Thursday, June 24, 2010


I got an idea last night while lying in bed worrying about my various problems. This entry may never see the light of day for reasons that will soon become obvious, but just the prospect that it might fills me with hopeful glee as I run to the keyboard not with my usual dread, but with the same exhilaration I get when I’ve solved a difficult adventure game puzzle while far from the computer and must churn the solution over mentally until I can see it to fruition. My last few entries, distorted as they were, went unmolested by my superiors because I technically didn’t break any rules. Therefore, I should be able to produce this bit of nonsense and earn some freedom with my remaining 427 words. Feel free to skim lightly:

Advancement of categorical inherent qualities is merited by an excess of contemporary achievement. The goal of exhibiting high-quality consideration must be incorporated. Utilization of appropriate capacities is necessitated by mass standardization. The situation is rectified by careful fragmentation of the original usage. Countering commensurate commitments is candidly captivated covering chaste chicanery.

I’ve randomly assembled these fifty-one words together to fulfill both the passive voice requirement and the five sentences necessary for a full paragraph. I’ve used (perhaps “utilized” is more appropriate?) more than the minimum eight words from the required vocabulary list. The content is irrelevant, but there are no rules about content. So, as long as I don’t use any emoticons in the rest of this entry, I’ve technically done everything I needed to do. (The above picture also has no bearing on anything, and is just a screen cap Mike and I took from Microsoft Golf.)

I used to think that one could create beauty out of restriction and order, and though it may be possible for some, I’m not that talented, and lack the willingness to conform. There are also some restrictions that are near impossible to work around. For instance, I challenge anyone to coherently discuss a current event with only the following seven words: inopportune, six, assimilate, tungsten, magic, derogatory, paper. You can’t do it, can you? You could probably use an artistic flourish to turn them into an interesting poem, but I doubt you’d get much farther.

I realize my example is ridiculous, but there really are some things that not even the most talented of artists can make beautiful. More realistic guidelines can yield more positive results. Oliver Goldsmith wrote The Vicar of Wakefield (I mention this as a citation, not a reference) solely for money, using a familiar plot and style of the time. His restrictions were fairly loose, and the result was an entertaining and well-written novel. Sometimes you can deliver a final product in accordance with the rules, and sometimes you have to skip deftly through the loopholes to achieve your own ends. Like now.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Egregious feelings of overwhelming dread and moroseness are experienced by me as I lay in bed attempting to achieve vertical stature but lacking the capacity, for today is Monday and the awareness of my deadline looms over me like a choking sickness. Strange hoarseness of breath is exhibited when I go online knowing that some vicious notification of chastisement and ridicule awaits me. I break into cold sweats as I scramble through conflicting rules, categorically quadruple-checking every line for accidental transgressions that threaten my well-being. But that’s all in a day’s work. I write in a blog.

My enemy is negatively possessed of the capability of being seen by me. It cannot be clearly imagined, and shifts seamlessly into disguises I swat at but can never catch. It controls all, and cannot be argued with, bargained with, or reasoned with. (Any similarity this sentence may bear to any film, literary, television, or other such quotation is purely coincidental.) My tracks have to be covered well. If the knowledge of how to counteract its tactics was possessed by me, I’d utilize it.

No rules were meant to be broken. The knowledge that the link was prohibited was not possessed by me, for I didn’t understand what they wanted. (If you’d really cared about doing a good job, you’d have read the rules thoroughly.) I was the recipient of confusion. (That doesn’t matter. It’s not your job to question the rules—it’s your job to follow them.)

Long ago, the foremost goal previously assembled by me was to write well. But there is this fear justified now by me (one that I’m certain was never there before, though maybe I always just ignored it) that this objective has been obscured behind lines of endless regulations whose sole purpose is to ensnare me. No—it’s more than that. Malice is not their primary consideration. It is some twisted, categorical attempt to mold perfection out of routine and order, as if creativity could be pounded out on an assembly line and innovation sold wholesale.

