Below are the 25 most recent journal entries.
what is this? a journal entry?
I looked back over my previous journal entries and I think most of them are crap. But for the interested parties I am alive, emerging from yet another term with yet another armfull of cool stuff I've worked 48 hours a day over the last three months to produce. I'll be starting an internship soon, I'll be the game designer on my senior team game project, I'm reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces, I need to write an article detailing my chat with Lord British, and my girlfriend is extremely cool. That pretty much sums it up. Ah, and I'll be in Alabama for a week soon. Journal updated.
Mood: little dots over my head
30 years of Josh Black
OK, perhaps I drank a few too many bottles of Killian's Irish Red.
I am 30. A number.
I showed my 2D game tonight. Had such a steady stream of players that I couldn't check out other people's games. Two or three people said it was "addictive", which is generally the highest compliment you can get for a game.
OK, I sleep now.
Worked on the game until 2:30 am. Had a 9:30 class and set the alarm for 8:00. I dreamed I was over at the Chunn's apartment (oddly, the one in Mallet Hall). Dave and Cooper and a dark haired girl I knew, but I have no idea who she was, were there. The phone rings, Dave lets it ring for a while, then he picks it up and says there's no one on the line, so it must be a stalker. Then an alarm goes off and he rushes into the bedroom. He says somebody's broken in and he's doing martial arts stances as he looks around the room. He tells me to get the girls outside. The alarm's still going off.
I wake up at 9:15. Skipped the shower and breakfast and actually made it to class on time.
So I have two alarms, and I'm really impressed that my subconscious put them together into a single narrative theme. Clap clap.
Last night I dreamed that an old friend of mine who's in a certain intelligence agency motioned me into a room and told me he wanted to show me something. I get in there and there are two other black suit types sitting around a table. They start interviewing me, like a job interview-type thing, and I'm feeling pissed because my friend led me into this. Then one of the suits says, I don't remember exactly what, but it was like, "Arabs are scum." I stood up, walked over to him, bitch-slapped him, and walked out of the room.
This dream did not end there. Outside I overhear them saying that they're going to kill me because, ya know, nobody can away with doing shit like that. After this, days pass, I think (some hot blonde-haired girl appeared in this part of the dream, and the main plot went on hold for a bit). Later I see one of the spook guys trailing me on the street and I tell him that if they're going to kill me, do it now, because I don't want to look over my shoulder the rest of my life. The details after that are fuzzy but I think at one point I flipped off Condi Rice.
- Microsoft's Office suite of products cannot fucking talk to each other, let alone anything else on your PC.
- Photoshop anti-aliases EVERYTHING. Two colors cannot happily sit side by side, each in its own little world, oh no. They must blend. Everything must blend. Even that green you need to stay at 255. Nope, sorry, we're putting it at 254 and throwing just a little bit of red in there, but it's nothing you'll actually be able to see. Your software will see it though, rest assured.
- All commercial radio is crap. Even the Spanish Reggaetone station is starting to wear on me.
- I haven't updated this journal in something like one month. I'm a slacker.
- This all-natural ginger ale I'm drinking tastes exceptionally nasty, yet I can't stop drinking it.
I have started work on Irondust: Grems vs. Sidhe.
The title is likely to change.
I'm studying or in class or working on my project about 10 hours every day and putting in 6 hours on the weekends. Crazy part is that I have to remind myself to stop working. Right now I want to be writing my concept document, but it's almost bedtime and I need to practice tai chi before I sleep.
Correction: Only working 9:30 - 6:00 on Friday. The rest of the evening is dedicated to oiling the cogs of creativity with alcohol.
Last night I dreamed I was sitting around with a couple of my classmates listening to reggae. Then I realized I'd never heard the song, and I was dreaming, so I must have made up the song. Then I thought, I've got to remember this song. Of course when I woke up I forgot the dream for a while, and then it came back to me when I was in the shower. I can't really remember the music, and even if I did I couldn't write it out. The lyric I remember is:
you won't remember your government,
you won't remember armor,
you won't remember your weapons,
you won't remember religion.
