Friday, November 17, 2006

[News] Weak!

This year's Leonids will peak in the middle of the day here in Japan.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

[Me] Status Update

Haven't seen me online recently?  No blog updates?  Wondering if I fell of the face of the Earth?

Well, kind of, yeah.  My computers have died.  Both computers overheated and killed their hard drives (heat is bad, m'kay? [not that it's a problem right now]).  I should (hopefully) be back online within a week or so, but in the meantime my only Internet connection is at work, and most things are blocked.

For example, I won't be able to check to see if this gets posted correctly or not.  So maybe no one is reading this at all.  Testicles.

Anyway, it's winter now here in Japan, which really underscores the fact that my girlfriend and I broke up.

A cold room is even colder when you're in bed alone.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

[Sad] ..||..

I remember that September.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

[Link] (ZUG) Shakes on a Plane

No actual content today, but a link to the latest John Hargrave gold.
He felt the outline of the marital aid, looking at me strangely. "Is it supposed to be vibrating like that?"

"Yes," I said with authority, as if I was dying and vibrators were my medicine.

"Okay, I'm going to need to give you a private screening."

"Fine," I said, my heart pounding. I hated myself for starting this Web site.
I would try and explain, but ...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

[Everything] Howdy

I am, as my GF would say, f$#^%!ng busy. But I have time for a brief rough-draft ramble.

Today is my last day of work at my base school. Tomorrow is my last day of work at my visiting school. It's difficult not to cry like the little girl I am when I think about how I'm not going to see these awesome students and teachers anymore. *sigh*

Over the past few weeks, I've managed to watch the entire "The Show" with Ze Frank archive. Considering that "The Show" only started a few months ago, and each episode is only a few minutes long, this is not a big accomplishment. Now that you know it exists, I will think less of you if you don't watch it (this will be on the test). I'm kind of an ass that way. I love his random songs; someone (not me) should rip them from the show and spread them around. Unless they're already on iTunes, in which case I should just re-install iTunes.

I love "The Show"; someone (still not me) should do one about stupid people. Because they don't know they're stupid, and that's a problem. I'm not talking about people who think the Internet is made of tubes; that is but one example of the underlying problem. The people that think Google is evil for following Chinese law on their servers located in China.... I think those people are incredibly stupid. I'm not going to go into the reasons why, because stupid people lack the capacity to comprehend them, (and it's not my job to do their thinking for them, that's Ze's job). I'm just going to say they're stupid, because they don't know.

I saw this in the comments for today's show:

So lemme get this straight. Bush executed more prisoners while governor of Texas than every other governer in the U.S. -- COMBINED -- and he's okay with that. He read that Osama bin Laden was "Determined to strike in the U.S., and he was okay with that, so he didn't do anything about it. When it happened he attacked the wrong country, killing over 2500 American soldiers and some say up to 100,000 Iraqi civilians, and he's okay with that... But take frozen masses of embryonic cells from fertility clinics that were going to be destroyed anyway and use them to find cures for diseases that could save millions of lives... no, he's not okay with that. You know, because he's so pro-life.

by The Idiot - 2:17p
I don't know of those facts are correct, but I enjoyed the contrast of ideology.

In less than a week I begin my big move from Echizen (town) to Echizen (city). I will be without Internet for a few weeks, so if you don't hear from me... it will be the same as always.

Someone (me) mentioned it elsewhere, but you all should really listen to Jonathan Coulton.

Time's up.

Monday, June 19, 2006

[Work] Placement

I'm changing schools after this contract year. There's nothing wrong with my current schools; quite the contrary, they're awesome. But I don't want to burn out in one place.

I just got the call. It went something like this (really):
Phoenix: Moshi moshi.
Nancy: Hello, Phoenix? This is Nancy. Am I interrupting anything?
Phoenix: No, what's up?
Nancy: I just wanted to call you and let you know your placement for next year.
Phoenix: Great!
Nancy: Your new school will be bzzrt.....
Phoenix: ...hello? You're breaking up.
Nancy: Can you hear me now?
Phoenix: Yes.
Nancy: Your new school is schchchchhc.....
Phoenix: this a joke?
Nancy: Is that a "good" joke or a "bad" joke? Are you unhappy with your school?
Phoenix: No, I mean, my phone keeps breaking up RIGHT when you say the name of the school.
Nancy: The name of the school is ....zzzzzzzsh
Phoenix: *sigh*
Nancy: I know you were anxious to hear your placement as soon as possible.
Phoenix: Well, I still haven't heard, but I appreciate the effort.
Well, eventually it came through. My new school is

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

[Holiday] Today is the Glorious 25th of May

(image created by Jez)

...were you there?

As both a Terry Pratchett fan and a native of Spokane (the Lilac City), this day has a special meaning for me.

What is the Glorious 25th of May?

RIP John Keel, et al.

