Wednesday, November 30, 2005

[Me] DDD

So, I'm having trouble with DeepDiscountDVD as of late. They have a fairly good service, and their prices are low.

But, man, try and get customer support from them..... forget about it.

So, I'm looking to change suppliers.

Coincidentally, I saw a post or an article somewhere where someone was talking about their two big DVD suppliers. One was DDD and one was something else, and they said that they used that other one more. (Or something like that. The grammar for that sentence was confusing, which is why it stands out in my mind)

So, it's probably better than DDD in some way, right? I'll check it out.

Except... I can't remember where I saw that. Or even if it was a blog post or a Slashdot post, or ...what. Understand, I saw it within the past three days, but if you're an INFORMATION CONSUMING MACHINE like I am, that doesn't help much.

[Work] Contracts

So, pretty much all the other teachers have gone home now.

The tests are over, the students are gone, and with them, the instructors.

Except for me.

Because my contract says my daily end-time is 4:15PM.

It is so incredibly stupid here right now.

Mood: Bitter.

[Work] Oolala (long)

I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger.

Specifically, when I was a few hours younger.

Today is a final test day at work. Which means that I have no classes to teach, and could have used a vacation day and stayed home.

Which I totally would have done, seeing as how I'm totally completely exhausted.

My sleep schedule is totally completely thoroughly messed up.

It started after the mid-year conference, which was last week. I was so tired on the final day that I went home and was asleep in bed by around 8:30PM. You have to understand, I'm a night owl, so that's early. In fact, sometimes I'm still at work at 8:30PM. Anyway.

I was also a bit sick. I won't go into overshare details, which basically means that I can't tell you anything about the level of sickness I was experiencing. I can say that it involved frequent (sometimes nearly constant) trips to the restroom.

So, that was the weekend following the conference. Why is this important?

Because, it's the end of the month.

I have some bills that need to be paid back home in America, that can't be paid online. So ever month I have to call international long distance and pay them.

Which means I have to either stay up crazy late or get up crazy early, because of the time difference.

Well, I'm a night owl, so I stay up crazy late. Usually, I do this on a Friday or Saturday night, so I can sleep in the next day, and it won't affect my work. But last week was the MYC, so Friday night I was in bed at 8:30PM and Saturday night I was sick. So, it didn't get done.

But it HAS TO get done, so I did it Tuesday night. I stayed up until 1:00AM, and made the calls.

I had PLANNED for this to take no longer than an hour, AT MOST. Usually, it's just a bunch of short calls. The guy in the financial department at my university (his name is Stuart) who takes my calls has sometimes recognized me. Those are usually REALLY SHORT calls.
Me: Hi, I want to pay my bill.
Stuart: Is this Phoenix?
Me: Yup.
Stuart: OK, what's your card number?
That's pretty much the entire conversation.

But sometimes...

During the course of Tuesday night's (technically, Wednesday morning's) business, I ended up making a couple customer service calls. These calls, like most customer service calls in America, were re-routed to India. Well, apparently not all businesses can afford to outsource their customer service to Indian companies that can afford to hire English speaking representatives.

They couldn't understand me, I sometimes couldn't understand them, it was a hassle.

Long story short (too late), I was up until around 5:30AM.

I normally get up for work at 7:00AM. I reset my alarms for 7:30AM, to get that precious extra 30 minutes of slumber, but the situation couldn't really be ameliorated.

The damage was done, and with but two hours of sleep, I went to work the next day.

Somehow, I'm not sure how, exactly, I managed to get through the day. I can't remember much beyond that.

My dilemma hit when I went home. Should I go straight to bed? Try to stay up and get my sleeping schedule back on track?

I tried to get my cycle under control by staying up a bit, even though I was VERY tired.

I remember it being 7:00PM at one point, although I'm not sure if I managed to stay up even later.

What I =DO= remember is waking up at 11:00PM. At some point, I had decided to lay down on my covers with my shirt half-off, drooling on myself. At least, that's what I can assume I decided, given how I found myself when I awoke.

I tried to go back to sleep, but now my cycle was totally completely thoroughly utterly destroyed.

I'm not sure how many hours I lay awake last night, staring darkly at the ceiling. Many.