"Armor" was sung like the Wailers sung things, with an extra syllable in there, like "ar-harm-ur." The "you won't remember" had the backup singers on it, then they echoed the next word while the lead played around with timing over it.
Now I'm going to draw rocks.
I just saw Howl's Moving Castle again. Fairy tales always make me feel lonely. I can be such a stupid romantic.
I should also mention that I watched it in the Angelika Theater, just around the bend, then walked back here past little shops and an idyllic fountain, and now I'm in my apartment with the window open listening to the water in the courtyard. My Texas apartment is nice. Tonight I'm going just south to Addison to see the fireworks. They're supposed to be big, this being Texas.
I haven't made it into Dallas proper yet. It's been too damn hot for midday tourism. I might foray tomorrow, but I may just savor my last day of freedom before school launches.
I will update eventually.
In the meantime, I give you this cross-stitch pattern.
I thought I'd do this while I still have time.
First best friend: Spencer Guthery.
First car: Dented red/orange diesal Chevy Luv pickup.
First date: The junior prom with Didi Reitzman. She was a cute girl. If she hadn't moved back to Memphis my senior year might've held more than the usual half-unrequited love for Emilie Johnson.
First real kiss: Aimee Turner at an FFA State Convention. She wanted to walk me to the elevator, but she was barefoot so I carried her part of the way. As the elevator arrived, BAM! Kiss. Two, actually.
First screen name: Nomad.
First self purchased CD: Eric Johnson's A Via Musicom. I still like "Forty-Mile Town".
First pets: Pepper the Wonderdog.
First piercing/tattoo: None. Thought about getting cherry blossoms on my back before leaving Japan, but it never happened.
First musician you remember hearing in your house: Same as Will - Kool & the Gang. We gone have a good time tonight, let's celebrate, it's all right.
Last cigarette: In The Donkey last fall with Michelle.
Last car ride: Relocating the raccoon I trapped for my Grandmother at 2 AM last night.
Last kiss: With Naoko, walking down the Ginza shopping arcade in Tokuyama.
Last good cry: The night after my Dad's funeral when my Grandmother had three heart attacks and I had to accept losing them both at the same time. Everybody said she wasn't going to make it to the next morning. A few days ago she felt sick and later told my brother, "That's the worst I've felt since that night I died three times."
Last library book checked out: Probably something about French film.
Last movie seen: Ghost World.
Last beverage drank: Can o' Sprite.
Last food consumed: Barbeque sandwich. In Alabama, the barbeque flows like wine.
Last crush: My thumb in the car door. Ouch.
Last phone call: From my Grandmother, to tell me that the raccoon was happily eating a can of tuna in the trap and promise me she wouldn't kill it with an icepick.
Last time showered: About 10 minutes before I started filling out this lumbering beast.
Last shoes worn: Those slip-on brown ones that I always wear.
Last cd played: Not MP3? Ween.
Last item bought: Halo II. Rented, actually, for purpose of pwning the city attourney.
Last annoyance: That I decided to fill out this thing.
Last disappointment: That I couldn't get the little cheap apartment and had to settle for the slightly bigger, definitely more expensive one.
Last shirt worn: That Wallace & Gromit one Cooper gave me.
Last website visited: Besides this one, Penny Arcade.
Last im: Leaving this one blank.
Last word you said: I really have no idea.
Last song you sang: Either Ween's "What Deaner Was Talking About" or Henri's Notion's "Great Selkie of Skule Skerry".
What color socks are you wearing? Not wearing any. My feet are cold.
What color of underwear are you wearing? Gray with white at the top.
What's under your bed? Boxes, one of which holds that BoneSoul shirt the Chunns wanted to see.
What time did you wake up today? Hmm...it wasn't too far after noon, I don't think.
Where do you want to go? Texas, to The Guildhall. Don't ask me to think more longterm than that.
What is your career going to be? Game designer.
Where are you going to live? Kyoto. San Francisco. In a houseboat in Amsterdam.
