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The Daily Mumble March 2004 Archive
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March 2004 saw welly boots, wooden ducks, frogspawn, Tony Blair, honsety and vacuum cleaners all make an appearance in The Daily Mumble. March 2004 was also the first complete month since my return to the UK of me having a girlfriend (despite my reluctance to use that label). Yes, there was more sex in March 2004 than in any month since the spring of 2002 probably... and boy was it fun!
March 2004 Highlights: Is she my girlfriend? welly boots, wooden ducks and a lot of other rubbish; Bush tries to take over the world (again); share my love - more fan mail; frogspawn spotted in pond ("No way??!!); The No.12 to Paignton; fitting into the sock of life; the fight against bystander apathy; a dying mouse; email from Prime Minister Tony Blair; a psychodelic train trip - celebrating unemployment; honesty and vacuum cleaners; piece for solo flute and dolphin; Takeshi Kitano's Zatoichi...

Thursday 4th March 2004 - 16:34GMT - on a Virgin Train heading home to Bristol from Exeter

Can you be any MORE inconsiderate?

I've figured that the only way I can stop myself from going completely mad having to listen to the racket being broadcast from the headphones of the guy sitting behind me on this train is to scream about how IRRATATING IT IS here in The Daily Mumble and hope that he reads what I'm writing as he can see my laptop screen between the seats...

2 minutes later...

Hhhmm, seems to have worked. J-lo has shut up... :-)

Oh tit. I spoke to soon. It was a quiet track, that's all. GGGGGGGGGGRRRRRRRRR

will you just BE QUIET!!!!

I'll let you know if there's any change between here and Bristol.

So, yes, I've been offline for a while haven't I? Yes, I've been (and still am) very very busy. The number of college assignments I have outstanding is driving me a little potty. So far I've managed to meet all the deadlines, but I can't carry on like this. Every spare waking moment I have is devoted to study - I even feel guilty writing this, rather than using this time on the train to plan my next psychology presentation.

There is one exception to the rule of 24/7 study - my "girlfriend". Is she my girlfriend? I'm not sure. Well, she's lovely whatever her label says. [I'd just like to state, for the record, that I totally don't agree with that kind of labeling, and the above comment was made purely in jest. I think "friend" is the appropriate term]. I seem to be getting into a routine of spending entire weekends from Friday afternoons to Monday mornings with her. It's happened twice in the past month now. I'm trying to make it a fortnightly thing, that way I can just about live with the guilt of not studying by studying extra hard every other weekend. This weekend is going to be one such weekend. Study that is, not endless hours of fun in a Japanese world. I'm actually quite looking forward to it...

So yes, we don't really know what's going on, but we have good times together. Last weekend was spent hunting Dartmoor Ponies, watching Lost in Translation again, getting a puncture on a dual carriageway whilst traveling at 70mph, drinking red wine, eating, doing karaoke... hhmmm, it was a great.

I only have 7 working days left now before I get made redundant. I was only supposed to stay with the company until last December but managed to charm my way into a further three months of monkeying around. That'll take me up until the end of March, what with me only working 2 days a week. There's talk in the office of some going-out-and-getting-wrecked type thing on my last day (and there's me thinking Crikey, I can't afford that time off study! Sad I know. Then next month things get very interesting. I can't really say much more about it now because I'm not sure myself... but watch this space and admire my ability to cope with all the madness that is set to unfold. Yes...

oooohhh look it's time for the intermission. I would give you a Monty Python Style intermission, but that would mean inserting a Powerpoint presentation into this page, and I don't know how to do that. Oh, hang on, I could actually...

Right, you'll need Microsoft Powerpoint for this, and you'll have to imagine the music because that's too fiddly for me at the moment. Click on the image below, then select SAVE then click on OPEN... (don't worry, it's perfectly safe).

Click here for the intermission


Anyway look you're distracting me. What I was actually going to fill this intermission with was a few photos I've taken recently:


Yes, it's a pair of children's wellies
Our house, as seen from the bottom of our little garden
The moon by streetlight


So yes anyway. Where was I? That flashy snow-filled welly-boot wearing goose of an intermission has quite thrown me. Ah yes, so, not long left at work now. It'll be my first time to be unemployed since... er, well, this time last year actually. Gosh, such a lot has happened in the last year. oh oh oh I was told this morning by a friend that Body Hits was on TV AGAIN the other night! No. I'm not talking about the 3rd time, this was the 4th time it's been broadcast, which now means that I have over an hour of national TV airtime to my name. RAAAAAAA!!!