So now, the next day, I'm totally completely thoroughly utterly exhaustively? wholly exhausted again. I'm not excusing this; what I =should= have done was take a nap after work on Tuesday, so that staying up late would be no big deal. But I didn't. Because I'm stupid.

AND, I have no classes to teach. I actually have FREE TIME today, which would be great, if I were awake enough to work on any of the thousands of projects I have open.


[IQ] iProd

One of these days, I'm going to have time to come back and make real posts again. But not, I think, today. In the meantime, here's a post from the Slashdot article Driving Away Teens with High-Frequency Noise:
Yet if someone was to invent the Retard-Prod(tm) that jabs everyone with an IQ less than 60, the inventor would be lynched within a day.
If someone were to invent the Retard-O-Prod that jabs everyone with an IQ of less than X, the inventor would be hailed as a conquering hero.

If you give me a working Retard-O-Prod (with variable IQ tolerance dial; crank that baby UP!), I will give you a cool $1,000,000 cash.

Keep one by the doorway to your house to drive away solicitors! Put one at the entrance to your finer discriminating stores! Sorry, Billy, you must be at least this smart to shop here. I won't even bother getting into the obvious possibilities (putting them in voting booths, the DMV, et cetera).

If you can make a wearable version, that would be even better. That way, I wouldn't constantly feel the need to shout YOU ARE ALL IDIOTS everywhere I go. I'll let the Retard-O-Prod do the shouting for me. ^_^ We can call it the iProd!

Of course, considering the number of annoyingly foolish conversations I've heard among alleged 'geniuses', we'd really need to turn it up to 140 or 150...

If you ask me, there's too much discrimination based on race, gender, religion, age, et cetera, and NOT ENOUGH discrimination against stupidity.

Monday, November 28, 2005

[Link] Movie "Trailers"

So busy
can't watch any of these movies
can only enjoy their trailers...

(Shining is still the champ)

Monday, November 21, 2005

[Work] Last Christmas

I had never heard this song before coming to Japan, and here I hear it ALL THE TIME. This is =THE= English-language Christmas song here.

My contact at the BoE asked for the lyrics, and when I tried to search for them on the intarweb, I found that EVERY version out there had mistakes in it.

Every. Single. One.

So, I transcribed it myself. You have no idea how many times I had to listen to this song, and it isn't even December yet. Of course, some might ask why, if I hate this song so much, I actually have a copy of it on my computer. Well, you can just SHUT your PIE HOLE.

Mood: Ill-tempered.

For the rest of you, I'm sharing my version of the lyrics for Last Christmas. This has no purpose other than, if you happen to need the exact lyrics to this version of Last Christmas, you won't have to transcribe it yourself. My Festivus gift to you. Enjoy.

:: Last Christmas ::
Wham! [extended version]

*Instrumental Intro*

*whispered* (Merry Christmas!)


Last Christmas, I gave you my heart,
But the very next day, you gave it away.
This year, to save me from tears
I'll give it to someone special.

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart,
But the very next day, you gave it away. (you gave it away)
This year, to save me from tears
I'll give it to someone special. (special)

Once bitten and twice shy,
I keep my distance but you still catch my eye.
Tell me baby do you recognize me?
Well it's been a year, it doesn't surprise me.

(Happy Christmas!) I wrapped it up and sent it
With a note saying "I Love You." I meant it.
Now I know what a fool I've been
But if you kissed me now I know you'd fool me again.

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart,
But the very next day, you gave it away. (you gave it away)
This year, to save me from tears
I'll give it to someone special. (special)

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart,
But the very next day, you gave it away.
This year, to save me from tears
I'll give it to someone special. (special)

(Oh whoa baby)

A crowded room, friends with tired eyes.
I'm hiding from you and your soul of ice.
My God, I thought you were someone to rely on.
Me? I guess I was a shoulder to cry on.

A face on a lover with a fire in his heart,
A man undercover but you tore me apart.
(Oooh Oooh)
Now I've found a real love, you'll never fool me again.