How many kids do you want? I like being an uncle.
What kind of car(s): Right now, a gas/electric hybrid, most likely the Honda Insight.
Current mood: Starting to get hungry.
Current music: Zazen Boys II, though the album is almost over.
Current taste: What the hell?
Current hair: According to Kame-san, "soft dread".
Current clothes: Black/grey short-sleeve shirt, jeans.
Current annoyance(s): That I'm still answering these questions and not putting on socks or eating.
Current desktop picture: A red maple and torii from a shrine near Osaka castle. (Note: Between the last question and this one, I put on socks and ate.)
Current book: From Jesus to Christianity by L. Michael White. So much churchin' around here that I felt it necessary to be informed about my own position.
Current color of toenails: Nothing unnatural.
Current hate: Republicans.
1. Nervous Habits? Twirling of hair.
2. Are you double jointed? So I've been told.
3. Can you roll your tongue? On command.
4. Can you raise one eyebrow at a time? Not like my man Leonard Nimoy.
5 Can you blow a spit bubble? Nasty.
6. Can you cross your eyes? This is getting old.
7. Tattoos? See previous tattoo question.
8. Piercings and where? No and up your ass.
9. Do you make your bed daily? Never saw the point of that.
-- CLOTHES --
10. Which shoe goes on first? Right.
11. Speaking of shoes, have you ever thrown one at anyone? Is this a real question? OK, probably my brother when I was three or so.
12. On the average, how much money do you carry in your wallet? $20 - $100, not counting traveler's checks and that 10,000 yen bill I still haven't exchanged.
13. What jewelry do you wear 24/7? Used to always wear a jade magatama, but after those two earthquakes and the typhoon I decided it was bad luck.
14. Favorite piece of clothing? For winter, that green corduroy jacket I got in King Coke. For summer, my red Zeon t-shit from Gundam's.
-- FOOD --
15. Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it? Twirler.
16. Have you ever eaten Spam? I hate that shit.
17. Favorite ice cream flavor? Macha.
18. How many cereals in your cabinet? It's not my cabinet yo.
19. What's your favorite beverage? Okinawan awamori.
20. What's your favorite restaurant? Ganesh in Tokuyama.
21. Do you cook? Enchiladas, quesadillas, and hamburgers. Ironically, I no longer eat hamburgers.
-- GROOMING --
22. How often do you brush your teeth? Once in the morning, once at night.
23. Hair drying method? Air dry in the summer, blow dry in the winter. But seriously, is anybody still reading at this point? How do you dry your hair? Jeebus.
24. Have you ever colored/highlighted your hair? No.
-- MANNERS --
25. Do you swear? Shit no.
26. Do you ever spit? Only if I have to say the name "George W. Bush" aloud.
-- WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE --
27. Animal? Flying fox.
28. Food? Oooooh...tough. Unagi sushi. Or maybe chicken butter masala with really fresh nan. Or maybe that Thai soup with the coconut milk. No, no, unagi sushi.
29. Month? October.
30. Day? Actually, I'm nocturnal.
31. Favorite Cartoon Character? Tricky question. I'm going to take "cartoon" here to mean "comedic animation" and say Daffy Duck as done by Bob Clampett (not Chuck Jones).
32. Shoe Brand? I am not "metrosexual".
33. Subject in school? English.
34. Color? Green. I don't know the name of the shade, but it's the deep one, like the color of a cedar branch.
35. Sport? Tie between US college football and Japanese major league baseball. Roll Tide, Go Carp.
36. TV show? Adult Swim. The bumps are a show in and of themselves.
-- IN AND AROUND ROOM --
41. The CD player? Is my laptop.
42. Person you talk most on the phone with? These questions never end... but no one now, I guess. In transit at the moment.