Oh, I forgot to tell you, I'm not on the train anymore. No in fact I got off the train about 4 hours ago. That's how long the intermission was you see. If I was still on the train I'd be somewhere near Preston, and we all know what a mistake that would be. I once lived in Preston you see. Situated in the north of England it's a grim place where the men who sell newspapers behind those little stands in the streets relieve themselves without even moving. Yes, I swear, I saw a man weeing as he stood behind his stand selling newspapers. One hand on his willy, the other giving the customer change. Trickle running down the gutter below. The other thing I remember about Preston is that my room was the coldest room on earth. In fact, it was so cold that I pitched my tent on the carpet and slept inside that to keep warm - in my sleeping bag. Oh those were grim days. That was not long after my English girlfriend and I first got together. Yes, there's only been the one. I got scared off. It's far easier to have a relationship with foreigners because you can put all annoying habits and misunderstandings down to cultural differences - [disclaimer: I would just like to state that I didn't find that my last partner had any bad habits and we only ever misunderstood one another when we were on different continents]. Oh, by the way, that man didn't turn his music down, so I gave him a good old glare as I got off the train.

Yes so it's been snowing. I mean, it did snow. It's stopped now. In fact it stopped a few days ago. Oh did anyone hear The Archers tonight? Gosh, that was a bit scary, what with Clive Horobin turning up with a gun and all. Rough place Ambridge, glad I don't live in that rural ghetto.

Yes yes so I have a kind of yes addiction tonight. I seem to be rather drawn to italics too. I was told by my webmaster friend not to use italics on the internet as they're difficult to read. I do agree with him, but on the other hand they are quite useful, especially when one wants to write in a funny voice. I've got a brand new Combine 'arvester and I'll give you the key. Did I tell you that one of my friends had not seen a sheep until they came to England? Well, I may scoff, and yet, have I seen a kangaroo or a monkey outside of a zoo? No, I haven't, yet in some countries such beasts are common in the wild. Ah, hang on, I have have seen a monkey in the wild, or at least, I have seen a monkey's bum bum in the wild. In Japan. Running away from me.

I'm excited. You can probably tell. I'm excited by life and all its possibilities. I'm not just excited about the fact that those possibilities exist though, I'm actually excited about living them. As I am. I'm really happy with my life and how fulfilled I feel through following my heart and not dressing up in women's clothing a suit and tie. You know, I'm such a rebel that I often wear jeans to work even though its strictly against company policy! I know, can you believe it?! As you can tell I'm quite proud of that fact, which does suggest that actually I'm not such a rebel after all. If I was a REAL rebel I wouldn't even think to mention it, and pride wouldn't get a look in. You see, I'm keen to conform to the the norms that the breaking of which would cause great anxiety within me, but only too eager to break all others. Hhm, thinking about that sentence it's not half as impressive-sounding as I'd hoped it would be. In actual fact, I think virtually all people on Earth would agree with that sentence - because it's basing it all upon what one personally feels comfortable with, rather than greater social norms. I'll have to think about how to make it more impressive and get back to you.

Something else I feel proud of but really shouldn't announce to the world as feeling so about (huh?) is that in our house we seldom answer the phone. We may prick up our ears to see who's leaving a message, but seldom actually answer it. I like that.

Ooooh I could just do with a cocoa. A nice Green & Blacks cocoa with soya milk ("tonyu" in Japanese so I believe just in case you were wondering) and lots of nice sugar to rot my teeth away with. Did you know that I have two gold teeth? I had a cyst as a teenager beneath the root of one of my teeth, and as a result had a couple removed, to be replaced with two perfectly natural looking porcelain-covered gold teeth. So there you go. They're not magnetic which is handy. Not that gold teeth usually are magnetic. I started thinking of Jaws, the baddy in one of the old James Bond films. He had metal teeth ~ I was thinking that they were magnetic but of course they weren't. 007 used a big electromagnet to pick him up with and then dumped him in the fish tank at lunchtime.

Joseph, be quiet, you've been talking utter rubbish for the past half hour and everyone's disappeared. You're like an annoyingly loud walkman droning on in the background of people's internet lives ~~~~

Oh. Ok.

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Over 70% of Europeans are AGAINST Genetically Modified Food.