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart,
But the very next day, you gave it away. (you gave it away)
This year, to save me from tears
I'll give it to someone special. (special)

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart,
But the very next day, you gave it away. (you gave me away)
This year, to save me from tears
I'll give it to someone special. (special)

A face on a lover with a fire in his heart
(Gave you my heart)
A man undercover but you tore him apart
(Maybe, next year...)
I'll give it to someone, I'll give it to someone special. (special)
I'll give it to someone, I'll give it to someone special
Who'll give me something in return.
(I'll give it to someone, I'll give it to someone)
Hold my heart and watch it burn.
I'll give it to someone, I'll give it to someone special.
I thought you were here to stay.
How can love be for a day?
I thought you were someone... special.
Gave you my heart...
I'll give it to someone, I'll give it to someone.
Last Christmas I gave you my heart.
You gave it away.
I'll give it to someone, I'll give it to someone...

La la, la la la la la la la....

*fade out*

[Link] GVOD

Google Video of the Day is awesome.
"Every day, hundreds of people upload their home-grown videos to Google Video. I sift through the crap to give you at least one video every single day. You never know what you're going to see."

Sunday, November 20, 2005

[Me] JET Fool

So, I decided to pursue the JET comic in my "free time", but I've moved it off to another blog.

I welcome constructive comments. ^_^

Saturday, November 19, 2005

[Me] If You Can Read This... means that there is an unencrypted access point near the Starbucks in Fukui. ^_^

Friday, November 18, 2005

[Video] Gorillaz, Live

"Gorillaz, the world's more popular virtual band, won Best Group at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Lisbon on November 3rd, 2005. Afterwards, they took the stage to play "Feel Good Inc" live."

Try and parse this: Gorillaz, the animated brainchild of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, appeared live onstage. onstage...

The Times of London reports that the illusion was achieved using an old Victorian parlour trick known as "Pepper’s Ghost"

(from here, more info on Gorillaz here)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

[Work] Things Said To Me a female co-worker.
  1. Close the curtain.
  2. Should you take your shirt off?
  3. Climb into the bed while I set up the video camera.
(disclaimer: these sentences may have been taken out of context and/or sequence for exaggeration purposes)

[Link] Programmers, Weep
Curious perversions in information technology.

[Random] Slashdot 20051117

  1. (here) What you do today will cost you a day of your life.

  2. (here) You can not truly appreciate Shakespeare until you've read him in the original COBOL.
    if ( $question = ( 2B || !(2B) ) ) {
    if ($mind[SlingsArrows] > $mind[TakeArms]) {
  3. (here)
    According to Plato (or Socrates rather - who never wrote) writing itself was a threat to wisdom, because it made writers dependent on an external memory and weakened their own memory. So replace centuries with millennia. Heres a bit of Plato's Phaedrus, where Socrates speaks about writing:
    It would take a long time to repeat all that Thamus said to Theuth in praise or blame of the various arts [technai]. But when they came to letters [grammata], Theuth said, "This invention, O King, will make the Egyptians wiser and give them better memories; I have discovered a remedy [pharmakon: potion, medicine, drug] both for the memory and for wisdom." Thamus replied: "O most ingenious [technikotate] Theuth, the parent or inventor of an art is not always the best judge of the utility or inutility of his own inventions to the users of them. And in this instance, you who are the father of letters, from a paternal love of your own children have been led to attribute to them a power opposite to that which they in fact possess. For this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it; they will not exercise their memories, but, trusting in external, foreign marks [graphes], they will not bring things to remembrance from within themselves. You have discovered a remedy [pharmakon] not for memory, but for reminding. You offer your students the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom. They will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.
    Quoted from [] where you'll find a nice extract of the parts of Phaedrus that deals with writing.

[Work] Eraserhead

So, my 2nd graders are working on a drama from the textbook (the quite painful "Chris and the Puppets"). One student is supposed to say his lines very genki, like the character. But he doesn't, and his teammates yell at him to do it again. He does it exactly the same (or if possible, even less enthused). I start to boo (because I'm that kind of teacher) and grab a student's eraser from their desk, to make like I'm going to throw it at him.

It turns out, and this is an interesting fact I was not previously aware of, that the casing around those rubber erasers is quite slippery.

So, yes, I threw an eraser at one of my students.

I guess I'm just a bad person.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

[Work] The CHOsen One

Alright, showing follow-thru for possibly the first time in my life, I made a comic out of my recent work adventures. I think I need a better title. I used "The CHOsen One", since I'm a CHO ALT. (JETfuel is a perfect title, but it's being used. ^_^)

Anyway, given the tools at hand (eg, Paint and Word), I think I spent too much time on it (ie, more than 20 minutes, possibly even 30).

