Too Much Work

I missed a couple of Saturdays’ blog entries due to too much work and not enough energy left to write for the blog. People are too busy these days. I would very much like to know what life was like before TV and Internet, when you had nothing but a newspaper to read. Also working life has become too busy with global telephone conferences where the lucky Europeans get away with having the conference during midday, but the poor East Asians have to sacrifice their evenings and the poor North Americans their early mornings.
In private life there are too many distractions and also too many obligations “to keep in touch” thanks to the modern forms of communication at our disposal.

Then I hear about a sad case of a co-worker and that puts the busy and hectic business life into perspective again and that reduces its importance and the amount of emotions invested. My colleague has two sons and the older one has a mental health problem. He is 17 but has not attended school for the past year. He dropped out of high school after the first year and has not returned to school since. I don’t know what kind of mental health problem he has, but if he was and is unable to attend any form of schooling for a year, it must be bad. Compulsory education is until the age of 16, so luckily he made that, but all in all the kid’s future looks quite bleak, since he is missing some very important years of his education. One can only hope that he gets back on track soon and finds the energy to resume learning. Even if he does not return to school, he will have to learn some trade to support himself one day. I cannot imagine what it’s like for the parents to see their kid struggle so much.
Things like that put life into perspective again and make the personal bit of stress smaller.

Especially, since in a week from now I will be on the southern hemisphere of our one and only planet because it’ll be “golden week” in Japan (an accumulation of holidays) and I booked a week of getaway to New Caledonia. I will report about my island adventures as usual 😉

Bored by Sarcasm

I am not sure whether this is a German specialty or whether it is more universal, but since I am encountering mostly Germans who practice sarcasm and irony, let me presume it is a feature mostly to be found in that species, and let me add, mostly in German males. Maybe it also comes so much to my attention, because, while irony and sarcasm does of course exist in Japan, it is however rarely used and certainly not for “sport”.
Among an astonishing number of German males whom I’m encountering in business life, sarcasm and irony are a very popular form of expression. Some guys use it in every bloody sentence. It gets immensely on my nerves. While a bit of spice in form of sarcasm does have the capacity to lighten things up; it, dears sirs, used in every sentence, becomes a nuisance and is annoying, useless and tiring.
I seriously wonder why some German males are so attracted to sarcasm. Do they think it makes them sound cool? Apparently. Is it a kind of pissing contest? Do they want to impress me? Dudes, it ain’t working, just leave out the damned sarcasm and have normal conversations with people. If you use irony, do so sparingly and strategically, then it might be funny and interesting. Otherwise, just shut up, please…

Dumb and Dumber

I suppose there are studies and papers being done on the topic by whatsoever professionals, but I don’t care, I just want to state my opinion. It is my firm belief that the number of dumb, uneducated, idiotic people in the “first” world has neither significantly increased or decreased over the past ten or twenty years. Trouble is, twenty years ago, idiots didn’t have a big platform at their disposal to voice their opinions.
If, for example, a flat earth idiocy existed twenty years ago, the educated part of the world did not know too much about it, because all the members of the club of morons could do, was maybe print leaflets and leave them at their local Mac Donald’s.
Nowadays, unfortunately, these idiots do have a global platform and that is social media, which reaches millions and millions… While social media are a great way to connect people from all over the world, unfortunately they also connect the idiots from all over the world and give them a stage. I don’t know what the cure for that could be, since in most cases, idiocy is unfortunately a quite incurable disease. I shall try my best to ignore them and shall try my best to not let them disturb my questionable and endangered peace. Cheers!

70,000 Tons of Metal – Part 4

Last Day of the 70,000 Tons of Metal 2018
The way back to Florida saw better and hotter weather than the way to the Grand Turk and after the infamous belly flop contest (which is great fun) I hit the pool myself, if without belly flopping 😉 I also watched parts of the gig for Leaves Eyes from one of the hot tubs. Watching live heavy metal from a Jacuzzi is quite a unique experience 😉

The highlights of the day were the Dark Tranquility and Sabaton gigs in the Alhambra. Mikael Stanne got familiar with the crowd again, the sound was pretty damn good and I thoroughly enjoyed the gig from the first row. Getting some water, revoked my space in the first row and I had to retreat to the very edge of the stage but that also had the advantage to avoid the constant flow of crowd surfers for Sabaton 😉