But, that's not stopping Bush from taking legal action against the European Union to force it upon us.

Why would he want to do that? Perhaps the fact that Monsanto, the world's largest GM producer, is one of his staunchest financial supporters might have something to do with it.

Never mind the health of billions of people around the world, consumer choice or the environment:


America's un-elected power-hungry puppet is now seeking to control what the world eats,
by forcing the European Union to overturn its current restrictions on GM imports.



Sign the Citizen's charter


Sign the Citizen's charter


Sign the Citizen's charter


George Bush is using the World Trade Organisation to force-feed you genetically modified food. You can help stop them: Bite Back below and sign the Citizens' Objection.

Biotech companies have invested billions into GMO products that nobody needs and nobody wants. Such products take away consumer choice, make farmers dependent on big business and undermine food security in developing countries. Nobody knows what risks they pose to people’s health and the environment.

To force GMO products into global markets, George Bush has filed a legal dispute at the WTO, accusing the European Union of blocking trade by restricting GMOs. If successful, not only will the EU have to accept genetically modified food and farming but so will the rest of the world.

You can help stop them: Bite back and sign the Citizens’ Objection to the WTO today



To recap what its all about: In May 2003, the US (sided by Argentina and Canada) filed a formal complaint to the World Trade Organisation, accusing the European Union to illegally restrict trade in genetically modified organisms (GMOs). After the US and the EU had failed to reach an agreement during a consultation phase, the US requested the establishment of a panel that will listen to the arguments from both sides. So far, the parties have failed to agree on these panelists, but it seems that the panelists will now be simply appointed by the WTO director general. A decision can be expected by the end of the year, possibly ruling against people's health and the environment, because under the WTO the protection of both is not enough reason to prevent the use of GMOs. Europe would either face billions of Euros in penalty tariffs or have to weaken its rules on the use of GMOs.

The fact that there *may* be a WTO decision against Europe's restrictions over GMOs scares the European Commission, who is now caving in under WTO pressure. The European Commission has announced that, in response to the pending WTO complaint, it will lift the de facto Moratorium on the approval of new GMOs, whether EU member states agree or not, and also put pressure on EU member states to lift national bans on GMOs (such as those in Austria, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Greece and the UK). This ignores more than 70 per cent of Europeans who do not want GMOs.

In the meantime, big US agri-business is not satisfied with the current WTO case. Instead, they are again lurking around the US government, demanding to launch another complaint against the new EU GMO labeling rules that will enter into force in April 2004. No wonder, as it may be difficult to sell GMO products if people have the freedom to choose. Their recent letter to President Bush implies that allowing people to choose what they eat would again be conflicting with global free trade rules: "[The new labeling and traceability laws] are non-tariff trade barriers that violate World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations and will result in significant losses to the U.S. and agriculture industry. [...] [We] believe it is time to engage the EU in a WTO dispute settlement proceeding, and we urge that you initiate such action immediately".

+++ ends

Sign the petition  NOW and  help us BITE BACK!


Bite back and sign the Citizens’ Objection to the WTO today


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Sunday 7th March 2004 - 09:16GMT - on my beanbag in Bristol

Love knows no boundaries

Is it natural to find oneself incredibly engrossed in reading one's own mumblings as if they were written by someone amazingly interesting and talented? That tends to happen to me quite a lot. What with having Tame Goes Wild as my homepage I can't help but see it every day... and I then I find myself thinking, hhm, I'd better just check that this link is working ok... (it may have worked yesterday, but that was 24 hours ago and 24 hours is a long time in cyberspace)... then I find myself here reading the Daily Mumble (well, I'd better just check for spelling mistakes)... this morning I got quite a shock from all that yellow up there. Don't remember writing that. Well, this mumble fetish must be an extension of my narcissism. Speaking of which there's a lovely couple of daffodils in my window box.

Anyway what this is all leading to is my latest piece of fan mail: this letter comes from a girl who happened to read an article that I wrote for a magazine a while back. I knew I was in for a rough ride when I first opened it and saw the little picture on the first page of a heart containing the words "share my love".

Our history is quite simple: she wrote to me, I sent her a short reply thanking her for the letter, and now she has sent this Shakespearean sonnet. It opens:

"My dearest I know it is now a long time without any communication but I hope this time is the time to talk to you. Here I am okay only wishing to see you...

Share my love...

