Die Motherfucker Die


“Death is the solution to all problems. No printer – no problem.” ~Joseph Stalin, quote only slightly modified

Hate is a strong word.  I realized that about the time of my divorce well over a decade ago.  It is not to be used lightly, or loosely.  And seriously, I don’t hate much, or often.

But, I can say, with great confidence, that I hate my printer.  My ex-printer, that is….

We bought this printer quite by accident.  Such is how these types of ill-fated relationship-to-be often begin.  It was, at first, innocent enough:  our regular household goods, crated months earlier in Pensacola for our overseas journey to Okinawa, Japan, were never shipped, but instead, left sitting idly by, collecting dust in some musty warehouse in the rural southeast United States.  Read about that here Castaway.

We were able to file an “inconvenience claim” against our movers for their negligence in, well, actually moving our goods.  Or forgetting to move our household.  So off to the Kadena Air Force Base Exchange we went to find a replacement printer since we both needed one to carry out the personal plan and business transactions of our days.

Of course, there was absolutely nothing wrong with our beloved printer from The States.  But having the opportunity to buy a new device on someone else’s dime (and rightfully so), we decided to “upgrade” to what seemed to be a popular HP set, one of those large all-in-one photocopiers, printers, scanners and fax machines.  And so the Demon found its way home with us.

Demon Printer started executing its seditious agenda almost immediately.  When our Household Goods finally arrived in Okinawa (a full two months late), and when our *beloved* trusty printer of the past was unpacked, we realized it was damaged, and damaged beyond repair or operation.  Coincidence?  I think not.

The “problems” with our new printer started almost immediately after putting our original unit to permanent rest.  …as if the Demon Printer knew it and it alone now ruled the tangible output of our electronic lives.

And as if we already sensed the darker nature of this particular device, it was relocated to a far corner of a far room, connected wirelessly to our home network.  Perhaps it was this locale that really triggered Demon Printer’s incessant interruptions in our lives, or perhaps it was just ill-tempered no matter.  Its fate was sealed quite early our tenuous relationship.

Constant connectivity problems.  Paper jams.  Running out of paper at the most inopportune times.  Drinking ink like a an alcoholic crashing an open bar wedding reception….  And so much more.  I quickly came to hate this particular machine, clearly a “no-talent ass-clown”.

But the Exchange kept carrying the model.  There will hundreds of ink cartridges available.  They sold the entire 3.5 years we lived there.  Was it just me?  Was it just this particular serial-numbered printer which had been demonized?

Every single time I hit “print” from my desktop computer in our comfortable living area, I would hear the Demon awake with gurgles and growls, and then almost every single time an error message would appear.  Pick one, any one, or all of them:  “out of ink,” “paper jam,” “not ready,” “not online,” “out of paper”….  Sometimes the Demon would simply refuse to stir, no doubt deep in some black magic trance.

I attempted rational solutions.  I tried to flush its memory by pulling power for minutes, even hours.  I checked that all the trays were seated securely, the wheels and gears all aligned properly, and stacks of paper and ink cartridges were locked in place and photo cards aligned and inserted.  All to no avail.

The printer, when powered up or upon receiving a document to print would start an orchestrated gyration of popping sounds, grinding gears, and mechanical motion.  All, one would think, to ready itself to print.  But more often than that, it was simply a prelude to an error message….

Clearly this was no normal all-in-one copier.  No, it was no doubt a paranormal printer.  An Exorcism was clearly in order.  Problem was, I’m no Saint (not even close), and while anyone should be able to compel the power of Christ to oust the Devil, this too failed.

I had planned, for the longest time, to kill this printer prior to leaving Okinawa.  But with overseas, international moves being what they are, making time for this execution was problematic.  Don’t get me wrong:  I had the plan, the people, the camera, and even the bat.  But it came down to my last 24 hours….

We kept that demon printer out in case we needed to print.  But we were NOT taking it home with us.  And, as it turns out, we did need to print some documents (those having to do with sending our wine home, will be the subject of its own blog I assure you).  So I go to connect to the printer wirelessly with my Surface.  I Can’t…of course.  Jody comes in and connects right away with her Surface and prints the document.  However, she realizes a mistake, fixes it and attempts to reprint.  Wait-WHAT??  MOTHER FUCKER IS NOW, SUDDENLY OUT OF INK!?  Jody and I standing there, laughing or else we would cry.  And this – its failure on its very last print job is what ultimately sealed the Demon Printer’s fate.  The clock was now ticking to DEATH.

By the by, I told Jody to change the font in the document to blue, and it did print.  POORLY.  But good enough to get our booze home….

Minutes before our departure for the airport, after our seven pieces of luggage, four carry-ons, and two cat crates had been loaded in our two-vehicle convey, and with no reprieve coming, some friends and I carried out the sentence.

Die Motherfucker Die.

Far East Flicks: Cinema in Japan


“Cinema should make you forget you are sitting in a theater.” ~ Roman Polanski

“Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world.” ~ Jean-Luc Godard

“The secret to film is that it’s an illusion.” ~ George Lucas

Kyoto Japan Winter 2014, goin' to the movies, deciphering the automated ticket machines, but no lines!

Ready to confront the automated ticket machines….

The refreshing experience of going to the movies in Japan is certainly no illusion. Rather, it’s a refreshing reality!

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The mix of English in Japan is interesting….