Misc random linkage:
Why do I care about a holiday commemorating a fictional battle? After all, how can any of us celebrate it? None of us were there.

The fight was not real, that is true, but the IDEAS are. That is enough for me.

Fittingly, today is also Towel Day, in honor of the late Douglas Adams.


Finally, today is *also* the anniversary of the release of the original Star Wars. I don't really care about that, but it is a coincidence worth mentioning.

RIP Anakin.

Today should be a catch-all holiday for all nerd-dom.

(Man, this was a link-heavy post!)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

[Me] CHOsen One, Episode 3

Third CHOsen One is up. This time, because of my unfortunate accident, I didn't even have Word. Thankfully OpenOffice is a quick download.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

[Me] Osashiburi

Well, it's Sunday, so of course I'm at work. :-/ Not that I can really spare much time between classes to say that I'm still not dead, but here I am.

I bet KEN ALTs have Sundays off. If I hear another KEN ALT complain about their lack of vacation time, I swear I'm going to [DELETED] their [DELETED] off.

Had an unfortunate computer problem (requiring completely reformatting the hard drive). Still recovering.

A friend of mine got a nice job offer from He will be making 2x what I make. Good for him. ^_^ No one can say that I'm in JET for the money.

Don't know when I'll post again. There are so many things I want to do with my time (studying Japanese, programming, "exercising"). Hopefully, I'll have more time at my next job, wherever that is.

Talking of which, my time is up. See you next month (maybe).

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

[Me] The Inevitable Return

I'll be back when my typing speed returns to normal.

Well, THAT was clearly a damn, dirty lie. ^_^ Sorry about that.

I didn't say how I broke my finger? Playing basketball with my students. Two of us went for the ball at the same time ... and ... crunch. The student, who was apparently made of titanium-steel, was completely unfazed.

The good news is that I can mostly move it again. It still hurts when I bump it while I'm washing my hands though. And when I make a fist. And when I click the mouse. And when I type the letters y, u, h, j, n, and m (and I just typed them all out because: I'm retarded).

I wish I had taken a picture when it was all wrapped up but I didn't. I =did= take a picture when it was swollen and purple, but the lighting wasn't good so they didn't turn out. Plus, it was way-hard trying to focus the camera with only my left hand...

It's super-frustrating when one of your primary outlet's requires the use of a body part that is temporarily out of commission. I had so many things I wanted to write down...

The two too-long graduation ceremonies, farewell to some of my favorite students, how it SNOWED again, goodbye to the old teachers, hello to the new teachers, things my girlfriend and I argue about, the tiny tiny new students, how I cried real tears when I watched the episode of West Wing when Leo died...

I also saw many interesting posts on other sites that I didn't have a chance to respond to. I could almost touch-type with my middle finger acting as substitution, but the almost meant a LOT of mistyping and errors, which meant everything took almost twice as long to write.

Anyway. I'm semi-back now, but I likely won't be posting every day (or possibly even every week) for a while yet.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

[Me] Broken Finger

Mr. Pibb + Red Vines = Crazy Delicious
Long work week + Broken finger* = No updates
No TV and no beer makes Homer something something

I'll be back when my typing speed returns to normal.

*Man, you don't know fun until you try to use hashi when your right-hand index finger isn't working. Boy howdy.

Monday, March 06, 2006

[Work] My School Is Cooler Than Your School

I go into the teacher's lounge, and the science teacher has a large beaker full of liquid nitrogen. He drops a piece of bread in, picks it up with a pair of glass hashi, and EATS it.

And then blew fog out of his nose.

There's no WAY your school is as cool as mine.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

[Work] Az Quotes

  • Monday is a public holiday? Woo-hoo! Two-day weekend!
  • Tuesday, February 28, 2006

    [Work] The Verdict Is In

    Last week, I was sick, and actually missed a day of work (Tuesday) for the first time ever.

    This was such a unique situation that by the time I went home on Wednesday, it still wasn't sorted out whether it was going to be nenkyu or byokyu. Nenkyu is limited, byokyu (in theory) isn't.

    Well, it's Wednesday again and the verdict has been handed down. It's nenkyu. In fact, I just witnessed the OL being chewed out by the kyoto-sensei for trying to file it under byokyu.

    There are a lot of things I'm going to miss about this place. Things like this aren't among them.

    Monday, February 27, 2006

    [Work] Okurete suimasen*

    (*Forgive me for being late)

    I was late for work today. 20 minutes late. That's got to be a record for me.

    Understand that I basically live right next to my school. I wasn't stuck in traffic, my car didn't break down, I didn't get a flat tire.

    I don't even know what happened. I got up at my regular time and started getting ready and BAM! It was time to go to work and I wasn't ready yet.

    It's like I walked through a time tunnel in my house and came out an hour in the future. I can't figure it out. So strange...