"My friend you had showed me your love by replying to my letter. From the time I received your letter I was very excited... I was thinking that maybe I was going to touch the sky with my happiness. Mr Tame you have some hobbies like me. Why are they the same? Why my friend? We have the same minded do you see that?...

"I want to go to South Korean and Japan with you... one day we will be together with our visit together...

"I send you one of my photo. Take it, but next time I will send you my best photo. I need yours please. This is my phone number XXX XXX XXXX XXX please call me, I need your number please...

"I love you. xxxx"

I may laugh, but I know that this woman comes from a place where the dominant cultural ideology is very different to that of the west. What we're seeing here is a very minor example of what happens when vastly differing cultures cross. Her attitude towards finding a (western) husband (that being her ultimate goal) does not fit ito my chosen cultural ideology, and so has resulted in me ridiculing it... I would like to write more on the subject, but I lack the skill and knowledge required to do so. Give me a few years and I'll get with it.

Still, these kinds of differences absolutely fascinate me, and are responsible for a fair amount of my attraction to Japanese Studies.

OOohhh hang on a minute,



The Daily Mumble can reveal that following the horrific cold weather last week which saw thousands of fatalities across the UK, Mr. Frog & his wife have been busy having sex, resulting yesterday in the birth of 465 healthy spawn.

A spokesman for the family said "Croak croak. Croak croak, croak."

It is understood that this will not affect the childrens' entitlement to free swimming lessons when they are 2 months old.

However, the day was marred when news came through that aunty Gertrude, a well known Frog in central Manchester, had been the victim of a viscous assault by a local cat leaving her with only one leg. She is now on a frog-support machine in Lilyleaf Central Hospital, awaiting a replacement limb from the Paris based NGO Reclaim Our Legs.


The above story is dedicated to the headless frog that I found by the pond this morning - victim of a cat attack.

[It has since been pointed out to me that frogs actually have 4 legs, not 2 as insinuated in my piece. I was thinking of the upper two as being arms, you see]

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Sunday 14th March 2004 - 08:09GMT - on my beanbag in Bristol

Launch of a new exhibition

To celebrate the fact that today is March 14th, a new exhibition is being launched in The Gallery.

When Joseph Tame found himself on a bus journey that had cost him £2, he figured that the mere transportation of his physical body between Brixham ("the Verruca on the foot of England") and Paignton was not worth such an excessive outlay. To prevent a violation of his rights, the artist decided to make use of his immediate surroundings in a way which until then had never been attempted.

Joseph began to photograph the seats.

Number 12 to Paignton can be seen in the March 2004 Gallery from today onwards.
Entry is free.

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Sunday 14th March 2004 - 09:09GMT - on my beanbag in Bristol

yeah but no but

So like yeah but she said yeah but no but...

Oohhh I'm in a really weird space. I feel like I've got jet lag / culture shock. Spent the last two days with my girlfriend down in Devon. Two days of living in a Japanese world, two days of getting more attached - and suddenly it's over. Two hours on a train have served to severe the connection between me and where my emotions had settled. The jet lag was brought about by a lack of sleep ;-p

Can't stop fidgeting today. Can't fit back into the sock that was life before my little trip south. It's shrunk in the wash. Been trying to manipulate my emotional shape back into last week's foot through music. In my quest for the appropriate piece I came across a track recorded by my old classmate, Billy Salisbury (as in - you'll find a link to the MP3 track in his Blog entry for today). I was really impressed by it, I mean, he sounds really professional! Surely professional singers / musicians aren't real people ..? Are they? I thought they were from a different world. Apart from my brother and the band he's in, The Puff. Hhm, bearing in mind the amount of alcohol that's consumed during their sessions maybe that wasn't such a good example.

Yeah so anyway...


That didn't help much.

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Wednesday 17th March 2004 - 09:09GMT - on my beanbag in Bristol

The Daily Josephgraph

As you can see I gave up trying to manipulate myself back into last week's foot.

The good news is that I am feeling much better now, partly due to the fact that I have just completed my Access maths module. It's a very basic course, but it's good to have it out of the way. Here, have a look at one of my beautiful graphs.

...Did you click on it? Ha ha!! Gotcha! Cunning advertisement for my photo albums hey?

Erm yes but yeah but anyway no.