I rushed back to my room to pack my suitcase, then hurried to catch the rest of Kreator and the announcement of the skipper (the inventor/organizer) of the 70,000 tons of metal. I thought the skipper would make his announcement at the end of the Kreator gig but he did the announcement rather in the last quarter and I missed the beginning of it. I got that much that we broke the previous record and he said that there were people from 75 nations on board 🙂 Our next goal 2019 will again be Haiti, which was a bit of a disappointment to me. I like to go to new places and apart from that they don’t let you out of the Royal Caribbean leased compound and you actually get to see nothing of the real Haiti. We will again be sailing on the Independence of the Seas next year. But the skipper also said that for the year after, there would be a surprise. Since it will be the 10th anniversary of the 70,000 tons of metal, I have the hunch that we might get a bigger boat. It can’t get much bigger but there apparently is the “quantum” class of Royal Caribbean’s ships, which is even bigger than the “freedom” class to which the Independence belongs. Well, we’ll see what happens. If possible I will be back on the boat next year as well, since it’s a bloody awesome thing to have a heavy metal festival on a luxury cruise ship 😉


The last gig of Alestorm was great fun too and we destroyed the duck! At least the air left the beast 😉 Alestorm was a great way to end the cruise. The night was extremely short, since we arrived early in Florida and I was off the ship at around eight in the morning and back in the hotel at ten. They let me into a room at noon which was very decent of them and instead of going to a shopping mall, I preferred to get some shut-eye. Departure happened early the next day and I was up at four in the morning to catch the bus to the airport at five.
Getting to Florida is quite a pain from Japan, but the trip is worth it! Fingers crossed that I will make it onto the lovely boat also in 2019! 😉

70,000 Tons of Metal 2018 – Part 3

A Day at the Grand Turk Island
When we went to Haiti in 2017, we were confined to the patch of land that Royal Caribbean has leased there. To my great pleasure, on the Grand Turk island though, we got to see the real thing. First of all, the island is tiny! There are apparently some 3000 people living there.


I left the boat at around ten in the morning and wandered up and down the amazing beach next to the ship for a bit before resting from the super intense sun at a beach bar.

Then I had booked what Royal Caribbean calls an excursion. In my case a bus tour in an open bus/jeep around the island. It was sold as one of the excursions where members of a band attend and in our case it was the band Wolfchant, folk metal from Germany. However, there were three buses and no band member was on mine 😉
Our local driver and guide drove us around the island explaining things and we saw the entirety of the Grand Turk island within two hours. That’s it, the island is that small. It’s highest elevation is lower than the ship, making the ship the biggest and tallest structure on the island as long as it is there.

In colonial times the main industry of the island was the production of salt from artificial sea water basins. Those are now abandoned and apart from fishing, the only industry on the island is tourism. It is a British protectorate. I’ve been on plenty of islands, but I’ve never seen an ocean so blue and turquoise as on the Grand Turk. The ocean was absolutely amazing.

The island was hit heavily by two of the hurricanes of the 2017 hurricane season and about half of the roofs of the island were still under repair, some houses looked abandoned. It’s hard to imagine what this paradise looks like during a hurricane and I’m almost surprised the island is still there! It’s so flat and small! Amazing that it emerged from the waves again…

At the end of the tour I happily did some souvenir shopping, with the thought in mind to support the locals.
Back on the boat, the gigs stared again at 17:00, our departure time. I wandered around deck twelve mostly filming the island, the incredible ocean and our departure while Germany’s Apokalyptischen Reiter were playing on the pool deck.


A few miles out I spotted some dolphins who were playing with the draft of the ship and were wildly jumping around. Heavy metal dolphins! 😉
Music wise the highlight of that day was my second discovery, again melodic death metal from Finland, a rather new band called Wolfheart. I shall check them out soon!

