Sunday, May 22, 2011

The House Where Throats Are Slit

     A few months ago I was browsing Yahoo! Japan Auctions (YJA) in order to find a replacement for my bad CD-R copy of an early Data East album. I did find what I was looking for, and here are some scans:

 Front Cover Art

Back Cover Art


     I had thought it would take $100 or more to get an original, but it was more like $50. I got very lucky. Bear in mind that I have never seen one of these on ebay. Most surprising of all was the condition. Data East Game Music Scene One was released on 9-23-1988, which makes this CD 23 years old. The previous owner kept it out of sunlight, and apparently, rarely touched it. It's about as clean as a CD can be.
     I originally got a CD-R copy of this album about 10 years ago and I never knew it was a bad copy, since there wasn't any official information about the album posted in English. A few tracks were cut short. Now I can finally listen to this gem, which contains music from old Data East arcade games and a few pinball machines.
     So what does this have to do with a house where throats are slit? Well, as I was browsing YJA a few months ago, I stumbled across the cover art of a CD that looked vaguely familiar. I browse YJA in Japanese, which I can't read, and I rely upon the cover art of albums for identification. I recognized one such cover art from my wish list at vgmdb; it was some old album that no one knew anything about. The title of the album is:

Chikudenya Toubei: Hiroku Kubikiri Yakata

(The House Where Throats Are Slit) 

     The seller had a pretty high starting bid at 7000 yen, which was $85 at the time (it changes daily). I placed a bid of 7500 yen and thought for sure that it would be crushed. But no one bid against me and I managed to get an original of an extremely rare CD that exceeded my expectations. One fellow user on vgmdb stated of my find: "I've been on the lookout for this one for a couple years and to this day, never saw one listing in that time. Consider yourself lucky for finding this and having had no competing bidders." Here is what it looks like:  

Front Cover Art 

 Back Cover Art


     It is a full arrange album, meaning that it does not contain any actual video game music, but arranged music based on music used in the game. Out of curiosity I have been searching YJA for another listing. No such listing has been found over the past 2 months. My guess is that a complete listing, one that includes the obi, would sell for in excess of 10000 yen. The obi is a spine card and is not necessary for enjoying the music, but it is a piece of paper that fanatical collectors will pay extra for. A similar situation is in the world of collecting books, in which a dust jacket can greatly increase the value. One might surmise that I am fanatical, since I was willing to pay $85 for a CD. But that is not the case. If I could trade for this CD, that is, get a CD-R from someone, then I would have done so. But no one has it! I don't even know of anyone that has it in the mp3 format! So I was left with no choice in the matter.

     I bought this CD without having heard any samples first, due to the inability to even get samples. This CD was released on 1-21-1990, and is one of my favorite arranged albums. I have listened to it more than 10 times over the past two months. This is a classic and one that I will enjoy for the rest of my life. I had to make a translation request in order to get the track list, since, as you can see, almost everything is typed in Japanese. You can get more album details here: VGMDB official page.

      Honestly, some of the music on this album deeply affects me; I find myself not humming, but replaying, it in my mind. It cuts right into the core of emotion, especially the track where the shakuhachi (Japanese flute) is played. I am left with a feeling that is not suitable for words, as the words don't exist. This makes me wonder: Is it correct for me to say that I "love" this music? No, I don't think so. The word "love" has become overused and misused and used to explain anything from slight adoration to maniacal dedication. The best I can say is that my emotions are aroused when I listen to this music. I don't know how to explain in words what that means. I could cheat and act like everyone else and use the word "love". 

     It's unfortunate that this music is so difficult to obtain.


  I have no idea why the text suddenly became double-spaced. I tried to correct it, but was unable to do so. This site is free, and anything free is worth what you paid for it. Lol.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I live in my head, as do us all. Except I know it.

     What do I mean by that? Here is my justification for that statement, which I wrote about 8 months ago:

     "I am always by myself. And I mean that seriously. I can only access my own mind. Everything I experience is processed by my brain, approximated, and left for me to decipher. I can socialize with other humans, but I still must do so through my own brain. In other words, my experiences with reality are heavily filtered. I can only get a vague representation of what objects really look like or what other people are thinking."

     And my notion of a "vague representation of reality" is supported by some important people from the past - Max Planck and Bertrand Russell. I wrote this on May 13, 2010:

     "I no longer have the faintest idea of what a table is. Both Bertrand Russell and Max Planck brought this most curious question to my attention, because they did take it very seriously.
They point out that if your senses are disabled, then you can't know anything about a table (so what is a table?). This is truly not a trivial problem, although it seems laughable.
     How does one define the edges of a table? Since you can stand back a few feet from a table and still experience it, that must mean the table extends a few feet beyond its physical existence. You can know about a table because of the reflected photons. Thus, the real edges of the table are the photons. If you disable your ability to detect photons then the edge will creep back to where it activates your tactile sense. If you disable your tactile sense and still can't detect photons, then you'll have to smell it, hear it, taste it, burn it, or have someone put it on your back. While you won't feel the table on your back, you'll still be able to detect gravity and thus sense your weight has increased. If you burn the table, then the odor molecules will collect in your nose and the rise in room temperature will become apparent.
     Does a table have an objective reality? I have to say that it does, but I'm not sure what it could be. The foremost problem is does the table have a surface? Well, to our tactile sense it sure does. But imagine if your fingers are thinner than neutrons. You might not find a surface. That's why this problem is not trivial.

     On May 14, 2010, I stated:

     "My reasoning is that a table may be something else, if our senses were different. It's also important to understand the real problem. The question 'What is a table?' refers to a table that is not being monitored by any of the human senses. I should have specified that. If possible, imagine not having any of your senses (sight, taste, smell, touch, hearing, heat, gravity). With all of your senses disabled, the table would still exist. There would be no way to know anything about it. Now, imagine getting back one of your senses (touch). But this touch sense is very different (pretend we're now in a movie, where ridiculous things are perfectly acceptable). In this movie, you are given fingers that are thinner than neutrons. Your very thin fingers could potentially stick right through the table without touching any atoms. Matter is not continuous. It has gaps that could be exploited by sufficiently thin probes (fingers in this case).
     What fascinates me so much about this question is trying to understand how a table might appear at a default level. This leads to a question that is more important sounding: Does reality have a default level? The default level of reality would be how things appear in the complete absence of any sense. For example, we see what a table looks like in a very small part of the electromagnetic spectrum. A neutrino map of a table might turn up one little dot or nothing at all (they only show the core of the Sun, for example). But still, the table persists. It doesn't matter how you look at matter. It is still there.

     I posted that stuff at an online open forum and I was openly ridiculed. One user stated: "Monitored by human senses right now or not, a table is what it is."

     That leads to one of my greatest pet peeves. There is a very common saying amongst the vulgar (common) people: It is what it is. The amount of hatred I have for that phrase is unlimited. It implies an understanding when no one knows what it is; they have accepted a given situation with careless and hopeless abandon. All inquiries are discarded; cogitation is disabled. Let's all be insects! Yay! Don't worry about thinking or understanding - just go with the flow and give up!

     As for the so-called nonsense about the table, an intelligent reader will understand the discussion is not about tables, but about reality in general. A table is a simple example. I could have used a napkin or a paper clip. The object is irrelevant. The real argument is what is reality if our senses are disabled? This is an abstract problem, which my brain is equipped to enjoy. People that understand people and socialize a lot will simply call this "nonsense", for the same reason I would call drinking alcohol "nonsense".