43. Ever taken a cab? Many.
44. Do you regularly check yourself out in store windows and mirrors? Curious to see where my hair has decided to go.
45. What color is your bedroom? This one is grey. Next one is supposed to be white.
46. Do you use an alarm clock? If I have to.
47. Window seat or aisle? Window.
-- LA LA LAND --
48. What's your sleeping position? On my stomach, arms curled under my head, unless there is a cat nearby.
49. Even in hot weather do you use a blanket? I don't turn up the air conditioner that high.
50. Do you snore? Maybe.
51. Do you sleepwalk? Only in my dreams.
52. Do you talk in your sleep? Not that I recall.
53. Do you sleep with stuffed animals? Never on the first date.
54. How about with the light on? Absolute darkness is best, but I can sleep in almost any environment.
55. Do you fall asleep with the TV or radio on? Not as a habit.
That took far, far too long.
Last night me and the city attourney drove to Huntsville around midnight for our final Star Wars premier. Midnight openers are cool, as is any activity that brings geeks together. I clocked one full Vader, two Palpatines, three generic Jedi, one Han Solo (wrong trilogy, dumbass), one Padme, one guy with danishes (still in the package) strapped to both sides of his head, and one guy who was otherwise dressed in sane clothes but had a shoddily built cardboard holster for his toy lightsaber taped onto his hip.
Mainstreamers are like, look at the weirdos dressing funny, aren't those geeks sad. Me, dammit I wish I'd come in costume. Maybe other people do it for Star Wars devotion but I just love being in costume and anytime it's socially acceptable to wear something other than the same boring clothes I wear over and over again I'm going to do it.
Had to see this movie with my brother. We were raised on the stuff. I was born in '75, the first movie came out in '78. I can't remember a time when I didn't have lightsaber duels with Shane. All-grown-up Josh recognizes that there are much better films than the Star Wars saga, but when it comes to fantasy cinema there's little else we have.
What do YOU know about coyote urine?
Wednesday I'm looking up a play to take my Mom to for her Mother's Day thing, and I check out Nashville's paper and randomly click on a link titled "The other 'the' boys", who turn out to be The Shins, playing in Nashville that night with the Brunelles at 8:30. Michelle is the Oh, Inverted World fan, but I liked it when she played it for me, and I like her taste. At 7:00 I put on my style pants and drove a hundred miles north.
Filled up a few miles from the Jack Daniels distillery and the Saturn plant. Beside me, a woman in a pickup truck was hauling a horse trailer with "Candy-Ass Aviation" painted on the back. What the fuck did that mean?
Show was in the Cannery Row Ballroom, this multi-level brick converted factory with woefully shitty parking that filled up long before I got there. The exit was this chute too narrow that ripped a ten-inch scar into my relatively pristine 13-year-old pickup. That's like 82 in truck years. Damn that little concrete post, damn it to darkest hell.
Then they were sold out.
So I missed the Brunelles but bought a bald guy's spare ticket while the roadies were clearing out their crap.
Very meditative, The Shins.
The act of going somewhere I've never been, to see people I don't know, completely alone, is one of the great joys of existence.
Been a while since I remembered my dreams, but I remembered last night's. Contents censored.
FOX 'News' was on the TV at the gym, so I traced the springy wire down to the remote and flipped. Lucked out and hit Iron Chef. Chairman Kaga was saying some shit, I wasn't paying attention, and then they showed the Gembaku Dome in Hiroshima. Looking at it just from the place I'd be when I met people there. So instantly familiar. I knew where the cracks in the concrete would be if the camera panned down. "That's the dome," I said. Nobody gave a shit.
The challenger, chief chef of the Rihga Royal Hotel in Hiroshima, made dishes with the theme of "Spring in Hiroshima". The newly minted (at the time) Iron Chef Japan, the one who has the restaurant in New York, won with a rice porridge shabu-shabu.
After that I went into Wal-Mart. If you've ever thought "Wal-Mart is someone's vision of hell", yeah, hey, I'm that certain someone. Where does all the cheap plastic crap go when all the cheap white trash is done? Underground and underground.
I got an e-mail today from the Guildhall with the subject line, "Regarding your application..."
I thought, oh shit, what did i screw up now?