You know the drill, clicky for bigger.

(ironically, Blogger's "optimizer" turned my 64kb .GIF into a 137kb .JPG Way to go, Blogger! Double that image size, yeah!)

Monday, November 14, 2005

[Work] Cocoa Redux

(or, What Phoenix Writes About When He Has Had Too Little Sleep And Too Little Coffee And Too Many Classes)

So, I was putting cocoa into my coffee, as I do, and I notice the redesigned bags. The previous bags had what I would call "regular zip-lock tops" on them.

But other companies use that style too, so that's no good. They needed a NEW design. So now they have this extra-wide zip-lock top, or what I like to call "the top that can't stay open".

They made the opening bigger by changing where they put the ends of the zip-lock. Well, now the ends are pinched, and they actually force the top closed. It's OK for me and my freakishly large, giant-mutant-hands*; I can hold the bag in the palm of my hand and reach up and squeeze the top open with my thumb and pinky, while my other hand spoons out the sweet, sweet cocoa.

But this is JAPAN! What the heck do my co-workers do?

*Seriously, what's with my hands? Are they really that big? I mean, I can press both shift keys down simultaneously with one hand fairly easily, but is that so unusual? Or is being in Japan coloring my perception of size?

[Work] Are You F@(%?

Two of my 2nd grade girls just asked me "Are you f@(%?"

Now, I know the word, but I'm trying to not teach my students foul language (this year). Plus, I wasn't exactly sure what they were asking. Do you f@(%? (I've been getting asked that a lot of late)

I expressed bewilderment, and dodged the question. Temporarily, it turns out.

They two caught up with me between classes, and asked the same question. They even spelled f@(% for me. I said I still didn't understand. Are you? It didn't make any sense, and I wasn't going to work out the grammar for them.

So they resorted to Japanese. Are you hentai? THAT I understand.

I asked them, "Do you mean to say, 'are you perverted?'" (and thereby taught them the word 'perverted', which I'm sure will come back to haunt me soon)

They giggled, and said yes, and then ran off. Apparently, they weren't asking =ME= the question, they just wanted some help with their English.

I wonder whom the question is for...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

[Work] An Eternal Golden Braid

At one point, I was asked what my favorite "thing" is (book, movie, etc), and I said it was "Gödel, Escher, Bach", a truly fantastic book. It's difficult to describe what it's about (everything).

Just now, one of my co-workers came up and said "I saw your book!" She showed me the newspaper article, something on science books, and there it was: the Japanese edition of GEB.


[Work] Cocoa

So, I've been buying cocoa mix to take to work, because I like to use cocoa instead of sugar in my coffee. Also, I was kind of hoping that the taste would catch on around the office, and they would start buying the cocoa out of the office fund that I have to pay into.

Well, this has been going on for about a year, and I'd pretty much given up hope of anyone else buying it (although, everyone else USES it). Until last week...

We ran out of instant coffee, which was a bit frustrating to me, as I had brought in a new bag of cocoa and had nothing to mix it with. I couldn't drink plain cocoa... or could I? No, no I couldn't.

Luckily for me, one of the other teachers came in and saw my predicament. Now, a widely known 'secret' is that everyone in Japan can actually speak a little English. This particular teacher hadn't spoken to me before, but it still didn't surprise me when she told me, in English, where the instant coffee was stored.

Where is the instant coffee stored, you ask? In the cupboard with the cocoa, of course!

How long have they been buying cocoa? Well, it's hard to tell, since they've never had to use theirs, since I kept bringing in new bags whenever the old one went empty. All this time, and I never knew.

But that's not why I'm writing today.

I just got out of my first class, and wanted to have a cup of coffee (since there wasn't time beforehand). Not much left in the pot, but enough for one cup maybe. But...where is my cocoa?

I =know= I bought a new bag last week. It can't be gone already, and yet it is nowhere to be found. Had someone taken it? That seems to happen sometimes, but not very often. Had someone put it away with the other cocoa? I check, but there are no open bags in the cupboard.

And then, I spotted something...on the table was a new bag of 'cocoa', specifically some kind of 'healthy' Black Soybean Cocoa. Unable to find my regular cocoa, but still wanting a cup of coffee, I grabbed a couple spoonfuls and... by the time my lost cocoa ordeal was done, someone else had come and taken the last bit of coffee in the pot.*

I see. It's going to be one of those days.

