AKA: William George
Background Illustrations provided by: http://edison.rutgers.edu/
abstfo on Flickr.
Eastern shore, Nova Scotia. Pentax KX.  This actually is properly exposed. The fog really does get that thick on Nova Scotia’s eastern shore. The crappy scanning by the developer just adds to the abstract look. I don’t think the image would be as nearly as interesting if the scan was laser sharp though I could be wrong. You know, I don’t know why people hate film grain. That’s like saying you hate having spaceships in Star Trek, or bad writing in Star Wars. I can understand it from people who have only ever used the over-saturated sharpness of the digital camera. Film grain looks a lot like sensor noise from the right angle. But that remaining handful of madmen who still use film? Might as well switch to digital because that’s what you really want.

abstfo on Flickr.

Eastern shore, Nova Scotia. Pentax KX.

This actually is properly exposed. The fog really does get that thick on Nova Scotia’s eastern shore. The crappy scanning by the developer just adds to the abstract look. I don’t think the image would be as nearly as interesting if the scan was laser sharp though I could be wrong.

You know, I don’t know why people hate film grain. That’s like saying you hate having spaceships in Star Trek, or bad writing in Star Wars. I can understand it from people who have only ever used the over-saturated sharpness of the digital camera. Film grain looks a lot like sensor noise from the right angle. But that remaining handful of madmen who still use film? Might as well switch to digital because that’s what you really want.

purrz on Flickr.
Hey, internet. I hear you like cat pictures. Shot with a Pentax KX.  It’s tightly cropped because* the mall-situated photography chain that I used mailed it to a place staffed by monkeys that chew on each roll of film they process. At least that’s the only way I can explain some of the scratches on some of the images. I now know it’s not my camera scraping the hell out of the film, so I guess that’s a silver lining.*That it looked better this way is just a bonus.

purrz on Flickr.

Hey, internet. I hear you like cat pictures. Shot with a Pentax KX.

It’s tightly cropped because* the mall-situated photography chain that I used mailed it to a place staffed by monkeys that chew on each roll of film they process. At least that’s the only way I can explain some of the scratches on some of the images. I now know it’s not my camera scraping the hell out of the film, so I guess that’s a silver lining.

*That it looked better this way is just a bonus.

the shadows of trees on Flickr.One of the few spots in the Canadian wilderness that isn’t covered in thorns and brambles. Photograph them when you see them because they’ll be gone the following year. Scan of a Print.
So… It was about minus thirty degrees last night. Yep. Canada. Meanwhile I’m getting pictures from Guam on my FaceBook from an old Japanese friend.
Yep, Guam.
It has since warmed up to minus twelve. That’s almost warm enough to not freeze the snot in your nose.
Yup, Canada. It’s not Guam.

the shadows of trees on Flickr.

One of the few spots in the Canadian wilderness that isn’t covered in thorns and brambles. Photograph them when you see them because they’ll be gone the following year. Scan of a Print.

So… It was about minus thirty degrees last night. Yep. Canada. Meanwhile I’m getting pictures from Guam on my FaceBook from an old Japanese friend.

Yep, Guam.

It has since warmed up to minus twelve. That’s almost warm enough to not freeze the snot in your nose.

Yup, Canada. It’s not Guam.

exit on Flickr.
Let me begin by getting my grumbling about the pathetic state of Canada’s train system out of the way; Stupid pathetic state of Canada’s train system. It sucks. Sucks like the suckiest suck that ever sucked. Stupid federal government for letting it get this way.
Okay. That having been said, the Halifax Train Station is a very lovely heritage site in the south end of the city and unlike most of the heritage sites around the city, it isn’t falling in on itself and blocking the development of much needed road and infrastructure improvements… I’m looking at you, Entirety of Barrington Street… You should visit it in the off chance you find yourself in the city. You probably won’t find yourself there via the train platform since the Canadian train system sucks like the suckiest suck that ever sucked. Stupid federal government for letting it get this way.

exit on Flickr.

Let me begin by getting my grumbling about the pathetic state of Canada’s train system out of the way;

Stupid pathetic state of Canada’s train system. It sucks. Sucks like the suckiest suck that ever sucked. Stupid federal government for letting it get this way.