Oooh it's all happening in two weeks now. Getting nervous ~

I had a chance to do a good deed yesterday. At college, one of my classmates had given a presentation on bystander apathy, i.e. when someone's in trouble and bystanders do nothing but ignore the situation, or acknowledge it and still do nothing. We heard the true story of an American woman who was stabbed to death over a period of 30 minutes in a parking lot in a residential area. 38 people witnessed the prolonged attack, yet no-one did a thing until 5 minutes after the woman had died. It reminded me of something that I wrote about 14 months back in The Daily Mumble, and how shocked I'd been by those relatively minor cases of bystander apathy. At the time I put it down to culture - I can now see that that was unfair.

Yesterday then, I was on my way to college, eating my marmalade sandwich, when I saw an empty parked car with a bunch of keys in the door. Rather than immediately do something about it, I registered the situation, and carried on walking... but after a few metres scolded myself for being so apathetic (I then went on to track down the owner who was extremely grateful). The thing that gets me though is that I hesitated to do something about it. Where's my altruistic nature that I like to believe that I have? Am I even capable of true altruism? That's something that's always troubled me - so far when debating that one I've always come to the conclusion that it's not possible for me to be absolutely altruistic - there's always something in it for me. I guess you could argue that that's always the case - but one can choose to not feed off the benefits that are produced as a result of selfless acts.

You know people talk about belly-buttons being "inies" or "outies", well it's just occurred to me that I've never seen an "outie", and this leads me to doubt their existence. Do you have an outie? Photos welcome.

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Monday 22nd March 2004 - 07:29GMT - on my beanbag in Bristol

Oh the irony: my dying mouse

There I was on Saturday, down the road at the computer place admiring all the mice both tailed and tailess, thinking "mm, I'd like to buy one" and then "no. don't be silly, you've already got a mouse!" ...and then what should happen today? Yep, you guessed it, my mouse starts to lose its tail. Having been born a tailed mouse it's not much use without one. Tends to lose its balance you know.

So, today, it's Monday. The biggest changes to my life since the last time there were some big changes in my life will begin to change this week, in a kind of changeable fashion. I have been informed that my contract, which expires on Friday, shall not be renewed at the electricity company for whom I've been working since last June. I was actually only a temp anyway, and was supposed to leave in December when my original contract ended. Due to an excellent relationship with my manager I have been able to negotiate monthly extensions to this, which have also included expenses for the train and taxi that I've had to take to get there following the closure of the company's head office here in Bristol. My manager has asked me several times if I will please stay on, but my college commitments mean that I've had to turn her down. Now that's the way I like to leave a job!

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that as of Friday I am unemployed, oh, and it'll be the Easter holidays soon as well, so I'll be a 7-days-a-week-free man! Tee hee! That's gonna give me the chance that I need to get to grips with the four outstanding essays that I have (and when I say "outstanding" I'm not talking about the great definition!).

The next big change in my life will be financial. I now have £17,000 on credit cards, debts that I am finding I cannot sustain. There may be ony one way out - I'm looking into it. What gets me is that the credit companies are constantly throwing more money at me - only this morning did I receive a Credit Card Cheque Book accompanied by a letter which starts off by saying "You could use a cheque to give yourself some extra cash" and ends with "P.S. carry the chequebook around with you and make the most of your credit card". Irresponsible lending or what?!

Following that I shall be turning my attention to finding funding for my university degree course. I am expecting to have my fees paid in full by the local authority, and my accomodation should be covered by a £4000 student loan. There's also talk of a new £1000 student GRANT (yes, GRANT! I know, I also thought they were just something from the good old days!) being introduced this year, which should enable me to buy a loaf of bread once a week in addition to the mandatory student can of Tesco Value Baked Beans. (That was a a JOKE by the way. If anyone ever sees me shopping alone in Tesco's I give them permission to smash a large watermelon over my head, what with Tesco's being perhaps THE most evil of all the supermarkets in the UK.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Melanie did some tie-dying at the weekend.
I took this photo when the material was hanging on the line.
I liked the contrasting colours.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Oh no! He's had it! My baby! He's not responding to my hand movements, my gentle caresses! He's paralysed!

I know he's still alive - his little red eye is shining bright, but he's not responding to treatment!

We have been together for so long! I bought you back in 2002, in Yodobashii Kamera, Shinjuku, Tokyo. I remember selecting you from the hundreds on display.

You squeaked to me, "Joseph, let me be your little mouse! Let me be the one whose buttons you press, whose wheel you scroll, whose red eye you bring light to with the power of your USB port!"