Jody and I were in Kyoto, and found ourselves rather exhausted from being continually on the go, playing the role of foreign tourist to a tee. Our feet were aching, our legs tired, and minds overwhelmed from the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of this enchanted Far Eastern foreign land. We had been transiting a major subway/rail station, and noticed that there was a movie theater on the 4th floor in the “small” mall attached to the train terminal: the TOHO Cinema in Nijo, Kyoto. I thought out loud, “Why not take in a movie?”

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If this isn't Academy Award material, I'm not sure what is!

If this isn’t Academy Award material, I’m not sure what is!

The cinema of Japan (日本映画 Nihon eiga, also known domestically as 邦画 hōga, “domestic cinema”) is one of the oldest and largest film industries in the world. In fact, as of 2010, it is the fourth largest as measured by the number of feature films produced, and earns domestically on the order of 55% of the box office total in the United States, a respectable amount indeed. Japan has won the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film four times, more than any other country in Asia. Too bad Godzilla wasn’t one of them. Thanks, snobbish saurophobic Academy members….

The Japanize movie "Zomboobies" was not a winner.  Yes, it's a real movie....

The Japanese movie “Zomboobies” was not a winner. Yes, it’s a real movie….

Sailor-suited Japanese Vampires never looked so good

Sailor-suited Japanese Vampires never looked so good

It’s rather funny that the second movie theater date that Jody and I have enjoyed over the last 4 years happened in Japan. Yes, we don’t go to the movies…much. Having a very large screen TV at home, along with our precious “char-and-a-half” (see the blog Easy Chair), combined with on-demand movies , our constantly updated Netflix Blu-ray movie queue, and reasonably priced extensive snack collection, there isn’t much reason to spend the money at the theater, only to sit with and next to strangers who seem more fixated on their cell phones than the movie…or on good manners.

The movie posters alone were worth the visit!

The movie posters alone were worth the visit!

Gravity was out back home, and I knew that it was one of those films that needed to be seen on the big screen with a massive sound system. We headed over to see what was playing, and sure enough, there it was, and showing in English at a time which allowed for us to maneuver successfully through this foreign experience.

The Mihama 7-Plex on Okinawa

The Mihama 7-Plex on Okinawa

A Geisha Franken-Girl??

A Geisha Franken-Girl??

I had been to the movies in Okinawa during my previous tours on Okinawa, and knew how pleasant the experience and venues could be. For starters, minors under 16 are not allowed in the theater past 6 pm, and there is no one under 18 after 10 pm, regardless of movie ratings or fake identifications in hand. In other words, it’s really a place to date with fellow adults, which significantly alters the theater cliental in Japan over what we normally encounter at home. While the ticket prices are a bit higher than the states, the food is much better and prices are actually reasonable¸ a quite refreshing relief from the fast-food capitalistic highway-robbery we often suffer through back in the states. As a passing note, there appeared to be an unnatural obsession with multi-colored churros, of which we chose not to sample. The tickets for our movie cost about $21 (each), plus an additional $1 for 3D glasses rental.

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Picking our assigned seats!

Picking our assigned seats!

However, prices are just the start. Like most transactions in Japan, buying tickets is totally automated and cash-free, which you might be thinking, is just like many theaters back home. However, there is a serious difference here in Japan: the automated system that dispenses tickets also allows you to reserve seats. Yes, reserved seating, all automated and quick! Oh, and the ticketing process can be all in English…after one finds the “English” button on the kanji-crowded touchscreen.

Kyoto Japan Winter 2014, goin' to the movies, Jody is the absolutely beautiful theater!

Jody following the rock garden in the floor.

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Not just for kids

Not just for kids

The theater was beautiful, incorporating a Kyoto-inspired rock garden under the floor, viewable through translucent floor tiling. Like most movie-going experiences, “coming soon” movie posters are seriously one of the more entertaining aspects of such an adventure! The seating is stadium style, and booster seats are so plentifully stacked by the theater’s entrance, it leads one to believe that not just children here use them. However, perhaps one of the coolest aspects of this movie-going experience was also one of the simplest: food trays ergonomically shaped and designed to fit the drink holder along the seat armrest. The tray, a cantilever design for you mathletes out there, incorporated its own dual drink holders, and served in essence as our table during the movie. Why we don’t have such small yet important conveniences back home is seriously a mystery to me….

The food tray was COOL, cool enough for DOUBLE peace signs!

The food tray was COOL, cool enough for DOUBLE peace signs!

 

cast me if you canThere were, unfortunately, commercials before the trailers (thanks again, American capitalism), which alternated between English when Western English-speaking directors explained their upcoming films in oddly dry and flat script and film, and also in Japanese. The audience was really respectful and almost too quiet. The Japanese, almost as a rule, actually adhere to the warnings about not using cellphones, talking, and even to the theater’s on-screen reminder not to kick the seats in front of you! If they can put down their cell phones here, certainly you can too in America. No one is that important.

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vampire-girl-vs-frankenstein-girlThe movie, besides being fantastically visually stunning and overwhelmingly action-packed, was in English with Japanese subtitles. After a very short period of viewing, the subtitles seem to disappear, and really not once detracted from the viewing. It’s interesting to note that a Japanese version of the movie was offered at other times; no doubt voice-overs would detract from the any film’s very essence. The sound system was energetic, and combined with the wide-screen and 3D effects, seeing Gravity in Kyoto certainly accelerated our enjoyment in this fanciful foray of our Far East Fling.

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