Okay. That having been said, the Halifax Train Station is a very lovely heritage site in the south end of the city and unlike most of the heritage sites around the city, it isn’t falling in on itself and blocking the development of much needed road and infrastructure improvements… I’m looking at you, Entirety of Barrington Street… You should visit it in the off chance you find yourself in the city.

You probably won’t find yourself there via the train platform since the Canadian train system sucks like the suckiest suck that ever sucked. Stupid federal government for letting it get this way.

shrooms on Flickr.
Wooo! Shrooms! Paaar-tay! Anyway, I have no idea, but I assume these will make you barf. Canada and it’s pile full of nature constantly getting under foot. This was actually in the city of Halifax in a park barely visited due to being under a bridge.
I’ve been finding the photography here pretty uninspiring. Maybe it’s that familiarity = contempt stuff. Or maybe my eye has been trained to handle an urban Asia setting and I just haven’t been able to get into the flow of life here. I assume if I was willing to hike deep into the forest and learn how to take great nature photography I might be more satisfied with what I’ve been capturing. I might find something sexy that’s been covered with all of this snow…

shrooms on Flickr.

Wooo! Shrooms! Paaar-tay!

Anyway, I have no idea, but I assume these will make you barf. Canada and it’s pile full of nature constantly getting under foot. This was actually in the city of Halifax in a park barely visited due to being under a bridge.

I’ve been finding the photography here pretty uninspiring. Maybe it’s that familiarity = contempt stuff. Or maybe my eye has been trained to handle an urban Asia setting and I just haven’t been able to get into the flow of life here. I assume if I was willing to hike deep into the forest and learn how to take great nature photography I might be more satisfied with what I’ve been capturing. I might find something sexy that’s been covered with all of this snow…

ashita no joe on Flickr.I guess someone decided beating people up wasn’t something they wanted to do with their life. 
The gloves have been sitting on the rock face near Fall River, Nova Scotia for as long as I can remember. Not that I have a long memory of it since I don’t live in the area. When I am there, I’m usually passing by in a car. I did remember them from the last time I passed the rock face several months ago and took a few shots.
To sum up: Boxing gloves hanging from a rock face. Weird, eh?

ashita no joe on Flickr.

I guess someone decided beating people up wasn’t something they wanted to do with their life.

The gloves have been sitting on the rock face near Fall River, Nova Scotia for as long as I can remember. Not that I have a long memory of it since I don’t live in the area. When I am there, I’m usually passing by in a car. I did remember them from the last time I passed the rock face several months ago and took a few shots.

To sum up: Boxing gloves hanging from a rock face. Weird, eh?

Not much else to do on Flickr.
High school students enjoying what little there is of summer in Halifax’s Point Pleasant Park. And I doubt they have much else to do given that most of the entertainment venues teens can get access to in the city are an hour away by bus. If they can afford the movies. Adults face the same problem here which is why everyone fills their days with booze and TV… And stealing or breaking things if they’re confident they won’t be caught, which is something else things teens and adults have in common here. I suppose it’s the same all over. Not much to keep your body and mind engaged. Maybe some sports if you’re geared that way… or haven’t let the shitty food and lack of options that comes with being poor or deep debt turn you into a slug. You do see parks get widely used in Korea and Taiwan. Japan’s parks occasionally have kids after school but largely remain empty unless they’re a famous location like Ueno Park in Tokyo. It’s cold most of the year in Halifax so the parks go little used during the day, and you can’t really enjoy the parks at night anyway. Only the angry drunk/ high assholes are there because the authorities pressured everyone else out. Not that you can access much without a car. All entertainments, events, places of interest, and living areas are designed for the automobile. Point Pleasant Park has a dedicated bus and isn’t too far from the city core. Ueno Park is next to a highly busy subway station. They’re exceptions. Halifax has a number of nice parks that are on the wrong side of a busy street, or hidden under a bridge, or in the outskirts of town. They don’t get as well used as they should due to either poor planning, or due to trying to work around poor planning. And lacking a place to sit makes them generally unwelcoming. All this rambling leads me to my point: For all its cultural and business culture flaws, Korea excels at public spaces. Especially in the newer neighbourhoods. A lot of thought seems to have gone into urban planning and living spaces. There will always be a small park in an apartment complex. There will always be a small entertainment and dining district nearby. Groceries can be bought within eyesight of your home. A hill or mountain for the nature lovers isn’t far away either. Public transportation is abundant even in small towns. It’s hard to find nothing to do in Korea.