Oh mouse, my mouse. We've been through so much together. We have crossed continents, your graceful movements across my screen have had far-reaching consequences for me. I love you my mouse. Goodbye.

Good job this is a laptop (with its own mousepad).

OH OH OH OH I'm feeling happy today. Why? Because I slept well last night. I've been having some bloomin' awful dreams lately, involving everything from family members being locked up in towers to die to David Beckham cutting down all the trees in the street, concreting over our back garden and abusing his children. B******.

My sleep pattern is all topsy-turvey at the moment. I've been staying down at my girlfriend's in Devon one or two nights a week, but the thing is, she's only got a single bed. Now if I was only as big as her it wouldn't be a problem, but I'm not. My arms are positively telescopic by comparison. My hands are as big as her feet (we measured). I wake up all through the night with limbs that are deader than my dead mouse. It's not a pleasant experience. The only solution is to stay awake all night, which we tend to do anyway ;-p but this is no good for one's mental health the following day, especially when one is mental in any case.

Did you notice that I've started using the term "girlfriend"? Scary isn't it.

I seem to remember swearing to myself that I would never again land myself in a long-distance relationship, and yet what have I gone and done? Landed myself in a long-distance relationship. Well, she is VERY sexy... But that doesn't change the fact that that I live 2 hours away from her. This is currently not an issue as I need my personal space and time to do my college work, but what's going to happen in the summer? I don't want to move cause BRISTOL'S WHERE IT'S AT in the summer, what with all our festivals etc. And what's going to happen in September when she goes back to Japan and I go to Sheffield? I tell you what - we're gonna get hurt!! Hip Hip Hooray!! We all know how addicted I am to relationships that involve an element of international tragedy. I hardly know any different, having only ever had one relationship with an English lady. Am I the English equivalent of a Singaporean Sarong Party Girl? I wonder what the Japanese term is for women who only date foreigners? There must be one. I wonder what it's like to have a relationship with someone from the same culture as you who speaks the same language (my former gf of British origin was from the north, thus the cultural and language barriers were quite strong : -)

Right, college is beckoning. Must be off. Tattaa.

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Monday 22nd March 2004 - 18:36GMT - on my beanbag in Bristol

a new mouse in the house

What a weird day. It's been so... free. Like a holiday. Why's that? Think it was all the talk today about end-of-year exams. Made me feel like it's nearly all over. Well, it is. Mind you, could have been the retail therapy. Bought my new mouse. It's very sexy. Bit more hardcore than my last one.

Also, this afternoon I spent all of my Nectar points. Nectar, for those of you who don't have the misfortune of being exposed to the British capitalistic media circus, is a kind of loyalty-scheme type thing. Whenever you shop in certain supermarkets, whenever you use particular credit cards, whenever you buy electricity from my employers (until Friday), you get given these nectar points. I think it's one point for every £1 spent. Ok, so I've been collecting these things since about 1996 when I first got a credit card. In 8 years I saved up 9,000 of them, so that's what, £9,000 (US$16,600) spent, right? Must be worth a fortune, right? Wrong. I went into one of the shops today where I can redeem them, and they're worth a wopping (wait for it) £45. Impressive hey. So what did I spend my hard-earned points on? Something I've been wanting for a long time, for almost a year in fact: a Suihanki. With it's fully automatic tecnique and the ability to keep things warm for up to four hours until you're ready to begin, it's a beauty. Came with 6 recepticals too, and an instruction booklet. In addition to reminding me of home (a.k.a. Tokyo) it will also serve to keep me alive next year when I attempt to live on a student's budget. Put it on in the morning and it will provide me with enough filling for the whole day. Yes, I can see myself getting very attached to my rice cooker.

As you can tell I really get off on the small things in life. Like rice cookers. And new mice. And psychology assignments...

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Thursday 25th March 2004 - 21:17GMT - on my beanbag in Bristol

email from the top

Guess who sent me an email today...

Yes, the big prat himself, Prime Minister Tony Blair.

In his mail he prattled on about listening to the general public and thanked me for taking part in a recent nationwide debate, the Big Conversation - essentially a government PR stunt. What they do is consult with us, the people, go away with all our comments, and then come back and do exactly what we all said we didn't want.

Take GM food for example. Over 80% of us said we didn't want it in the government's nationwide GM Debate last year. So what did the government do last week? Give the go-ahead to the commercial growing of GM crops in the UK. I thought the timing of the next email to land in my inbox (as seen above) could not have been better.