And, if you're wondering how Black Soybean Cocoa tastes, well, you might be surprised, assuming you've suffered some sort of critical brain damage. Otherwise, it tastes exactly how you'd think it would. Maybe a little worse.

UPDATE: My god...what have I done?

Well, remember two hours ago when I was talking about the Black Soybean Cocoa? Well, it was a nearly full bag then. Now, it's empty.

It's not even lunchtime yet. At this rate, they can probably go through two or three bags a day.

*I was reminded of the "Terry's World" commercial for Reebok**. Remember that? "You kill the joe, you make some mo'!" I need Terry Tate for my office.

**I had a better link to all the videos, and deleted it a few days ago because I didn't think I'd ever need it! D'OH!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

[Image] CAPTCHA pwns j00!

[Puzzle] The Puzzle Boat

Now THIS is a puzzle! Or many, actually.

You get puzzles like:
Hokey Pokey
Where: Disgruntled Lobsterman

You put the left one in. You take the right one out. That's what it's all about.

(+ these vowels, in random order: long i, short i, long e, short e, schwa, ou)

Abbreviated genre that includes Hugo Gemsback and Edwin Abbott (5, hyph.)
Championer of a cause (11, 2 wds)
Flashy outfit with an extreme cut, padded shoulders, and a thigh-length jacket (8, 2 wds)
"Help"-ful phrase derived from French for "help me" (6)
Like some sexy boots (9, hyph.)
Metal Health band (9, 2 wds)
Nonalcoholic malt concoction (8, 2 wds)
Short and pudgy in stature (8, hyph.)
Small bedtime illuminator (10, 2 wds)
Weapon designed to immobilize (7, 2 wds)
Here's a general hint from the site:
"With these puzzles, you are typically going to be looking for a word or short phrase as your answer. You may want to look at first letters, or use numbers to find a specific character in a word or phrase."
So this puzzle's answer is a word or short phrase. And it's one of the easier ones. ^_^

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

[Link] Bored?

Here's a list of things to do.

[Link] Will You Be Ready?

Are you prepared? Do you know what to do in case of a robot uprising?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

[Work] Kancho

(also see this site for more kancho grief)

I have been kancho-ed.

There have been minor attempts in the past, but all have failed or missed. I've never suffered the horror of a successful kancho. Until today.

My ichi-nensei boys are always trying to kancho each other. Between classes, one student was really picking on another, smaller classmate. I decided to step in and put a stop to it by pretending to go and kancho the bully. I put my hands together in kancho position and advanced.

The larger boy, seeing me approach, immediately dropped to the floor (a kancho-proof location) and slid backwards away from me, laughing. I kept advancing, and he backed out of the classroom and down the hallway. This happened to take us past the other ichi-nensei classrooms.

Well, one of the boys in the other classroom saw me and though "Oh, Phoenix is kancho-ing now? That means Phoenix is kancho-able!" (for the record, I wasn't kancho-ing, and I wasn't going to. The threat was enough to stop the bullying, which is all I wanted)

Well, this other boy tells his friends and they spread the word and SUDDENLY a dozen ichi-nensei boys come pouring out of the classrooms into the hallway, like Agent Smith in the Burly Brawl scene.

Each one had their hands in kancho position.

Now, the way this scene played out is hard to picture if you weren't there. Try and imagine around twenty 12-year-old boys trying to stick their fingers up your ass. Now, try and picture the horrible realization that this is REALLY HAPPENING.

They came from...every direction. Simultaneously, as if by silent signal. I managed to stop the first few by grabbing their kancho-ready fingers, and I used their bodies to keep a few more at bay, but one got through.

OOP! I was kancho-ed, successfully! I mean, dead-on accurate aim.

I spun around to catch the perpetrator, but that only opened me to more attacks. OOP! OOP! Two more got through.

I don't know if you are familiar with the anime Naruto (said anime has also popularized the kancho around the world), but the main character can duplicate his body and be in many places at once. It was like being attacked by him. Wherever I turned, he was behind me. OOP! OOP! OOP!

Previously, I thought I was un-kancho-able. I'm much bigger than my students. Of course, if you've played "Shadow of the Colossus" (and you should), you know that size matters not.

