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6th of August, 1945.

Monthly Safety Meeting: Travel & Business Abroad

human capital, the softer issues,
and the flu-like symptoms of
culture shock.

when in the UK, avoid prolonged eye contact.

in Bangladesh, they say we will try
and this may be difficult,
which means
it can't be done.

Despite the fact that I've gotten 6 hours of sleep in the past 48 hours, and noding this is coming out of my sleep time (this dream woke me up at 6 in the morning, and I don't actually have to be up until 8), I had to get this down. I was scared that I'd forget it if I didn't write it immediately.

My laundry room is approximately 1.5m X 3m. Or, for those of you who think in imperial, 5 X 10.

It is a cramped, messy sort of room, with a washing machine and drier, a dishwasher that we don't use (it isn't even plugged in, the real dishwasher is in the kitchen. We don't even know if this one works anymore) and dusty unfinished hardwood shelves filled with obscure tools and other random objects, most of which no one ever uses anyway. The floor is littered with empty plastic and glass bottles, which someone is supposed to get around to recycling (no home pickup of stuff to be recycled, here), but it is unclear to whom this task should fall, and in any case no one does it. Additionally, my overworked older sister keeps on dumping her hamper in there, which is pretty unfair, since it makes it hard to move around. Maybe she thinks that if she physically puts her laundry within a few feet of the washing machine, she's more likely to get around to doing it. Or maybe that the laundry will magically wash itself. I don't know. As though it wasn't hard enough without her stinking laundry basket taking up half the available space.

In any case, in my dream, I'm standing in the laundry room.

Here's where it gets weird. There is a small, rusty sink on top of the defunct dishwasher, and a stove on top of the washing machine, where the drier normally is. In reality, we don't have a sink in the laundry room, let alone a stove. In any case, as it turns out, I'm running a burger joint out of my laundry room. People crowd outside of the open door, shouting their orders at me. It is hard, working in the tiny room, when 20 different people are asking me where their burger is and telling me that it should have been ready by now. What's worse, my parents are in the already-cramped room with me. My father is standing by the stove, cooking something or other, and my stepmother is trying to make sage tea.

These are both fairly normal activities for them. The question is why they are doing these domestic activities in MY laundry room, which is adjacent to the kitchen, when I obviously need the space for MY burger joint.

For some reason, moving my business to the kitchen is not an option. It seemed like maybe, in the dream, we didn't have a stove and a sink in the kitchen, just in the laundry room. Or maybe we didn't have a kitchen. I don't know.

Things get particularly tense when one of my customers, a teenage boy, 15 or 16 years old with an innocent face and pretty blue eyes, holds out a coffee mug half filled with black coffee (Turns out I serve hot beverages too) and tells me that the coffee is too strong. He politely requests that I add hot water to his cup. I try to do this, but the kettle is full of brown water and dead leaves, and my stepmother won't let me use the sink. Even if I had a kettle and clean water, my father is using the stove.

Then my parents disappear, as does the boy who wanted hot water for his coffee, and all of a sudden my little sister appears and decides that she MUST do laundry, right now, and kicks me out of the laundry room, saying that I can finish the burgers after she's done. I complain, saying that I'll lose my customers and that she'll drive me out of business, but my pleas fall on deaf ears. So I'm waiting impatiently outside of the laundry room, alone, because for some reason all of my customers have disappeared. I continue arguing with my little sister, but she has the upper hand and knows it.

By the time she's done, it's too late. My customers have shuffled off (probably to McDonald's), and I'm left alone in the cluttered little room.



I think that this is my subconscious' way of telling me that I should get off my ass and go do some laundry.

Lately, I've felt that I don't have quite enough variety in the music I keep around. I am fortunate enough to be employed in a place where I can listen to pretty much whatever I want, and after 6PM, at almost any volume I want. So, I'm embarking on a personal mission to try and listen to at least one new album by a band I'm not really familiar with at least once a week.

On a semi-related note, I ended up asking Augustine some questions about what he's been listening to over in Japan. Augustine was kind enough to send me a bigass archive full of recommendations, and after listening to them for a while, I think I actually have an opinion on them now. Thus, this week we'll be kicking off with a special all-Japanese set of reviews.

Uncle GhettoAardvark's Occasional Music Review

Bugy Craxone - Hello, Punk Lovers (June 11, 2008, ZubRocka)
It took a few listens on this one, but Suzuki Yukiko's voice is starting to grow on me. They're best described as extremely solid indie rock that has kidnapped a female lounge singer as their vocalist. She has a dark, throaty voice that makes me wonder what Karen O would sound like if she were forty years old and had been smoking off and on for the last twenty years. I like it, but not quite enough to go looking for more of this as of right now. "Romanticist" is definitely the highlight track.
Interesting Trivia: They cite The Clash as their biggest influence.

Electric Eel Shock - Slayer's Bay Blues (1999, Double Peace)
Augustine's notes list them as "love them or hate them", which makes total sense as soon as you turn on the first song, "Turbo Slayer". It's very guitar heavy punk rock done with those twangy blues guitars, filtered through something that makes it all sound even messier. Very cool, but I've got enough messy blues-rock to last me for a while. "Overkill" and the aforementioned "Turbo Slayer" are my favorite tracks on this one.
Interesting Trivia: Slayer's Bay Blues was recorded entirely on an 8-track player.

Shugo Tokumaru - L.S.T. (June 15, 2006, Compare Notes)
I can't help but think of Sigur Rós with this. They have a few strong things in common, especially the soft (as in touch, not noise level) vocals and emphasis on lightness and the tendency to evoke landscapes. I think I actually prefer Shugo Tokamaru over Sigur Rós. He has less of a tendency to get lost in his own music, and the songs all have very marked sounds. After listening to it for a while, though, I'm convinced that he and Rufus Wainright share some influences, though I couldn't say why. "Karte" and "Vista" are both really good tracks, though I think I prefer "Mist".
Interesting Trivia: Apparently, over 100 different instruments were used to make the album, and every single one was played by Tokumaru himself.

Next week: More music from Japan, including hot drummer chicks, noise bands, and my new favorite hip-hop DJ.

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