Now, bearing in mind all that I've just said, let's have a look at extracts from both of those emails.

First: Prime Minister Tony Blair

I have been delighted by the tremendous response not just because of the sheer numbers participating, over 30,000 people have shared their views with us, but because each of those individuals, people like you, took the trouble to make a positive contribution to the future of their country. Contributions like yours are going to make a real difference to the Labour Party's policy making.

Second: Friends of the Earth

Blair gives the go ahead to GM

The Government's long-awaited GM policy statement finally emerged on 9th March, giving the go-ahead for growing a type of GM maize. The decision ignores the view of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, public opinion and considerable scientific uncertainties. But there's a long way to go before we see it planted; the Welsh Government still has to give permission, and Friends of the Earth will appeal against any approval.

Read the full story here

I rest my case.

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Sunday 28th March 2004 - 19:50 GMT+1 I'm on a train...

honesty and vacuum cleaners

It's one of those trains that we get quite a lot of in the South West at weekend. They start as trains, turn into buses at Exteter, then back into trains at Taunton.


It's over. I am free man. My contract at EDF Energy/London Energy/SWEB Energy/Seeboard Energy has ended, I am now unemployed. The party started Friday night in the privacy of my girlfriend's room and ended this afternoon after a fantastic dance routine at my brother's. Performed by us.

Yes so like yeah but no but it's like. I think I'm gonna give meself a holiday. No work work, no study work for a week or so. Oh, yeah, I know I got college tomorrow but like we don't really have to do anything in class but throw screwed up balls a paper at teacher.

Saw a film called Road Trip yesterday. The unedited director's cut extended previously unseen triple rated special release bonus-scene video release version edition. In the American Pie vein it was. Caw, best film I've seen in ages, thoroughly reccommend it, for a bit of Saturday morning entertainment when hung over from a night without sleep. You know, when you feel totally out of it, sort of floating around above the sofa.

Ah, train's coming into Bristol, gotta shut down for bit. shall i get a taxi home from the station? I got my bike down there but i really can't be bothered cause i'm such a naughty lazy boy.


so yeah it was really weird. my bro and me were listening to Radio 1 on the TV like - he was given a freeview digibox by a neighbour - and there was this song right, and we started dancing to it right, but we we were like, "what's the steps to this, I dunno, we need steps like". So I goes "yeah but ang on i'll shange the channel" and i did like and what i found like was a pop channel with a song that's out at the moment called the "cha cha" or summit like that, and like the whole song was a big dance routine where like the singer is actually telling you what steps to take. so we did that, and it was great.

like how often does that happen, where the tv actually shows you exactly what you want to see. like unusual or what, or in Japanese mezurashii.

classic sunday today. Ah, who turned the italics on? Oh, it was me, above. Yeah, so very nice morning, then over to me bro's for sunday lunch. oooh it were deliscious I tell ya, but without the spelling mistake. Roast vegees, great stuffin, extras and all, then Tatty's chocolate chocolatey stuff - oh it were gorgeous. Game of Scrabble - bro won cause I came up with a word that used all my letters, and cos of that held back from putting anything down, wanting to wait for the chance to pick up the use-all-your-letters bonus of 50 points. You know how it goes, you miss out on all soprts of chances by holding on like that. Don't do it Joseph, if it's meant to happen it will. Didn't follow that advice though today did ya. lost at scrabble didn't ya joseph.

And now I find myself listening to Rod Stewart - do ya see how one's day can go awry?

Classic today: I'd been playing around at me bro's place with him and his lady louise by doing very silly things such as phoning their landline from my mobile, and answering on their behalf in mad ways such as high pitched screams. Anway, a while later I went to the toilet. Whilst sitting there I heard the phone ring in the corridor, then I heard Louise pick it up and say

"Yes?! How many loo rolls?!!"

- she thought it was me mucking about again.

It wasn't.

It was a very very polite but serious woman who had seen one of me brother's psychotherapy leaflets and wanted him to give a talk to a spiritual group in June. Louise swore violently internally whilst trying to hold back the huge burst of laughter that wanted to escape following the realisation that she'd made a huge gaff. Stephen took the call, and there was no further mention of loo rolls (such as an explanation) at all, just a violently serious straight-jacket business like phone conversation.

We laughed, we laughed our ruddy heads off. It were classic, but I guess you had to be there.

