan has a, well founded, reputation for institutional rigidity...

So when I get to my home station, I try again.  Well, it works, to a point.  I had a bunch of 500y coins which I wanted to use, but it only accepted two.  The rest rolled out.  Fuck-off Japan.  I did not have other cash to make up the difference.  What kind of martinet little fuck programs the machine to accept a limited amount of small change?  A Japanese one, that's what.

A JR martinet little fuck.  I can renew my pass at a JR station, but not a subway or private line station, even though the subway is one of the two segments on my monthly pass, because you have to renew Suica monthly passes at a JR station.  Fuck-off Japan.  They don't want to deal with 'small change' worth $5.50 US but they will run their trains at 200% capacity at off-peak, and 400% at rush hour.  Fuck-off Japan.  I count capacity by seats, not cubic meters to stuff full of body parts.  Your train lines still lose money at that capacity?  Fuck-off Japan.

Now I have to give my wife the coins to burden her wallet, and take her lighter 1000y notes, for your convenience.  Fuck-off Japan.  It's not like you, JR, have done anything for her: enforce the women-only cars so she didn't have to be assaulted in JHS and HS, or the seating for pregnant women when she was.  Fuck-off Japan.  Or, I don't know, do anything about your hiring for women either (I'd rather be train-stuffed by a J-babe than some drone with a prostate problem).  Fuck-off Japan. 

I am getting tired of the rigidity here:
- just one way to do each greeting for each strata in each situation.  Fuck-off Japan.
- Japanese puns by Gaijin cannot be funny: they must be the authorized version by Kansai hacks.  Fuck-off Japan. 
- when you compliment my child, you cannot help referring to only the foreign 'race' of one parent.  Fuck-off Japan.
- your oyaji won't take a train seat beside me, but I took a morning shower and they smell like shitFuck-off Japan.
- 'Japan has four seasons.'  WrongFuck-off Japan.
- 'When you go hiking you can have onigiri.'  The fuck?  Why would you want to eat cold rice?  And who's stopping you going to the conbini to get some?  Fuck-off Japan.
- sunrise on mountaintopsFuck-off Japan.
- 'Japanese has no swear words.'  糞食らえ!
- Idiotic home constructionFuck-off Japan.
- getting the yakuza to build your nuclear reactors on the ocean in a siesmic zone.  Fuck-off Japan.

Yeah, Canada sucks too, but today I am in Japan, and Japan can fuck off.

Tuesday 8 May 2012

The Jungle

You need all of this stuff to get through the summer in Japan.  I won't make those of you who've suffered a summer here read why, but for the 'noobs' you'd better read all of the links in this sentence.  You notice that odd smell when you arrive in a humid E. Asian country?  It's the jungle: too many things microscopic and larger living, breeding and dying, all at the same time.  My Toronto nose can only accept the smell of a few things doing that at any one time: not every microorganism the WHO tracks.

Yeah, Japanese live close to nature, because they haven't improved on their housing since they borrowed tatami from the Chinese Tang Dynasty.  If you have a choice of apartments, take the one without tatami, get a bed and sleep off the floor.  That's how you keep your mattress from mildew and ticks, not by hanging it outside in the smog. My fucking native-wife!  She opens all the windows to let in 'fresh air' in Tokyo.  That would be the same 'fresh air' that makes this concrete city look so:

A better idea is to figure out the dehumidifying function on your air-conditioner.  That might even help you have dry clothes in rainy-season, instead of hanging them for the month in vain hope.

Tuesday 1 May 2012

'Shock and Awe'

On my way out of a convenience store in Tokyo's Shitamachi I passed by an apprentice rikishi in geta and yukata.  This is Tokyo.  I don't know which of us was gawking more, or covering it better.  Blazé.

It just goes to show how I describe this town: 'if you're bored in Toronto, you've spent a full day there; if you're bored in Tokyo, kill yourself.'  Tokyo can wear you down.  It will certainly wear you out.  Escaping out of country, or to the sea or mountains domestically, is an essential survival strategy; however, if you're so enervated that Tokyo bores you, there's nowhere on Earth that will cure your ennui.  Top yourself.  No, don't top yourself, please.  Make changes in your life: last choice is see a shrink for pills.

That's not me, or him, in the picture.  I grow a poor beard, but am taller and more handsome, needless to say.  That shirt...