70,000 Tons of Metal 2018 – Part 2

Day 1 and 2 of 70,000 Tons of Metal
A first highlight of the gigs for me was the Finnish band Insomnium, a melodic death metal act, which seems to be my preferred heavy metal sub genre at the moment 😉 Their gig in the ice rink was especially nice because for one song Mikael Stanne from Dark Tranquility came to support them. An awesome gig and the band is one of my two “discoveries” from the cruise. I shall check out their stuff in more detail once I’m back home. Trash giants Kreator were a must and I watched them from a safe distance in the Alhambra filming a nice “wall of death”, difficult to achieve in the Alhambra 😉

A word about the stages. There is the pool deck, which only operates from day two onwards and is being constructed in record time. It’s built over two pools on deck eleven and as soon as the boat arrives from its previous voyage, the pool is drained and the work crew constructs the beast within some 24 hours. The Alhambra is the in-built theater of the boat. The ice rink is quickly covered and the smallest stage is the pyramid lounge, the boat’s biggest bar on a normal cruise.
The boat leaves at 17:00 on a Thursday, sails the entirety of Friday and arrives at the destination port on Saturday morning.

Friday is a super busy day, the pool deck stage is ready for action and there are also all “meet and greet” sessions on that day. I was up and about from around 9:00, chasing from one gig to the other and I squeezed four meet and greets into the schedule. The first one wasn’t planned, but after seeing Alestorm on the pool deck in the morning in the first row, I decided to get my banana duck t-shirt signed 😉 for the other three target bands I had brought album booklets, Dark Tranquility, Sabaton and Primal Fear. I also like the meet and greets because you get to chat with the people waiting in line around you. We broke a record again this year with 75 nations on board!

While the Sabaton guys seemed a bit stressed by all the attention and the crew allowed pictures with only three people at a time, the other bands were more “personal” and you got to take pictures with them on your own, nicely provided by 70,000 tons staff.
The gig highlights of the day were Sabaton on the pool deck, followed by Dark Tranquility on the pool deck as well. I managed to get my favorite first row both times, if at the edge of the stage. One downer was that it was raining quite heavily during the Sabaton gig, but thankfully the rain stopped for Dark Tranquility. I had seen Dark Tranquility twice before, once at Japan’s Loud Park and once at Finland’s Nummirock. Both times the stages were far away from the audience. It also depends on the festival rules I suppose, but neither time did Mikael Stanne jump off stage into the audience. He did so happily at 70,000 tons and was singing right in front of us bathing in the crowd and helping out with the crowd surfers. Wow! What a day, all meet and greets done and first rows for three of the gigs. 🙂

70,000 Tons of Metal 2018 – Part 1

After having been on the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise for the first time in 2017 and having thoroughly enjoyed it, I decided to do this again and off I went to Florida once more. After a long but uneventful flight to Dallas and Fort Lauderdale, I arrived at the airport at about 14:00 local time and phoned my hotel asking for the complementary shuttle bus to pick me up. The hotel… last year I stayed at the Ramada Airport and Cruise port Fort Lauderdale and had wanted to book it again. When I went on booking dot com, something saying Ramada came up and the photo looked like the entrance of the Ramada I know and I booked it last year. Then, in January, I had to fill in the ESTA to get into the US and they ask for your address in the US and I noticed something was odd. The hotel I had booked said Ramada Plaza something. Uh? Wasn’t it supposed to say something about airport and cruise? I went back on booking dot com and realized I had booked the wrong hotel! The Plaza something is far away from the airport and everything else… Luckily I managed to change the booking. But, two of my friends from last year made the same mistake! They ended up having to go to the other Ramada and had to pay 50 USD with an Uber and 120 USD with a taxi to bloody get there! Uah! I’m damn lucky that I noticed something was wrong about the name of the hotel.

Trying to stay awake a bit, I hung out with other metal heads at the bar in the garden of the hotel, nicely getting in the mood 🙂
After a jet lagged night, off we went to the boat! What a pleasant sight to see the Independence of the Seas again towering over the Port of the Everglades 🙂
Last year the boat came in late apparently and they made us wait in the big waiting area of the cruise port, but this year it was a smooth going on board and after the check in and photo we could wander on board just like that. The staterooms (I still don’t know why they are not called cabins) were not ready yet, so everyone met at the Windjammer cafe.

It felt like home coming, really. Last year, I was overwhelmed by the size of the ship and gaping at everything and exploring everything, this time it was like, yeah, back on the boat! Everything is still there, the car on the promenade, the ice cream dispenser on the pool deck ;-).