I was kancho-ed so many times, I lost count. And THEN I had to teach class for an hour. To some of these same students.

I need a pillow for my chair...

[Challenge] Escapa!

I made it to 18 and a half seconds.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

[NaNoWriMo] NoMo

It's already a week into November, and I haven't worked on my NaNoWriMo for this year yet. I've been too busy as of late. It's test season here in Japan, and while some OTHER ALTs get time off right now (because they have no classes to teach), *I* get to work extra hard and even stay late after school marking papers. Because I'm *SPECIAL*.

Not that I'm bitter in any way.

The lack of novel-writing time this year is especially hard to take, as a full plot complete with fleshed out characters dropped into my lap the other day. I was hanging out in Fukui, waiting for K to finish having dinner (Japan has a strict drinking-and-driving rule [the legal limit here is 0.0], so she needed me to pick her up), and while I was driving around it all just ... flowed into my head. I had to stop at a combini and buy a pen to write it down.

When I say complete, I mean complete. It's like someone was in my head, telling me the story. Sometimes I would ask questions (why are they doing this? What happened here?) and the answers came immediately. It was actually too much to write down, so a lot of my notes are just keywords.

...maybe I can write it at night. After I get home from work at 9pm. Instead of sleeping.

[Me] No Content

I apologize for the lack of actual content recently. If you've noticed that a lot of my posts are simply quotes of something or links to something or short comments about something, it's because I'm really busy at the moment. I don't have time to plan my posts or compose them the way I'd like. I promise, I'm not just slacking off and having fun. If I were having fun, I'd be telling everyone about it! ^_^

[Bash] Fire is Hot

"There's this sign at the bottom of the stairway that is bothering me. It says 'floors are slippery when wet.' Well, no s***! You put the f***ing sign up when the floors are wet to alert people they are wet and therefore slippery. Putting up that sign is like getting rid of the fire alarms and putting up signs that say FIRE IS HOT."

Saturday, November 05, 2005

[Puzzle] Eat the Pie

Eat the pie in 15 bites.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

[Me] Spammers Must Die

I had to turn on word verification, because the amount of spam was becomming overwhelming. I'm very sorry. :'-(

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

[Me] Missed Opportunity

Phoen!x: Do you read Penny Arcade?
Dave: every couple weeks I go catch up
Phoen!x: They're from Spokane.
Phoen!x: Whenever they mention Merlyn's, I get nostalgic. ^_^
Dave: are they really?
Phoen!x: Yeah.
Phoen!x: Anyway, do you know the Penny Arcade Remix Project?
Dave: i haven't heard of that
Phoen!x: JETs here in Japan white out the words and give the strips to their students.
Phoen!x: The students fill them in with new words. ^_^
Phoen!x: Sometimes quite amusing.
Dave: hahahaha
Dave: that's awesome
Phoen!x: But they don't look good, because the colors don't photocopy well on cheap paper.
Phoen!x: So, today I sent them e-mails asking if they'd make a couple strips without colors
Phoen!x: for us JETs. ^_^
Dave: cool
Phoen!x: We'll see how cool.
Phoen!x: They could just ignore me.
Dave: yeah, they could
Dave: but as a fellow Spokanite, perhaps you'll have a bit more pull
Phoen!x: Ah
Phoen!x: I didn't mention that part.
Phoen!x: :(
Phoen!x: If I sent another e-mail, would that be too stalker-ish?
Dave: probably. or at least "oh, yeah, by the way, I'm from Spokane, too, if that makes you more inclined to help me out" would probably sound a little weird
Phoen!x: I could have mentioned how their infrequent references to Spokane remind me of home, and were a comfort to me, living abroad in a foreign land.
Phoen!x: That would have been smart.
Dave: It's too bad you're such a dumbass.

[Project] Comics

I'd like make a comic about working on the JET program. I think that last week's adventure about:
  1. Not getting paid
  2. Getting my vacation days taken away
  3. Being asked to work overtime
...would make a good strip. Just one thing after another, and when you think it can't get worse, of course it does.

You know, when I was a kid, my mom used to tell me that I had "Charlie Brown Syndrome". Things go bad for me, in big ways, frequently. Of course, this is the same mom who left me behind, locked out of the house while she and the rest of the family AND THE NEIGHBORS all went to Reno for a quick vacation, when I was 12. So, some of this is her fault.