Creativity was previously possessed by me. Ideas necessitating to be utilized for allotment among the masses was a primary consideration of mine. (I just wanted to do a good job on this blog.) Contradiction is inherent in the juxtaposition of these two differentiating apperceptions. I am tied variously by loyalty and self-expression, and one of them has to go. (I could quit, but I don’t want to.) So, instead, my opinions are checked by me at the door. (You have to. It’s your job.) It would be done so that I might continue manufacturing these entries, though the burden of the rules combines with the constant hounding for more output, more words, more vocabulary, and more money. (I hear those words in my sleep; a casualty of overwork. Speaking of which, I mustn’t forget the final obligation.) Itterasshai.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


June Status Update from Blogger
To: Ian Rogers
Sent: June 16, 2010

Dear Blogger User,

It’s been another great month for Blogger! Your hard work and high-quality entries have made the site better than ever, and an increase in reader traffic is a clear indication of this result. Since we enacted the new User Guidelines, more and more readers have been turning to Blogger as their source of information, news, and opinions packaged in a concise, professional, easy-to read format.

Consider the numbers for May. Compared with April, site traffic increased 27.59%, with repeated blog viewings increasing an average of 43.62%. This has brought about an increase in ad revenue of over 63.2%, with the Advertising Department working harder than ever to achieve our goal of a 150% increase in advertising. Our ultimate goal is to become more popular than Google, and together we can do it!

Finally, the Quality Control Team would like to remind you to be brief in your sign-offs. The User Guidelines specifically require a one or two-word sign-off message to close out every blog as a way of making your readers comfortable. Surveying indicates that readers feel more personally connected to a blog where a familiar goodbye message awaits them at the end of every entry. However, a sign-off longer than two words is not only prohibited under the Guidelines, but also wastes valuable space that could otherwise be utilized for establishing more high-quality content, right?

We’re looking forward to another great month in June. Let’s all work hard to achieve our financial goals!


The Erochikan Financial Management and Achievement Team

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Various Pieces and Patterns of Motion Involved in Shogi

Japanese chess, or shogi, is a game necessitating multitudinous skill and consideration. It was discovered by me through conversations with various Japanese people, and though the majority of those spoken to professed some familiarity with the game, it appears to be played only by middle school students and the elderly. I recently acquired a cheap set on an excursion to Tokyu Hands, which is located in Shinjuku. (If I had the space, I’d write more details about that day because I really want this to be a good entry. I’ll try hard to make it so.)

Shogi is played on a nine by nine board, with some pieces maintaining similarity to Western chess pieces, and others bearing little resemblance. As a paragon, each player possesses nine pawns (would the Japanese name, fu, be more appropriate?) possessing the sole capacity of forward motion. The variance lies in the capturing of opponent’s pieces, an action which must be enacted by moving forward instead of on the diagonal plane. (Did my last parenthetical clause count as a sentence? Scrolling through dense rules attempting to find out leaves me more confused than before.)

One bishop and one rook are possessed by each player, though no piece resembling the queen has been incorporated into the game. Two knights are prohibited from moving backward, and progress forward in their customary pattern. Consequently, a player’s attacking power is inhibited by the number of pieces solely possessing short-range kinetic means. (That parenthetical half-sentence worries me. Does it break the rules? Will I be caught and subject to berating and revision by unseen hands?) These other pieces, though initially a confusing exhibition, require further explanation so that their function may be understood by the novice player.

One such piece, the lance, is placed along both edges and can only be propelled directly forward. (I have only 171 words left, and fear I will be unable to properly sort them into two five-sentence paragraphs with enough room for a final sign-off.) Initially flanking the king—whose locomotive patterns are identical in both versions—are two gold generals which move one space in any direction with the exception of backward diagonally. Two silver generals (I have a headache, but it’s nearly 7:04 and I must make my deadline) are utilized for backward diagonal defense. However, they lack the sideways motion necessary for expeditious flux along the back lines.

This combination of (I could revise and write this well—including all the number-crunching—if only I had more time) limited mobility achieves (It’s my own fault. I should have finished this yesterday instead of Skyping with Kyle and climbing Mt. Atago in the cool evening breeze. Work always comes first) a uniquely tight game (Taking those silly pictures took time too. I needed that visual) quite unlike the (I just want to be done) distant strategizing of Western chess. Itterasshai.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Some nights I sit on my balcony and watch the bats fluttering over the rooftops. (Or, rather; some nights the bats are the recipient of observation by me, a goal achieved by the utilization of my balcony. I’m not quite sure which anymore.) I used to think they were late-flying birds swooping across the twilight horizon until I took a closer look, for their wing patterns and dark outlines are different; more menacing. As summer rolls in they become more and more of a companion to my free evenings.