After lunch in the Windjammer, they let us into our rooms by 13:00 and luggage could be dumped. At 16:00 we had the security drill and then off to the stern of the boat. First time around I did not find the access to the stern on the first day and witnessed our leaving from deck 12, this time, I knew the way and headed straight to the stern at deck 4 and watched out departure. I just love that sound of the mighty horn blowing signaling that the big, fat boat is leaving harbor!


The departure was at 17:00 and at 17:00 also the first band was supposed to play and it was Primal Fear who had the honor to open the musical part of the 70,000 tons of metal 2018. Primal Fear happens to be an old favorite of mine and after we left port I rushed to the venue. Luckily they were running a bit late and I arrived just in time for Primal Fear to start 🙂 here we go!

Things You Can’t Buy with Money

I have many passions: writing, heavy metal music, movies, traveling, to name the most important ones. There are some smaller passions too like riding my bicycle, playing the piano, chocolate, a tiny bit of gardening and so forth.
At work I do not talk about writing and my books, but since I’m a talkative person, I am making no secret out of being a big heavy metal fan and traveling around the world for concerts and festivals. Thus I am talking about Wacken and 70,000 tons of metal when I go for lunch with colleagues, or I tell one of the colleagues who already knows that I’m a metal head enthusiastically on the way home that Amon Amarth is coming to Japan again for the first time in four years (and I missed them four years ago). The lady’s comment struck me quite a bit as she said, “ah, I wish I had a passion like you”.
Uh!
My sister and I are calling it the “fan gene” and I am sure I have made a blog entry about this topic in the past as well, but who cares. I honestly feel sad for people who do not have a “fan gene” or a passion that makes their blood boil. It is ridiculously important to have your blood boil in a positive way from time to time! It releases stress, it keeps your mind healthy and sane! When you look forward like a little kid to getting on the boat again (70,000 tons of metal in five days, baby) despite being over forty, that is goddamn necessary and I kid you not, a key to happiness. When you look forward to seeing another country, another island, going on an adventure, you can take on more stuff with a smile on your face. If you have no passions like that, man, how dull must life be.
But the thing is, if you don’t have the “fan gene” you simply don’t have it, you can’t force it, either you love it or you don’t. Learning to love something is in my humble opinion only possible to a limited extent.
The passion can cost a lot of money, but the experience you get out of it is priceless and I regret nothing. Do what you wanna do, as long as you can do it, before old age, illness, or crazy politicians put an end to the fun.
I shall meet another 4000 people or so who think the same way in a couple of days if the planes don’t crash or the doomsday clock doesn’t advance to midnight.
Cheers! And in the picture – that’s my gear for the coming week 😉

Amami Oshima Report – Part 3 – Fishing Villages and Habu Snakes

On the first of January I made a bicycle day again and had a lovely time on a very fine day riding around and going critter photo hunting on the beach. I came across numerous starfish and sea urchins. The full moon for New Year also gave a wonderful display over the ocean that night.


On the second of January I thought I had to appreciate the full size of the island and rode with two busses (one had to change busses in Naze) to the southern end of Amami, a town called Koniya. The entire ride took two hours one way. One guy from the hotel said, oh in the past it took even longer to get there because there were no tunnels yet. Indeed there are several new looking tunnels close to the southern end, the longest of them 4200 meters. In nearly every corner that has decent access to the sea there is a fishing village comprised out of twenty, thirty houses, even inland there are several villages like that mostly to farm citrus fruits. Koniya turned out to be a super sleepy place, all very Showa-era. The beaches and landscape are utterly beautiful but the towns are fishing and not tourist towns, since they are too far away from the airport and in the north of the island. Closer to the airport are as beautiful beaches and landscape as well. It was interesting to see the difference of the tourist side of the island, the north, and the working side of the island far from the airport. From my island study point of view (looking for the perfect island to retire to) it was an important trip to make this bus ride to the south.