Not that I'm complaining. Whom else has such stories to tell? "The Time My Roommate Tried To Kill Me" is probably my favorite. I mean, sure the police were involved, and I hid at my brother's for three days, but you have to look back and laugh. ^_^ Said roommate and I are still friends, and it's not like he succeeded in killing me. It was more of a threat. And it makes a great story. ^_^

I wonder if that comes across to people whom don't know me... It's hard to convey tone in text, but when I describe these incidents, I'm not trying to get pity or sympathy, I just want to tell an interesting or funny story. I try to emphasize the ridiculous or extreme, and exaggerate things for comic effect. For example, it wasn't that they forgot to pay me, and then took my vacation days away, and then asked me if I would mind working overtime, all in a row. Those events were spread out over two days, and happened in a different order.

Anyway, I think incidents like this would make a nice comic, something I can put online and leave for future JETs to read and ponder. Something like ESID, for example.

The problem is, I have absolutely no artistic ability. I look at webcomics like Penny Arcade and Mac Hall, and I know I can't do anything like that. So it's intimidating. I don't know if a megatokyo-style "stick figure rant" would be effective enough, but that's about the limit of my drawing skill.

Sigh. How come no one has made a software solution for this yet? Something geared STRICTLY toward comic creation? Draw your characters once, and save them. Or better yet, design your characters once, and save them. Easy character creation; choose features, colors, etc. Automatically generates different views for different angles. Pre-built facial expressions, postures, gestures... Making a strip becomes as simple as:
  1. Choose background
  2. Choose characters and positions
  3. Input witty banter
You could even do things like render to different styles. Sketch, line drawing, water-color, etc... You know, it's a real shame that someone with a DEGREE in computer science isn't going to follow up on this.

Sigh, again. I have too many projects.

[Nerd] Humor

(from Bash)
<EventHorizon> is it just me or does our prof wear sweaters alot?
<swtaarrs> that's a sweatshirt
<EventHorizon> yeah
<EventHorizon> i think sweatshirt extends sweater though
<EventHorizon> so its still an instance
<DroolingSheep> no it doesn't sweaters suck
<swtaarrs> you're an instance of stupid
<EventHorizon> ur an instance of ur mom
<ChixLoveUnix> I implemented your mom last night.
<EventHorizon> i extended ur mom so bad she threw an exception
<EventHorizon> or something
<swtaarrs> if your mom were a collection class, her insert method would be public

[Quiz] BBC Citizenship Test

Can you pass a citizenship test?
I scored 11/14.

[Game] Death in Sakkara

Death in Sakkara: An Egyptian Adventure
Looks promising so far... A new episode every week (for four weeks). Reminds me of Indiana Jones.

[Link] The Hacker Diet

The Hacker's Diet®

How to lose weight and hair through stress and poor nutrition

By John Walker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The Hacker's Diet is a book written by John Walker, founder of Autodesk. It is a diet book, despite John Walker having nothing to do with medicine or nutrition in his professional life. As he writes, it "is a diet book by somebody who spent most of his life fat."

Walker describes the diet as approaching weight loss "as an engineering problem," and claims that his approach enabled him to reduce his weight from 215 pounds to 145 pounds in a year, and keep it stable afterwards.

The diet is a fairly straightforward calorie counting approach, combined with exercises derived from the Royal Canadian Air Force 5BX exercise program.

[Work] Cherry Boy

I had lunch with the 3rd-graders today (America=9th-graders). One of the students at my table was quite excited to practice his English with me, even though his ability was very limited. But he really tried.

Of course, eventually, the questions turned personal. He (and the crowd gathered around him) asked me if I was "cherry boy" (America=virgin).

Now, I was conflicted. A previous question had brought up my age, so I wanted to say to him "Are you serious? I'm 31! What do YOU think?"

On the other hand, I don't want to encourage promiscuous behavior in my students. So I wanted to say "Are you serious? I'm ONLY 31! Of COURSE I'm still cherry boy!"

Coincidentally, lunch ended right when I opened my mouth to answer. I was quite literally saved by the bell.

I wonder what I would have said....

Mom, if you're reading this, I just want you to know, OF COURSE I'm still a virgin. ^_^