Reading the e-mail, though, I discovered that I've been accepted. I'm going to make games for a living.
Last night, the old gin by S&Z was remodeled to a Kitty-chan Karaoke. For a few seconds after I woke up, I was so hyped about this that I forced myself to believe it was true.
My beautiful grandmother dreamed, a couple of weeks ago, that she was in her front yard, but it was a garden, many kinds of flowers and such. She was working in the side closest to the road and my Dad was working the other. They were laughing and talking while they worked. We weren't alone, she said. A man in a white suit was walking up and down the road, smiling. That man in the white suit, he didn't say nothing, she said.
It made her feel happy. And we had the graveside service for my Dad yesterday.
It was followed by a memorial service. I'm proud of my Mom for waving her middle finger at Southern tradition and doing it that way. We had a private family viewing, but none of that receiving line "he looks so good" lie-in-state crap. Chunn made the observation that Southern funerals were a lot like family reunions where everyone's sad. We didn't get to do any mysterious carthatic rituals, but it was a good as it could be. At the memorial service lots of Dad's friends got up and told the few hundred people there stories about him. I can imagine people thinking, That was Ed, even if they didn't yell it out and laugh. Well, they did laugh. More laughing than crying. What he wanted.
Dad was sick, he couldn't get better. He was too young. He should've gotten to see his grandkids grow up. But if the world operated on my sense of fairness and justice, many, many, many things would be different. And most likely fucked up in entirely different ways. Doesn't matter. I can imagine any number of better realities, but I'll never live them.
So what I can do now is listen to music, which I couldn't really do when I was listening for Dad, get out of the house, go back to the gym, make another level, and drive, far as I like.
People dropping in, lots of food. Maybe I'll get fat.
Mr. Jack went to an Asian grocery and brought me kibidango, instant miso soup, and many barely recognizable random Japanese imports. Potato noodles. I didn't know there were potato noodles. Foul nori drowned in black shiitake oil.
And this can of Chinese chrysthanthemum tea. First sip, familiar. Half the can, knew I'd had it before. Drained, it was the same tea they had back in that Chinese place in the dirt mall in Tuscaloosa. The one next to the gyro place with the Godfather guy who always dressed in black and looked at everyone walking by.
For the interested, dreams remain vivid. Last night I had to direct an porno for a film class. Involved an Indian couple. Like most pornography, it wasn't as erotic as one might hope. I blame the cast. Previously I was in a martial arts contest against this oversized bulldog of guy. I was fast and all yin and fluid. I kept winning. I also accidentally punched him a few times, which was against contest rules. Before that I went back to Man Mo temple, which had been decked out with a red and green and gold pagoda and an extra level, and instead of being on some street corner in Hong Kong it was at the top of a forested mountain. Previously hunted fossils with old expatriates in Yamaguchi prefecture. Previously hid from the antichrist, who was murdering people with a set of claws, in hollow carnival-style British seaside inns. Previously sat in a terraced mountain park somewhere in Virginia, which I think I had yet again reached by steamship.
None of these involved anyone I knew. Anyway, I don't trust my dreams when they're about people. They're never right.
The application is finished.
And there was much rejoicing.
My Unitarian Jihad Name is: The Broadsword of Desirable Mindfulness.
First click. That's me, baby.
Two story dreams last night.
First, the girl I had a crush on throughout high school came to visit this small (like, say, 7 people) neo-commune community I was living in. The whole thing is tucked beside a river and across these grassy canals but there's a sparse modernist cityscape growing up all around us. She has to go...back to her parents, I think, but she wants to live in the community. He parents/the government won't let her leave, and we have to escape (somehow, at this point, I realize I founded the community). There's a sword fight, we escape, she kisses me. End of dream.