On my last half day before flying back to Tokyo and Yokohama I borrowed a bicycle again and discovered also a sleepy fishing village in the north before spending some more time at my favorite beach on the Pacific side.
One of the hotel staff was bringing me by free shuttle to the airport and we were chatting during the ride. He was in his thirties, was born on Amami but lived in Tokyo for ten years and now he returned. Somehow the conversation came back to the Habu snakes. He said that if you catch a Habu and bring it to a pharmacy they give you 3000 yen for it. Especially kids are making a sport out of Habu hunting/catching. In the past you got 5000 yen for one snake, but that resulted in too many caught snakes, so they reduced the price money! When he was a kid a Habu entered the bed room of his parents and his dad killed the beast! Kya! Last but not least he personally knows only of one guy who got his leg amputated because a snake bit him and that was an elderly man back when he was a kid. I still don’t know how to kill a Habu 😉 Personal Habu sightings during my trip? Zero 😉


It was a lovely trip to Amami and the next target is already fixed too, Tokonoshima south of Amami, between Amami and Okinawa, which is much smaller and apparently more of a “real” tourist island. Let’s see when I’ll be able to get there, not for golden week this year, that’s already booked for a bigger and more exotic island, New Caledonia 😉

Amami Oshima Report – Part 2 – Ferns and Habu Snakes

On the second day the weather was unfortunately not so nice with rain showers and strong winds which made it colder, so I was glad I booked a little tour to the so called Kinsakubara Forrest, a “virgin” Forrest that has not been once laid to waste by human hands or so they say. The forest is in the middle of the island and you are not allowed to go there by rent-a-car but are supposed to book a tour with a guide. The tour was three hours long and in the afternoon, so I rode by bus to the main town of Amami called Naze (a Japanese play on words, with different kanji (Chinese characters) it means “why” in Japanese) to explore the town in the morning. The date happened to be the 31st of December. Most shops in Naze had already closed for the New Year holidays but even if they were open the main shopping arcade of Naze made a rather sad and quiet impression on me. I found a cafe/restaurant which was very much what I like to call the Showa flair. The Showa era ended in 1989 and the cafe as well as the whole rest of the town made a seventies impression on me.

Then on to the tour which titled itself an eco tour. The guide was a bit odd, a guy in his fifties who kept on telling us how dangerous habu snakes are and went a bit ballistic on me when I asked, “come on are there really so many around here?” He snapped it was not a question of how many, I wouldn’t ask if there were bears around how many there are either (uh? I would). He pointed out sticks in bamboo holders by the side of the roads every few meters which are for killing habu and snapped, you also don’t ask how to kill the habus, you just kill them. Weird dude! I definitely need to know how I’m supposed to kill a snake with nothing but a stick! Strange guy, maybe he was tired of the question or of naive foreigners? Nevertheless, after windy and lonely mountain roads, we arrived at the rain Forrest and took a walk down a fairly wide and well maintained path (so much for the “virgin” forest. The main attraction of the area are giant fern trees which evoke a bit of a Jurassic Park flair and are very pretty indeed.



It started raining heavily during the walk and I was glad for an umbrella borrowed from the hotel in anticipation of more rain. All in all it was a very nice trip though despite rain and a weird guide.
Another story about the snakes. When the island was returned to Japan after WW2 in the 1950ties, they made a massive settling drive and tried to do something about the snakes (their bite is highly poisonous, that’s why there is so much fuss) and they introduced mongoose for a while. Trouble is those eat everything, not only snakes, but also the local black rabbit. The guide guy said that at its peak there were probably ten thousand mongoose on the island, then they started killing them again and are now trying to get rid of them entirely. The guide said ten years ago one could be lucky to see one rabbit per night tour (they are night active animals) now luckily there are some twenty rabbits again per tour. I find it funny he pulled out all those numbers but none about the habu 😉

Amami Oshima Report – Part 1 – Beaches

A Happy New Year 2018 everyone! May the Force be with us… somehow.
My search for the perfect Japanese island continues 🙂 Let me recap, my search started in 2011 and so far I have visited seven island (groups) and Amami is the eighth.
Amami Oshima (Oshima simply means big island) is actually the seventh largest island of Japan. Here is the ranking: Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, Okinawa (main island), Sado (in the Sea of Japan and too cold and thus not so interesting for me ;-))and number seven is Amami Oshima (big island).
Amami has a circumference of after all 460 km, which is quite large. Yet only 61,000 people live there spread over six main settlements with the biggest “Naze”, having most of the population. The island lies between Kyushu and Okinawa and is a part of Kagoshima prefecture. It enjoys far less popularity as Okinawa, which, in my opinion is good for the island, because that makes it a fairly quiet place.