Not much else to do on Flickr.

High school students enjoying what little there is of summer in Halifax’s Point Pleasant Park.

And I doubt they have much else to do given that most of the entertainment venues teens can get access to in the city are an hour away by bus. If they can afford the movies. Adults face the same problem here which is why everyone fills their days with booze and TV… And stealing or breaking things if they’re confident they won’t be caught, which is something else things teens and adults have in common here.

I suppose it’s the same all over. Not much to keep your body and mind engaged. Maybe some sports if you’re geared that way… or haven’t let the shitty food and lack of options that comes with being poor or deep debt turn you into a slug. You do see parks get widely used in Korea and Taiwan. Japan’s parks occasionally have kids after school but largely remain empty unless they’re a famous location like Ueno Park in Tokyo. It’s cold most of the year in Halifax so the parks go little used during the day, and you can’t really enjoy the parks at night anyway. Only the angry drunk/ high assholes are there because the authorities pressured everyone else out.

Not that you can access much without a car. All entertainments, events, places of interest, and living areas are designed for the automobile. Point Pleasant Park has a dedicated bus and isn’t too far from the city core. Ueno Park is next to a highly busy subway station. They’re exceptions. Halifax has a number of nice parks that are on the wrong side of a busy street, or hidden under a bridge, or in the outskirts of town. They don’t get as well used as they should due to either poor planning, or due to trying to work around poor planning. And lacking a place to sit makes them generally unwelcoming.

All this rambling leads me to my point: For all its cultural and business culture flaws, Korea excels at public spaces. Especially in the newer neighbourhoods. A lot of thought seems to have gone into urban planning and living spaces. There will always be a small park in an apartment complex. There will always be a small entertainment and dining district nearby. Groceries can be bought within eyesight of your home. A hill or mountain for the nature lovers isn’t far away either. Public transportation is abundant even in small towns.

It’s hard to find nothing to do in Korea.

Red and White on Flickr.In contrast to that previous image of Japan in the summer four or so years ago, here’s Canada in the winter today.
Currently the walking conditions are powdery snow on top of a layer of ice on top of deep powdery snow on top of wet cold muck. My boots never saw much use in Korea and even less in Japan. Over the last week they’ve seen more now than they have in the previous decade.
More snow on Wednesday, it seems. 
Canada.

Red and White on Flickr.

In contrast to that previous image of Japan in the summer four or so years ago, here’s Canada in the winter today.

Currently the walking conditions are powdery snow on top of a layer of ice on top of deep powdery snow on top of wet cold muck. My boots never saw much use in Korea and even less in Japan. Over the last week they’ve seen more now than they have in the previous decade.

More snow on Wednesday, it seems.

Canada.

snowy shed on Flickr.Every day I see this barny shed thingy. I keep thinking that I can get a great photo out of it but I just need to find the best place to stand. Which I think sums up photography: “Looking for the best place to stand.”
I’ve been looking at it every day while I waited to get to the bottom of my horrible internal problems. It was my stomach and not my heart, thankfully. It took eight months to find out what was wrong with my stomach. Well, it took three and a half months and the rest of the time was waiting out a clerical error. Hiatal Hernia. It’s a pretty miserable thing because it means that my only real option is to eat everything that doesn’t taste good and try to sleep standing up.
On the bright side of things, it means that I’m armed with knowledge about how to deal with it and I’m free to start the process into getting back to my life in Asia. Sadly, Japan is now out of my budget and Taiwan doesn’t usually hire from overseas, so it’s looking like South Korea will be my next destination after all. I’ve already started the process, my fingerprints in an inbox at the RCMP headquarters in Ottawa.  
Years ago, and my memory of this may be faulty, Interpol caught a Canadian child rapist in Cambodia. Turned out he was an ESL teacher in Korea at the time. Since foreigners are suspect at the best of times there, the government forced a large number of requirements upon applicants. Now, I can agree that it used to be incredibly easy to get a work visa there. You just had to show up and your boss took care of the rest. I used that ease several times myself. But looking over the steps now and realizing that you need to get permission just to simply apply… Well, last I knew of the case, that child rapist would have gotten through anyway. 
At least they ditched the “interview at the Korean Embassy” requirement.

snowy shed on Flickr.

