michael lambe's scrapbook

little irish jackhammer

  • Hello. I hope you all had a lovely Easter with lots of eggy goodness. Today a delightful young chap from NTT came round and reconnected me to the interwomb with a nice new fibre-optic umbilical. I feel whole again. Lots of things have been going on. I’ve moved to a new place with mostly good aspects (spacious! convenient! 10 minutes from work!), and one slight drawback (the teeniness of the kitchen). I’ve had my bank account raided and emptied by Mr Tsujii of the National Health insurance bureaucracy (which was a wee bit scary till I actually went to see him and he was quite reasonable in his own way and everything turned out nice again…). I’ve started a new job where I have to bow to the school at the gates when I’m leaving and entering (which perversley I kind of like) and everyone gets their own computer (wow!) and the students are shy but very nice… I’ve attended a couple of entertaining hanami parties (pictures latertoo tired now). I’ve watched the Doctor Who Easter special “Planet of the Dead” and thoroughly enjoyed it and think they should have brought that Bionic Eastenders lass on fulltime (but I expect her fee is in direct proportion to her levels of hottyness and so they can’t afford her). And last night I went to see Donal Lunny at TakuTaku with Mewby and Ted Taylor. If you don’t know who Donal Lunny is – go away. I expect Ted will be blogging about the show later as he was taking notes last night (did he find a better word than thwack I wonder?) but I’m going to add my two-pennyworth anyway. Here’s my review:

    It was really good. Why weren’t you there?

    Now I want to make my brother-in-law jealous with the picture below. I also put a nice video up on Deep Kyoto here. Here’s the picture

    (left to right: Miu Takahashi, Ted Axl Taylor, Donal Lunny and Michael Lambe).imgp0555

    Many thanks to Mr. Lunny for taking a moment from the endless signage to have his picture taken with a bunch of strangers (such a nice man!), thanks to Miu for the lend of the camera (such a nice girl!), and thanks to Ted for the beer (he’s quite nice too).

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  • Hmmm. I watched the Battlestar Galactica two-hour finale today and hmmm…. Well, that was a great show and it had a good finish but still… After wondering for so long just how they were going to wrap everything up and explain away so much that was seemingly inexplicable, it came as a little bit disappointing that they didn’t bother and just left lots of questions unanswered and all mysterious and such… Still no question that it was a superb show.

    But what was going on with All Along the Watchtower?

    Well, I’ve found my own way out of here. After 5 good years in this apartment – I’m finally moving. Tomorrow in fact. And from tomorrow I will have no internet. For a month (apparently). Not sure how I will manage, addicted as I am to my morning boingboing and my internet TV… (perhaps I’ll read a book!) It does mean though, that I probably won’t be posting here for a while. So, for the time being the comments are off. I can’t be dealing with all the spam I get. If you need me mail me here: luain37@yahoo.co.jp. Deep Kyoto will be maintained during the interim. But I expect I’ll be too busy with my new job teaching (gasp!) boys to be bothered with anything else.

    Oh, and I saw my first cherry tree in bloom tonight, floating all white and ghostlike over a silent little park. Spring has arrived and it’s time for changes. See you in a month and I hope the season treats you well.

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  • Last night the guys I teach in Osaka took me to a magic bar called Vernon’s where you can be entertained by a magician at your table. The main magician at the bar was a TV celebrity known as ムッシュ・ピエール or Monsieur Pierr whose shtick is that he pretends to be French and says tres bien every time he completes a trick. He had us completely wrapped around his finger. Some of the tricks he was doing last night you can see in the following video but the video doesn’t really do him justice. When somebody performs this level of sleight of hand right under your nose it’s pretty impressive.  Anyway, I recommend Vernon’s Bar if you’re in Osaka. A very good evening’s entertainment.

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  • I’ve watched this show avidly since it started three years ago. It’s hokey and silly, a whole lot of fun and I love it and after yesterday’s show I love it even more. Because of this:

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  • Birthday Cake

    …How did that happen? Well, having celebrated more than plenty on Friday night, I opted for a quiet night in on the day itself. “Let’s stop in with a DVD” says I, “Something light and fluffy. Nothing too heavy. A romantic comedy perhaps…” But instead I ended up watching “Reign Over Me” which is a movie about friendship, and about loss and it does have a lot of light humour in it but also what you might call a deep sea of sadness. I recommend it. Don Cheadle is always good but Adam Sandler’s performance was outstanding. Rent it! Here’s the trailer:

    [kml_flashembed movie="http://uk.youtube.com/v/sRiqz_WnYxc" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

    That was a really good movie. The chocolate cake and champagne I had after was nice too… AND・・・Thanks very much to my sister Sheila for the You Must Celebrate! Dalek birthday card. That made me laugh out loud! Oh, and I just watched the last episode of Doctor Who tonight (glad to see that I’m not alone in that), and I’m glad (yet sad) at how all those loose ends got tied up. Davros was supramegalomaniacally excellent. The bit with Rose choked me up. Donna’s exit from the show did my head in totally… I’m glad David Tennant is still the Doctor. And I’m gutted there won’t be a full series next year… Saturday’s just aren’t the same without him, eh? I’ll definitely be home with the family for the Xmas Special.

    Here are a couple of pictures from Nakano-kun’s second Takoyaki party last Wednesday, that I haven’t had a chance to post till now. Below are left to right: Miyazaki-san, China-san, Miyabe-san, some daft git in glasses and Nakano-kun.