Since I had never been there before (and I’m not in the habit of making plans beforehand, I book a flight and a hotel and see what happens when I get there) I took a hotel I didn’t know where and flew to Amami airport. My hotel turned out to be a bit in the middle of nowhere but as usual that has advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantage was that it was not easy to get around without a car, the advantage was it was two minutes from a very lovely beach.

My first day on the island I spent bicycling with a very rusty and very basic bicycle that I rented from the hotel for free. Since it had zero gears, I had to push it up every little hill and there are many hills on Amami. 😉 I rode happily for some twenty kilometers in total nevertheless (which is a lot for me) and it was one fine day with sunshine and some clouds but no rain and lovely 17 or something Celsius. Perfect bicycle weather actually. I rode through very lonely hills with views to the sea every few meters, the East China Sea as well as the Pacific.

The best beach was at the Pacific side with magnificent views down the cost. The East China Sea side has many fjords and bays while the Pacific side is more of a straight line. Both views were utterly beautiful. A great escape from the hectic and too many people of the Kanto plain.

7040

I’m not watching a lot of Japanese TV but once in a while I watch news and the program “Close up 現代” = “close up on the present”, which describes mostly Japanese society issues or latest trends. Recently they had a program about the “lost 40ties”: people who are now in their forties and who have “failed” to find the famed “regular employment”, meaning life time employment contracts. A sub-category of those people are those who never had a regular job, and who stayed with their parents for whatever reason. The parents of these people in their 40ties are now in their 70ties – hence the number 7040. The parents are now in their pension age and it’s also the age where more and more cases of nursing those elderly happen.

They had a lady from Hokkaido in the program who is now 44. She never married, only did some odd jobs in her 20ties and 30ties, and lived with her parents. Now, being 44, she doesn’t find odd jobs so easily anymore and her 73 year old father is sick. The 67 year old mother and the 44 year old daughter care for him and live off his pension. The daughter held her personal bank account book into the camera – there were 9138 yen on it, which is the equivalent of around 80 Euro… wow…
Medical care is good in Japan, her parents might yet live another ten years, even the nursing case of her father, but eventually the lady will stand there with nothing. Parents dead, pension gone, never had a decent job, too old for odd jobs. Not enough time at the moment to learn something decent or to get into a more permanent job because she has to care for her ailing parents. What a sad life and what bleak prospects.

I’m annoyed about the parents. They should have thrown her out in her 20ties and urged her to get a decent job so that she can fend for herself, husband or not. It’s the responsibility of the parents to throw their kids out of the nest. With their selfishness or lack of consequence, they have ruined their daughter’s life in the long run.
I hope she all those other cases of the “lost 40ties” will manage to get a – late – handle on their lives…

A Few Movie Reviews

Rather than writing critiques of movies everybody has seen recently, I’d like to pick out three, that have, I believe, not had a super-wide audience. In two cases quite rightly so, in one case a few more people should watch it.

Colossal
The positive one, at least in my opinion, is the quite bizarre “Colossal” with Ann Hathaway. She plays a good-for-nothing party-girl with a boyfriend in New York, who throws her out when he can’t stand her good-for-nothing life style anymore. Having no place to go to, she returns to her hometown into the now abandoned house of her former family and runs into a school times friend who offers her a job in his bar. But, when she walks across an old playground, strange things start to happen as 10,000 miles away, in Seoul, a huge monster appears, Gozdilla worthy and tramples things and people under its feet. What the heck? The monster is soon joined by a giant robot and they fight each other in the vein of Godzilla vs. Mozra for example. Uh? Turns out her school friend who has a fancy for her is the robot and she is the monster and there is something magical going on with the playground. The drama unfolds as he makes advances towards her which are unwanted and turns out to be an asshole and on battle the monster and the robot. Sounds bizarre? It is bizarre, but at least it’s not what you see every day and manages to hold your interest (at least mine). Watch it with some popcorn and be puzzled.