Every day I see this barny shed thingy. I keep thinking that I can get a great photo out of it but I just need to find the best place to stand. Which I think sums up photography: “Looking for the best place to stand.”

I’ve been looking at it every day while I waited to get to the bottom of my horrible internal problems. It was my stomach and not my heart, thankfully. It took eight months to find out what was wrong with my stomach. Well, it took three and a half months and the rest of the time was waiting out a clerical error. Hiatal Hernia. It’s a pretty miserable thing because it means that my only real option is to eat everything that doesn’t taste good and try to sleep standing up.

On the bright side of things, it means that I’m armed with knowledge about how to deal with it and I’m free to start the process into getting back to my life in Asia. Sadly, Japan is now out of my budget and Taiwan doesn’t usually hire from overseas, so it’s looking like South Korea will be my next destination after all. I’ve already started the process, my fingerprints in an inbox at the RCMP headquarters in Ottawa.

Years ago, and my memory of this may be faulty, Interpol caught a Canadian child rapist in Cambodia. Turned out he was an ESL teacher in Korea at the time. Since foreigners are suspect at the best of times there, the government forced a large number of requirements upon applicants. Now, I can agree that it used to be incredibly easy to get a work visa there. You just had to show up and your boss took care of the rest. I used that ease several times myself. But looking over the steps now and realizing that you need to get permission just to simply apply… Well, last I knew of the case, that child rapist would have gotten through anyway.

At least they ditched the “interview at the Korean Embassy” requirement.

Tufts Cove on Flickr.
My brother and I were photographing around the abandoned military housing complex Shannon Park when I took this photo of ugly Halifax landmark, Tufts Cove Generating Station. Though I shouldn’t speak too ill of it. It’s kept chugging away during storms when the power coming in from Ontario and Quebec fails us. The ugly little engine that could, it is.
I meant “around” Shannon Park because the place is fenced off due to it being a decaying, asbestos-filled hellhole and you can’t get into it. And should you jump the fence, the Canadian military finds catching you before you walk ten paces a nice exercise of their stealth and reconnaissance skills. I understand it’s the holy grail of local urban exploration types.
The funny thing is that even though it’s all falling down, it’s still in better shape than most of the Dartmouth neighborhoods up the hill from it. Dartmouth is Halifax’s “wrong side of the tracks” and was always the first place undesirables (AKA: Blacks, Mi’kmaqs, and the poor) and were sent to go live by the powers that be.
These days, 90% of the city is “the wrong side of the tracks”.

Tufts Cove on Flickr.

My brother and I were photographing around the abandoned military housing complex Shannon Park when I took this photo of ugly Halifax landmark, Tufts Cove Generating Station. Though I shouldn’t speak too ill of it. It’s kept chugging away during storms when the power coming in from Ontario and Quebec fails us. The ugly little engine that could, it is.

I meant “around” Shannon Park because the place is fenced off due to it being a decaying, asbestos-filled hellhole and you can’t get into it. And should you jump the fence, the Canadian military finds catching you before you walk ten paces a nice exercise of their stealth and reconnaissance skills. I understand it’s the holy grail of local urban exploration types.

The funny thing is that even though it’s all falling down, it’s still in better shape than most of the Dartmouth neighborhoods up the hill from it. Dartmouth is Halifax’s “wrong side of the tracks” and was always the first place undesirables (AKA: Blacks, Mi’kmaqs, and the poor) and were sent to go live by the powers that be.

These days, 90% of the city is “the wrong side of the tracks”.