I want very badly to write an extra word in the title of this entry, but cannot. It is an ordinary word that people utilize everyday (more common than some of the other language that has infested my writing lately), but pairing it with the subject of the previous paragraph would cause swift, invisible retaliation for reasons I’m not sure I’m allowed to explain. These words evoke my panicked mindset as I skim fretfully over sudden changes brought down while I’ve been away, or as I lose my breath in a dry panic at the e-mails darkening my Inbox with their professional grade-headers and polite bearings of chastisement and derision. But I can’t justify incorporating those two words into this entry. I’ve been told they don’t belong.

There are, of course, certain deadlines that have to be adhered to by me. It becomes more difficult to count paragraphs, sentences, words, vernacular, and bizarre shifts in narrative voice. I want very badly to talk about the bats but am not sure I can effectively do so in the space provided. There are other restrictions too that everyone else (I’m told) cheerfully follows with a carefree smile. Some even relish the challenge of forming newer, more creative ideas out of these restrictions. If I were a better writer, I could relish the challenge too, and express myself regardless of my circumstances. If I were a better writer.

When I think about giving up (which is often) I reflect instead on the glaring weaknesses that are so sternly pointed out to me, and want to overcome them. This is preferable to shutting down, going through the motions, and posting worthless drivel just to get the job done. (I wonder how many people resort to such just to finish their entries with that neat, orderly presentation that is so prized around here.) But this is my blog. I love it, and I can’t allow it to sink into standardized mediocrity.

In short, I feel driven. I am compelled to save this blog, to do the best I can, and to escape my horrendously inhibited predicament. I must forge through the murky gloom into which I’ve been enveloped. (Here I’d like very badly to quote the last lines of a novel by a certain favorite writer of mine. But that wouldn’t be appropriate.) Itterasshai.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Your Account Has Been Placed on Probation
To: Ian Rogers
Sent: June 4, 2010

Dear Mr. Rogers,

Our Quality Control Tracking Program has indicated that your entry dated 6/4/2010 is in violation of one or more of Erochikan’s User Guidelines:

1. All Blogger users are reminded that they are now a part of the Erochikan Corporation, and must refrain from posting any opinions that may be considered damaging to Erochikan or its subsidiary companies.

3. Blog entries and comment fields are not to contain links to any website advertising a product or service.

See below for a more detailed summary of the above violation(s):

LYLTY-A01: User has posted opinions or accusations threatening the reputation and/or methods of the Erochikan Corporation.

ADV-M389: User has linked to a website whose content contains a percentage of advertisements and/or product solicitations in excess of the maximum allowance.

In accordance with Blogger policy, your account has been placed on Probation. Users on Probation are forbidden from editing past entries, posting links of any kind, or making changes to material marked as objectionable by the Quality Control Team. Your blog will also be marked with a warning for readers to proceed with caution. Subsequently, qualified Quality Control Team technicians will be actively screening your entries for oversights that may have been overlooked by our automated scanning software.

Blogs on Probation remain as such indefinitely at the sole discretion of the Erochikan Corporation. Please note that continuing to provide high-quality entries in accordance with the User Guidelines will greatly increase your chances of being downgraded from Probationary status expeditiously.

We hope you see this as an opportunity to more closely observe the User Guidelines.


The Erochikan Blogger Quality Control Team


Re: RE: Your Account Has Been Placed on Probation
To: Ian Rogers
Sent: June 7, 2010

Dear Mr. Rogers,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to your notice of probation. If we understand you correctly, it seems that you are unclear as to the reasons why your most recent entry was in violation of the User Guidelines. The reasons are as follows:

In order to protect its reputation for quality content, Erochikan encourages all users to refrain from posting negative or overly critical opinions pertaining to Erochikan or Blogger. (Of course, positive comments regarding Erochikan are perfectly acceptable.) To aid users who may have overlooked this policy, the Quality Control Team flags overly-sensitive passages for user revision. This is different from censorship in that each user is completely free to edit or not edit the flagged passages as they see fit. And of course, users deciding independently which thoughts they want to express online is a far cry from involuntary censorship, right?