Chips
This is apparently based on some 80ties TV series and it’s about bike cops in L.A. and there is nothing special about it, except that one of the main characters who is an ex-professional biker gone cop, is such a wreck physically as well as character wise, it had some entertaining moments. Since I’ve never even heard about the TV series it is based upon, I cannot make any judgements in that department and have zero nostalgia about the piece. Nevertheless I was kinda wondering who the hell gave the producers money to make this movie? If you are into bikes and snotty cops, watch it with a ton of chips and beer, otherwise, no need to bother.

Life
This is a lesser known European science fiction movie and let me call it “Alien” on the ISS. Some probe has brought the first extraterrestrial life form onto the ISS to study it there. I forgot whether the life form comes from an asteroid or Mars, but it does not matter anyway. In essence – the life form evolves and destroys the ISS, kills its crew and is smart enough to infiltrate the only life pod that makes it to Earth and will now happily contaminate our lovely planet. Sounds familiar? It’s Alien retold only set in the near future or present day rather than the far future. While the life form was nicely animated and looked creepy, it was not as creepy as H.R. Giger’s Alien. It had the same traits as the Alien, an aggressive predator without a mind/conscience. The parallels to Alien were exhausting. Here again, why invest tons of money in a movie like that? Why did nobody object to making this movie due to the total lack of new ideas and the parallels to Alien? Luckily I did not spend money on it, watched it on a plane…

Got Out

I was quite moved this week by the videos of the North Korean soldier who escaped to the South. How his car broke down, how he fled on foot only meters in front of other soldiers shooting at him. Whatever news reach us around this guy is of course to be handled with caution now – fake news, ne… but let’s assume it’s the truth that the guy joined the army at 17 as he says. I think none of us can imagine what kind of life he has led so far. They did not only pull bullets out of him (he got hit five times) but also worms from his intestines due to malnutrition etc.

The daring escape looked like from a movie and uh… how much courage it takes to do a thing like that. Once his truck broke down, it was all or nothing of course and it was surely better for him to get shot and killed than the prospect of capture. There are unconfirmed news bits now that the soldiers chasing him were all replaced… one has to wonder what will become of those poor chaps. One can also only hope that the escaped guy, Mr. Oh, if that’s really his name, had no family, since if so, they will suffer for his escape.
I wonder just how many years or decades it will yet take until the North Korean people are free of that regime. But one thing is for sure, the madness of a certain Agent Orange is NOT helping to improve the situation.

I hope for Mr. Oh that he will recover and find some peace and a better life in the South after his dramatic escape. But even more than that I dearly hope that the creatures sitting at the buttons of weapons of mass destruction will keep their fucking fingers to themselves…

Basic Instincts

Last week I wrote a “neutral” report about the contents of the Tokyo Motor Show, today though I’d like to explain, why I would never ever pay for a Tokyo Motor Show ticket by myself and go there voluntarily.
While there are of course many people going to car shows because of the vehicles, there is also a tribe of (male) people who don’t give a rats ass about cars, but who go there with the sole purpose of taking photos of pretty young women in short skirts.
These people are male, ugly, many of them are a bit older, and I find it simply disgusting to see these drooling farts eagerly shooting pictures of pretty women with huge, fat, expensive, compensating for something cameras.

There is a lot of talk at the moment, finally, about hordes of men in the show business and elsewhere abusing women sexually. You don’t have to look at Hollywood for that, it’s everywhere.
I stood at the booth of my company for only one afternoon and I’ve seen enough. There was a dude, ugly, in his fifties, slimy, drooling, fat camera, who was talking to one of the miniskirt girls with her laughing embarrassed. I am very glad they were too far away for me to hear what they were talking about…
Another creature, same description as above, but a different guy, tried to “get in contact” with one of the girls by having printed out a still he had shot of her… Yet another creature, same description, different guy, printed out the girls’ names (dunno where he got them from) and gave them attributes: Sexy XX, beautiful YY, sultry ZZ. Then he made them pose for him holding up their big lettered printouts……. I could have vomited.

As long as the human society is tolerating such behavior, as long as car show producers work with sexy girls, as long as we pay women for doing such things, there will be sexual harassment. For the women at car shows it’s of course easily earned money and some of them looked like they were truly enjoying the attention, teasing and playing with the drooling creatures. But the thought of what these creatures do with the photos, the thought of one or the other of them masturbating onto print outs for example… Humans are still ruled by instincts and we are not too far away from our animal brethren…
And now I need a drink.