going home on Flickr.
It’s a random thought sort of day today.
In a week I’ll be seeing the doctor about what the barium x-ray revealed about my guts. On one hand, the radiologist got my x-ray to him within five hours of me taking it. On the other hand, his secretary told me there wasn’t any sort of emergency which is why my appointment was booked two weeks later. Doctor Google is suggesting to me that I have a big crater in my guts and a future of eating nothing but leafy vegetables and high fiber bran cereal. I’m already a 90% vegan so I guess I can put in the effort to go all the way so I don’t die before I turn fifty. But… steak!
I’ll know soon enough.
I’m still angry about a clerical error adding six unnecessary months to the process. It’s been flying along since then. On my more positive days I look around and start to think about staying. But then I wipe the stupidity from my eyes and look at the job situation here. Greying society plus a federal government that’s hostile to every province that isn’t oil-producing Alberta means Nova Scotia is dying faster than normal. There’s no future here. I’m in my 40s. My future is relatively short. Some kid in their teens is out of luck.
I’ve been slowly putting together the things needed to apply for a job in South Korea. Why South Korea since I left the place with such animosity five years ago? Rent and airfare are included as part of the contract and they hire from overseas. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m curious about how the place has changed in this time. It changed rapidly in the six years I was there. The expressway where I saw my first-of-many street fights there is now a lovely park in the middle of the city. The middle-aged men who used to cut in front of me in a line when I first arrived were being asked to wait their turn by the clerks by the time I left.
A thing about me: If I’m outraged at someone it means that I think they’re failing to live up to their potential as a human being. When I disengage from an online conversation, or block someone on FaceBook, it means that I’ve given up on them. I see them as not even worth my disappointment. Perhaps that seems arrogant. I see it as life being too short to put up with the crap of others. I’m a lot quicker to send people to the cornfield on FaceBook simply because it’s a lot easier to do so. At least until today. Today I had the misfortune of reading things written by those suffering from an obvious case of FoxNews Disease and not being able to remove them from my sight so I could focus on the rest of the discussion. Attempting to block them got me a “Not a valid profile” notice and they remained unblocked.
I’m hoping the glitch clears up soon.
The picture up above was taken with my then brand new Olympus Pen E-P3. It has a number of Instagram type filters on it. They’re all pretty useless except for the Grainy Film setting. But even that needs to be used sparingly. I’m not saying that the above image is one of the best uses of it, but it’s one of the best uses of it in my files. I’m on the Shinkansen in Osaka about to head to Kagoshima. They’re on the train heading to Tokyo. He arrived at his destination three hours before I did. I suppose if it were a race I could have flown. But flight is a shitty experience at the best of times and I feel it’s also best done sparingly.
If there was a train heading back to the lands where the “career” is, I’d take it.

going home on Flickr.

It’s a random thought sort of day today.

In a week I’ll be seeing the doctor about what the barium x-ray revealed about my guts. On one hand, the radiologist got my x-ray to him within five hours of me taking it. On the other hand, his secretary told me there wasn’t any sort of emergency which is why my appointment was booked two weeks later. Doctor Google is suggesting to me that I have a big crater in my guts and a future of eating nothing but leafy vegetables and high fiber bran cereal. I’m already a 90% vegan so I guess I can put in the effort to go all the way so I don’t die before I turn fifty. But… steak!

I’ll know soon enough.

I’m still angry about a clerical error adding six unnecessary months to the process. It’s been flying along since then. On my more positive days I look around and start to think about staying. But then I wipe the stupidity from my eyes and look at the job situation here. Greying society plus a federal government that’s hostile to every province that isn’t oil-producing Alberta means Nova Scotia is dying faster than normal. There’s no future here. I’m in my 40s. My future is relatively short. Some kid in their teens is out of luck.

I’ve been slowly putting together the things needed to apply for a job in South Korea. Why South Korea since I left the place with such animosity five years ago? Rent and airfare are included as part of the contract and they hire from overseas. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m curious about how the place has changed in this time. It changed rapidly in the six years I was there. The expressway where I saw my first-of-many street fights there is now a lovely park in the middle of the city. The middle-aged men who used to cut in front of me in a line when I first arrived were being asked to wait their turn by the clerks by the time I left.

A thing about me: If I’m outraged at someone it means that I think they’re failing to live up to their potential as a human being. When I disengage from an online conversation, or block someone on FaceBook, it means that I’ve given up on them. I see them as not even worth my disappointment. Perhaps that seems arrogant. I see it as life being too short to put up with the crap of others. I’m a lot quicker to send people to the cornfield on FaceBook simply because it’s a lot easier to do so. At least until today. Today I had the misfortune of reading things written by those suffering from an obvious case of FoxNews Disease and not being able to remove them from my sight so I could focus on the rest of the discussion. Attempting to block them got me a “Not a valid profile” notice and they remained unblocked.