Watched quite a bit of a shopping channel too. Now there was a space odyssey and a half. In the middle of a high pressure sale of a set of 9 lovely maroon-blue bathroom towels (only £39.99, but they're going fast) the presenter suddenly said "and I know there's been talk of me joining a rival company but I just wanna say that this morning I sat down with the producer of this program and signed another contract. I'm staying here so don't you worry about the rumours". Is this guy for real? I said to myself, a little concerned that he was going to digress further, informing viewers of the northerly progress of his left-leg's rash.

Anyway, look, I gotta go do some rappin YO YO WIGGY, and tomorrow I'm signing on, going to college, recovering from this full-on weekend of pins and needles and phone calls. And fun.

Joseph's a very happy boy, you know that.

But, he keeps on mixing two Japanese words up when talking with his girlfriend:

Shoujiki and Soujiki

Thing is, their meanings are quite different. The first means HONESTY, and the second means VACUUM CLEANER.


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Tuesday 30th March 2004 - 19:50 GMT+1 on my beanybag at home in Bristol, UK

Piece for Solo Flute & Dolphin Dance

Oh dear. I just found a song on my hard drive called Piece for Solo Flute & Dolphin Dance. How did it slip past my antivirus software? Needless to say, I've had to delete not only the song, but the whole folder that contained it, you can't be too careful with songs that have titles like that.

Oh, what's that sound I hear?

pup pa pa pa pa pup paaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Ah, it must be the sound of me blowing my own trumpet!!!

"But why's that?" I hear you cry.

Well, Joseph's got another marked assignment back from teacher, and guess what teacher said:

"An excellent report. All assessment criteria met. Your work is outstanding and even more, getting better. Your level of commitment to the course is a credit to you - and to me."

Well, what else would you expect from me?

I've been told I should go into psychology. I think I do enough of that already by continuously looking into my own mind - and I tell you, what I see in there most of the time is not pleasant, so I don't think I really want to go exploring any others.

I was wondering the other day, how do geese decide who's going to go at the front when they fly in a V? The other thing I was wondering is are there any Bird Olympics? You know, there's bird-sports to test sense of direction, speed, agility and aiming during in-flight toileting, well, do they hold an annual international competition to find the numero uno's in the Bird World?

I know that swans would definately win the "Best Impression of a Boeing 737" competition.

So, yesterday I signed on at the Job Centre. I think the weekly benefit for the unemployed is now about £55, oh, then there's housing benefit too which'll cover my rent. Should keep me afloat during my bankruptcy. I have a date at court next Thursday, 11am.

Anyway, have a billion and one things to do, tarra.

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Wednesday 31st March 2004 - 10:50 GMT+1 hung over on my beanybag at home in Bristol, UK

My body is really suffering this week.

Last night my best mate here in Bristol, Jo, introduced me to a local bar that sells Fosters for only £1.29 a pint. That was a dangerous move. Even more so because they also sold organic cider made in my home town of Hereford.

Beat Takeshi as Zatoichi

In a state of, erm, well I was drunk, we headed for the Watershed, Bristol's #1 for world cinema (where I met my bearded librarian blind date last summer), and took our seats for Zatoichi, Takeshi Kitano's latest epic (trailers here; website here). It was GRRREEEEEAAT!!

"Zatoichi is the famous, fictional, blind masseur and roving gambler who, when innocent lives are threatened, becomes the ruthless swordsman who can cut down a dozen men - yakuza and samurai alike - before they know what hit them.

He's as famous a film character in Japan as the Indiana Jones character is in the States. He wandered the Japanese countryside in the early 1800s during the waning years of the Tokugawa Shogunate, barely scraping a living by giving massages and gambling. Although saddled with the physical handicap of blindness and the social handicap of living at the bottom of a rigid feudal class structure, Zatoichi manages to gain the upper hand with nearly everyone he meets, including the samurai or warrior class. He achieves this by using his good-natured wit, perceptive understanding of human nature, keen sense of hearing, and the lightning fast draw of his cane sword."

I'm a big fan of Takeshi - my love of his stuff began years back in Switzerland when I used to watch Takeshi's Castle on cable. These days I watch his films on DVD to try and improve my listening skills, although I can't say I learnt much Japanese last night - I found it difficult enough just trying to read the English subtitles!

oh I've got a million and one things to do, like my weekly household chore, cleaning the toilet...

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