    Takoyaki

    And here is the same bunch but with Yamamoto-san on the far left. We had a good time!

    Takoyaki 2

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  • Here’s a nice story I spotted on Japan Probe today: Elementary schoolers watch whalemeat processing.

    Clutching a notebook and a pencil, Yuna and her classmates occupied the front row of the crowd Wednesday, bending forward to watch a 10-metre (33-foot) animal — the town’s first catch of the three-month season — be dismembered.

    “Look! That’s her heart!” Yuna said to her friends with her face half covered by her hand. “Oh no, so much blood is gushing out.” LINK

    Which totally reminded me of this old strip from the Perry Bible Fellowship: The Golden Ticket.

    I went to see Indiana Jones at the weekend. “I’ll probably cry at the end – it being the last one.” I joked, just before going in. And then right at the end, as the stirring strains of the Indiana Jones theme started up for the last time and Harrison Ford seized his hat from “Junior”‘s hands before striding out the church, and because you know there is, and can only be, one Indy Jones to wear that hat or crack that whip, I felt little pin-pricks of moisture spring to my eyes and trickle down my cheeks. I enjoyed the movie (although it did have some incredibly silly moments). I don’t think it’s as good as the earlier Indiana Jones movies but it’s still a good addition to the series and I enjoyed it.

    Then last night I was watching the penultimate Doctor Who of this series and it does look an awful lot like the Doctor is regenerating. But then, there’s no word on the net (nothing I can find anyway) about David Tennant quitting or anyone else taking over the role so… is he? A shame if Tennant does quit, because he’s a good Doctor. That and as the last two Doctors have been really good, I’m afraid the next one will be a Colin Baker type or even worse… a Sylvester McCoy. Eek. By the way, never watch Doctor Who just before going to sleep. I had the Doctor and Indiana Jones running through some very vivid dreams last night and woke up completely exhausted this morning.

    Here’s the latest song from Michael Franti. Not one of his best but still Michael Franti, so who cares?

    [kml_flashembed movie="http://uk.youtube.com/v/eV5W4Lov5Iw" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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  • There’s a fresh post up on Deep Kyoto tonight of Nest; a wan-chan cafe for dogs and dog-walkers.

    The big news for Doctor Who nerds is that Russell T. Davies is stepping down from the helm and handing over the reigns of power to Steven Moffat. A wise move as pretty much everything Steven Moffat writes for the series seems to win some kind of major prize or award (scares the crap out of the kiddies too). LINK

    I’ve been watching the current series over the last few weeks and I am very happy with it. Since the demise of Eccleston’s 9th Doctor, the writing has been quite patchy, but with the exception of last week’s episode it has all been top-notch; they’ve brought back UNIT, travelled to distant planets and ancient Pompei, reaquainted us with the Sontarans (old enemies from the classic series)… and Catherine Tate as Donna Noble has (surprisingly) proven to be an excellent companion, bringing the Doctor right down to earth (so to speak). However, last week’s episode seemed a bit crowded to me. We had Agatha Christie and a real murder mystery for the Doctor to solve – did we really need a giant (and rather silly) wasp from a far distant galaxy to be the perpetrator? Regardless, I remain a loyal Doctor Who otaku and shall watch Mr. Moffat’s next scripted episode in one week’s time with eagerness and glee (and possibly a bottle of sweet summery ramune). LINK TO TRAILER.

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  • tv-links.co.uk disappeared a couple of days ago and I was assuming it would be right back up soon but then I read this and I’m gutted. I’d just got started on Season 2 of Battlestar Galactica. How else am I going to watch it out here in Japan? Darn.

    Looks like I’ll have to go back to Japanese variety shows and figure out what all this “どんだけ” hullabaloo is about.

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  • Up on Deep Kyoto today, a fresh posting on the famous folky peacenik cafe Honyarado.

    My old friend Simon Blackwell wrote to tell me that there’s a book of scripts out for The Thick of It, the political sitcom he co-writes, and thus he is listed as an author on Amazon for the first time – ever. And about time too! Simon tells me it’s “an ideal Christmas gift for any relatives who love swearing”. Now I was trying to find a nice funny clip on youtube with no swearing on it and I found quite a lot of funny ones but they all had lots of swearing. So no embedding I’m afraid. You’ll just have to click here for a very funny (very sweary) clip. Or watch some episodes up here. Or order your book of scripts for Rude Aunty May over here.

    Enough links for ya?

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  • I was reading today, about the last surviving veteran of the WWI trenches, the magnificently named Harry Patch, and I was thinking that this remarkable man, at 109, and having all those memories that no-one else living has, he must be feeling pretty lonely. And here’s the thing, he never spoke about the war until he reached a 100 years of age. He’s in a nursing home now and the light coming on in the room opposite his bedroom was what made him break his silence.

    If I was half asleep – the light coming on was the flash of a bomb. That flash brought it all back. For eighty years I’ve never watched a war film, I never spoke of it, not to my wife. For six years, I’ve been here [in the nursing home]. Six years it’s been nothing but World War One.

    Harsh.
    War, he says, is a “calculated and condoned slaughter of human beings”.

    It wasn’t worth it. No war is worth it. No war is worth the loss of a couple of lives let alone thousands. T’isn’t worth it … the First World War, if you boil it down, what was it? Nothing but a family row. That’s what caused it.

    Which reminded me of a little history lesson from Edmund Blackadder:

    [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/V4TKTRV4HM0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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