Second, I'm with some of my friends and we end up leaving this huge, mall-size seven-floor futuristic Wal-Mart (it had a glass atrium in the front with a two-level lobby that opened up to all the floors) to walk up train tracks to a mountainside to this club/outdoor festival where my friends have been hanging out. We get there about at twilight, when the sky's indigo and there's just a little light, and go up to a kind of hillside with tables and campfires burning...sort of like Sanzoku back in Iwakuni. We get there and the smiling, giggly people (like people at a party who took a toke in the other room but are trying to keep it a secret) tell us that, at the place, men, through some kind of illusion, appear to be women, but women don't get changed, so the whole thing is genderless, and everybody's just laid back and having fun. Laughter, talking, drinking, party, all somehow secretive, like a masquerade, though oddly I remember noting in the dream that men typically wore jeans so their illusion looked like they were wearing a jean-skirt.
No Will, I don't think this means I'm gay.
Just a bit more--just a little bit more--and this application will finally be done.
Item the One: Today my great-uncle came to visit. Out of 10 children only he and my grandmother are still alive. He's 96. He drove about an hour to get here, parked the car about 30 feet from the house, and walked--no cane--from his brand new GMC pickup to the door. Dem's good genes.
His dentures made this interesting clacking sound as he told me about hanging around the Battle of the Bulge. "Americans are mean. There's one unit, asked 'em why they didn't get no medals, they said it was because they didn't have no prisoners. See, they'd say them Germans was escaping, and they'd just shoot 'em. They didn't care. It was like that."
Hey Hollywood! World War II = shitty as every other war.
Item the Two: Mimi gave me Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. Calvino reminded me of something I'd learned but forgotten:
"Intent on piling up its carats of perfection, Beersheba...(is) a city which, only when it shits, is not miserly, calculating, greedy."
Ain't we all.
Yesterday, on the way to the gym, NPR covered the death of the Pope, playing bells ringing in the Vatican, bells ringing in churches all over the world. I go into the gym, and hear bells on speakers. Oh, another Pope report, thinks I. Then Angus kicks into "Hell's Bells". Interesting.
Radio Story Two: Back in the truck I get tired of the news and start scanning channels as I'm avoiding the traffic that collects around the Wal-Mart parking lot. Being North Alabama, half the stations are Christian radio. (Yes, with one church per square mile, there are still apparently lots of godless heathens--like me--in need of conversion through the airwaves). One has this little radio play going about The THEORY of Evolution, which, I'm told is not scientific FACT, because you cannot REPEAT the process of evolution and RECREATE all life from ONE single-celled organization. Further, this THEORY cannot be OBSERVED because, these "scientists" say, it happens TOO SLOWLY TO SEE. That's right kids, you can't see evolution, so don't believe it. But God told you to give me $50, so pay up.
When I had free time, I felt like going out. Nowhere to go. So I wrote this song last fall, edited it tonight.
when time wasn't time
and just won't
when it was still time for
where I'm ending
drizzle down at twilight
and wash away
cannot stop for asking
cannot stop for asking
breaks the sea
one and one
I can't divine what else Soul Calibur III (Soul Edge IV?) will have going for it, but I'm digging the new character designs. Always been a sucker for forest nymphs.
Sat in a small room at the top of UAB hospital today tracing out a clean copy of my demo level. Got lunch for my parents at McAllisters. A sad consequence of having lived in Japan: I constantly feel that I've offended cashiers. Did I not order fast enough? Did I accidentally spit on you? No? Then stop being such an ass. Grow some tatemae, yank.
One advantage of living in the country: stars. I looked up as we were getting dad in. I'd forgotten there were so many.
Mood: freshly showered
I just saw G4, the gamer channel, for the first time. Two low-rent Californiaplasty choads were giving video reviews frequently interrupted by sketch comedy bits which they apparently wrote themselves. It occurs to me that as the game industry grows there aren't going to be more gamers as there will be idiots who happen to play games.
I also saw my first televised condom ad. Only Trojan could make sex seem boring. Anyway, rare are the humans who enjoy making happy fun with a sheet of latex between. Fear sells condoms, Billy Bob. My condom ad would go something like this:
LITTLE GIRL runs into room
LG: "Daddy! Daddy! I just pooped on your chair!"
VOICEOVER: Clothe your John Thomas in only the finest apparel.