I’m hoping the glitch clears up soon.

The picture up above was taken with my then brand new Olympus Pen E-P3. It has a number of Instagram type filters on it. They’re all pretty useless except for the Grainy Film setting. But even that needs to be used sparingly. I’m not saying that the above image is one of the best uses of it, but it’s one of the best uses of it in my files. I’m on the Shinkansen in Osaka about to head to Kagoshima. They’re on the train heading to Tokyo. He arrived at his destination three hours before I did. I suppose if it were a race I could have flown. But flight is a shitty experience at the best of times and I feel it’s also best done sparingly.

If there was a train heading back to the lands where the “career” is, I’d take it.

rocks and trees on Flickr.
Nova Scotia is grey and cold. And I don’t just mean the people. Hiyoooo! Familiarity does breed contempt. Or at least disinterest. Or even just the awareness of the limited options you have. Or maybe I just mean that I’ve gotten very bored of sitting around waiting for my turn on the doctor’s slab* and going through my daily depressing look at the job boards. Anyway, I find it hard to find something to photograph around here in the forest because, ehn. Every five steps bringing you through a bramble of skin-tearing thorns doesn’t help. I sometimes think about learning to drive a car since I’m living in the ass-end of nowhere and for some reason government organizations seem to think a driver’s license makes you trust-worthy. Then I think about the costs of driving a car. I also think of how much anxiety simply being a passenger gives me. Then I think about how much better it is to live somewhere with great public transportation. I stop thinking about learning to drive at this point. We know why governments want to you have a driver’s license. It’s another way for them to keep track of you. There’s nothing a government hates more than someone they can’t keep tabs on. And their corporate sponsors sort of set up a consumerist society that hinges on oil. Public transportation means that’s one less car bought, one less home in the suburbs mortgaged, one fewer person going to a box store out in the low-to-no-rent industrial parks, hundreds of dollars less being given to insurance companies, and thousands of liters of gasoline not being bought. If I wasn’t so fond of regular meals, and showers I’d go off the grid just to spite them. Being an expat means you put yourself under even more direct government scrutiny. Politicians are a lazy, cowardly lot and that means they tend to cater to the ill-informed, selfish aspects of the people they represent. That’s why you need to take an AIDS test when you apply for a work visa in some countries. Anti-foreigner bigotry always comes with the assumption they’re bringing disease with them. That’s as true overseas as it is here. Yet, for some reason, the common-as-karaoke business trips a.k.a. sex tours of developing countries/ meetings a.k.a. lack of regular condom use when visiting the whore house with the boss, is never looked at as a possible disease vector.  Despite the number of indignities that come from expat life, the benefits are also numerous. In a way, you are living off the grid. Few people know you beyond “That foreigner”. You have the freedom to reinvent yourself, and if you get fed up with the situation you’re in, you can simply up and leave. Honour demands you tell the people and organizations that depend upon you before you do so. It sucks when you have to work extra hours to cover for a missing co-worker. It also sucks that, for each unpaid bill someone leaves in their wake, companies make it even harder for an expatriate to use their services. But if you do decide to walk away, no one is going to cross the ocean to track you down for last month’s internet bill or a few hundred in unpaid taxes. I paid all of my bills and taxes before leaving Japan. It’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to live and work there again given my lack of connections, youth, and good-looks. But just in case I did get back there, I wanted to be able to afford ramen until the first paycheque came in fifty or more days later instead of having my owed money being seized. The endless Korea vs Japan debate? Your boss in Korea is far more likely to front you some cash until the first payday.
* Update: I think they read this post. The hospital called for my turn on their slab an hour after I put it up. No improvement on the job board as of yet.

rocks and trees on Flickr.

Nova Scotia is grey and cold. And I don’t just mean the people. Hiyoooo!

Familiarity does breed contempt. Or at least disinterest. Or even just the awareness of the limited options you have. Or maybe I just mean that I’ve gotten very bored of sitting around waiting for my turn on the doctor’s slab* and going through my daily depressing look at the job boards. Anyway, I find it hard to find something to photograph around here in the forest because, ehn. Every five steps bringing you through a bramble of skin-tearing thorns doesn’t help.