In your case, users on Probation are not allowed to edit entries flagged by the Quality Control Team, and such entries will remain flagged until the user has reacquired the necessary editing privileges.

As to your second point, the website you linked to was determined to be in excess of the maximum allowance for advertisements and/or product solicitations under guideline ADV-M389. The maximum allowance is calculated by taking the total number of words pertaining to solicited matter divided by the total number of words on the website. (For details about how pictures are tabulated into the word count and how different websites qualify for different solicitation allowances, see the complete guide to ADV-M389 on the Erochikan Quality Control website.)

From the general tone of your e-mails and recent entries, Mr. Rogers, I don’t think you fully understand the seriousness of your situation. The User Guidelines are not negotiable and were not created to limit your freedom of expression, but to help users create the best possible blog entries. It is not your place to disobey them, nor to gamble with so-called “creative endeavors” on a blog that is owned and controlled by the Erochikan Corporation. It is important to ensure the well-being of the parent company, and that is why we utilize methods that are guaranteed

Remember that only by producing high-quality content will your account be taken off Probation. We consider the matter closed, and if you have any other concerns we encourage you to take them up with the Dispute Department.


The Erochikan Blogger Quality Control Team

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I haven’t felt much like writing lately. On the one hand, I’ve been inhibited by the flash rainstorm that drenched my modem through the opened window, leaving me bouncing between customer service lines battling to see who could transfer me to another department the fastest. I of course pleaded ignorance as to the source of the problem, and feigned confusion while the NTT repairmen tested connections with his large diode-covered box. He smiled delightedly when he plugged in the new modem and found the connection rectified, and I saw him off with many thanks. That’s one reason.

The other reason merits further consideration. When Blogger was first acquired by the Erochikan Corporation, I wasn’t worried at all and ignored the news just like everyone else. But now I’ve noticed that [The following opinion is solely that of the writer, and does not necessarily represent a truthful or substantiated view of the topic under discussion. In the interest of providing the fullest treatment possible, certain passages have been flagged for removal and are currently undergoing revision. We appreciate your patience. Please check back soon for an updated, higher-quality version.] providing the reader a higher-quality entry really [This passage is undergoing revision] standardized narrative voices are a clear sign of [This passage is undergoing revision] utilizing [This passage is undergoing revision] that put an end to [This passage is undergoing revision] low-quality [This passage is undergoing revision] independent thought.

Also, the gratuitous thank-you’s in their e-mails [This passage is undergoing revision] they’ve selected a list of business words that [This passage is undergoing revision] I think [This passage is undergoing revision] categorically [This passage is undergoing revision] do the Internet a lot of good.

But yet I’m compelled to keep writing because if I don’t [This passage is undergoing revision] producing a lot of entries [This passage is undergoing revision] I’ve never been worried about the number of visitors here chiefly because [This passage is undergoing revision] and I think people read this blog [This passage is undergoing revision] Honestly though, I know that I’m much stronger than [This passage is undergoing revision] and can beat them if a clear head and strong convictions are adhered to.

Other than that, I recently assembled a few new entry labels, because my Japan tag was getting far too ubiquitous to be of any use. I’ve also been (for the two people still interested) making a lot of progress on the second draft of the Carcrash Parker script, and am nearing the light at the end of the tunnel. I may be posting more about that in next month, and will be on the lookout for anyone willing to give it a readthrough. Finally, last month when I linked to some fellow gaijin blogs, I completely forgot about my friend Jessie, who came over here for graduate school back in January. Under the heading of Lady Lara Jones, her blog has an overwhelming amount of info on Japanese pop culture, video games, and cosplay, as well as her personal experiences, so I encourage everyone to click [The following link leads to an nonsecure website. It has been blocked by the Erochikan Quality Control Team and the blogger issued a warning]. Itterasshai.