I sometimes think about learning to drive a car since I’m living in the ass-end of nowhere and for some reason government organizations seem to think a driver’s license makes you trust-worthy. Then I think about the costs of driving a car. I also think of how much anxiety simply being a passenger gives me. Then I think about how much better it is to live somewhere with great public transportation. I stop thinking about learning to drive at this point.

We know why governments want to you have a driver’s license. It’s another way for them to keep track of you. There’s nothing a government hates more than someone they can’t keep tabs on. And their corporate sponsors sort of set up a consumerist society that hinges on oil. Public transportation means that’s one less car bought, one less home in the suburbs mortgaged, one fewer person going to a box store out in the low-to-no-rent industrial parks, hundreds of dollars less being given to insurance companies, and thousands of liters of gasoline not being bought.

If I wasn’t so fond of regular meals, and showers I’d go off the grid just to spite them.

Being an expat means you put yourself under even more direct government scrutiny. Politicians are a lazy, cowardly lot and that means they tend to cater to the ill-informed, selfish aspects of the people they represent. That’s why you need to take an AIDS test when you apply for a work visa in some countries. Anti-foreigner bigotry always comes with the assumption they’re bringing disease with them. That’s as true overseas as it is here. Yet, for some reason, the common-as-karaoke business trips a.k.a. sex tours of developing countries/ meetings a.k.a. lack of regular condom use when visiting the whore house with the boss, is never looked at as a possible disease vector.

Despite the number of indignities that come from expat life, the benefits are also numerous. In a way, you are living off the grid. Few people know you beyond “That foreigner”. You have the freedom to reinvent yourself, and if you get fed up with the situation you’re in, you can simply up and leave. Honour demands you tell the people and organizations that depend upon you before you do so. It sucks when you have to work extra hours to cover for a missing co-worker. It also sucks that, for each unpaid bill someone leaves in their wake, companies make it even harder for an expatriate to use their services. But if you do decide to walk away, no one is going to cross the ocean to track you down for last month’s internet bill or a few hundred in unpaid taxes.

I paid all of my bills and taxes before leaving Japan. It’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to live and work there again given my lack of connections, youth, and good-looks. But just in case I did get back there, I wanted to be able to afford ramen until the first paycheque came in fifty or more days later instead of having my owed money being seized.

The endless Korea vs Japan debate? Your boss in Korea is far more likely to front you some cash until the first payday.

* Update: I think they read this post. The hospital called for my turn on their slab an hour after I put it up. No improvement on the job board as of yet.

engage tractor beam on Flickr.
For the last few weeks I’ve been getting tired of posting up only pictures of Japan. I’ve also been getting tired of only posting up black and white shots. That’s my fault for having a lot of black and white photos of mostly Japan, I guess. So instead I’ve been posting up black and white photos of Canada. When those are done I’m going to scour my archives for color photos of Asia.  Professionals call this “Staying fresh”. This was shot using Kodak T-Max film. I know! They still make film. Unlike yesterday’s image, it’s true b&w. The barn from yesterday was shot using the chromogenic BW400CN film which is why it had a greenish tinge to it. I thought the tinge added an organic feel to the image so I kept it as is. This photo might work in color if the tractor was brightly colored, or even rusty, so it would stand out from its surroundings more, but it was neither. Not to say this same image wouldn’t work in color. But I feel that the greys suit the image more and a greenish tinge of any shade wouldn’t improve things. This is my theory. The theory is mine.

engage tractor beam on Flickr.

For the last few weeks I’ve been getting tired of posting up only pictures of Japan. I’ve also been getting tired of only posting up black and white shots. That’s my fault for having a lot of black and white photos of mostly Japan, I guess. So instead I’ve been posting up black and white photos of Canada. When those are done I’m going to scour my archives for color photos of Asia.

Professionals call this “Staying fresh”.

This was shot using Kodak T-Max film. I know! They still make film. Unlike yesterday’s image, it’s true b&w. The barn from yesterday was shot using the chromogenic BW400CN film which is why it had a greenish tinge to it. I thought the tinge added an organic feel to the image so I kept it as is. This photo might work in color if the tractor was brightly colored, or even rusty, so it would stand out from its surroundings more, but it was neither. Not to say this same image wouldn’t work in color. But I feel that the greys suit the image more and a greenish tinge of any shade wouldn’t improve things.

This is my theory. The theory is mine.