    Someone (something?) out there owes me an hour and I want it back.

    [News] Google in China

    Oy, where to begin...

    I initially had the same knee-jerk reaction as everyone else. "But, their motto is 'Don't Be Evil', how could they do this?" But after pondering it and considering the situation in the larger context, I believe Google made the right choice. The proper, moral, _Good_ choice. I further believe that refusing to do business in China at all would have, in fact, been evil.

    And the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that people still in the "Google=evil" stage just haven't thought it all the way through yet. But that's just my opinion; we can agree to disagree. ^_^

    But, how about a quick experiment?

    Step one: Look around you. How many objects can you see just in the room you are in right now that were made in China? Unless the answer is ZERO, _you_ are doing business with China. You are supporting them.

    Does that make you evil?

    Step two: Ah, Slashdot. How I love thee.

    Part A: Defeat the censorship.
    Use elgooG
    Spell poorly

    Part B: Relevant Results
    275 hits, that's WITH the censorship in place. If you thought there would be zero hits, you'd be mistaken.

    Part C: Comments
    I used to live in a totalitarian regime for the first half of my life and know the effects of government censorship. I have to tell you that if I should choose whether to have google with censorship or not have it at all, its clear what I would choose. I would indeed perceive it as a great evil if Google would withdraw their services from me because of someone's quite stupid elitist opinion.
    It's by no means obvious to me that "provide nothing" is less evil than "provide partial."
    The fascinating news for me is Google, a private company standing up to the fascist tyranny of the US government.
    Aside from the fact that it should be the job of the US poulation to do this, and the profound irony of a corporation standing up for rights the ordinary individual is too apathetic and mentally lazy to deal with there is the hilarious spectre of Washington chastising Google and Yahoo over their censorship. Could the irony be any richer?
    Just because Google is an American company, it is not within reason for it to impose American ideology on another nation. While doing business within a market sponsored and regulated by another government, it is only fair that you play by their rules. Google is NOT a liberation army, they are not defenders of democracy or freedom; nor is it their right to assume such a role in a foreign land.
    Most of the comments here and the other articles on the subject follow the "everything or nothing" mentality. This is typical when asking for opinions of people not directly affected by the matter. Most of you being outside China, it is easy to claim that you would rather not use Google at all instead of use a reliable service with certain "sensitive" pages filtered.
    For someone who is currently living in China and using it daily, I am very glad they made this particular decision. For those condemning Google for not sticking to "Don't Be Evil" or for selling out, consider this - which is the greater evil, to filter out some information (and let people know it _is_ being filtered), or to deny them access to information altogether?

    Saturday, February 18, 2006

    [Me] Phoenix is Sick

    Sick in bed.
    Can barely move.
    Will hopefully be better by tomorrow for work.

    Friday, February 17, 2006

    [Warning] Valentine's Day

    Warning signs:
    1. Did you get a box of chocolates from your girlfriend?*
      • No
    2. Did you get a box of chocolates from your mom?
      • Yes

    * In Japan, the girls give the boys chocolate on Valentine's Day.

    Thursday, February 16, 2006

    [Link] The Infamous Ghetto Indoor Pool

    Manager: Sir, can you tell me why you’d like to return this pool?
    Tynan : I was going to buy a penguin, but I was worried the pool was going to leak on my carpet. It doesn’t say anywhere not to use it inside, but I don’t think it’s sturdy enough.
    Manager: Are you being serious?
    Tynan: Yes.
    Manager: Ok… I guess we’ll take it.

    [Link] Trailers

    We all remember the Shining trailer re-mix. Well, here are some new good ones:

    Back to the Future (from )

    Sleepless in Seattle (from )

    I meant to post these before Sapporo, but, well, time is fleeting...

    Tuesday, February 14, 2006

    [Image] Best Valentines Day Card Ever

    Sunday, February 05, 2006

    [Question] 19-hour Ferry Rides

    The Sapporo Trip entails not one, but TWO 19-hour ferry rides.

    My question is: What should I take with me to pass the time?

    [Me] Adventures in Sapporo (soon)

    I'm taking vacation time (!!!) this week in order to go to the Snow Festival in Sapporo.

    I'll try to remember to take lots of pictures, but if I forget ... well, that'd be, you know, normal.

    Of course, even if I DO take pictures, I might never get around to posting them here. I've still not put up the pictures of the palace I live in, and I've been here for a year and a half. And I'm changing houses in the Summer. So, time is ticking. AND, I never did finish the story of my adventures in Tokyo (and the related pictures).

    I guess I'm just a Bad Person.

    [Comic] The Adventures of Dr. McNinja

    It's even more awesome than it sounds.

    Great quotables, like:
    "I'm a Doctor, OK. I know Science."
    (context: he's thinking to himself, as he enters the cave)

    "But if he wanted to enter the cave undetected," the coroner will ask, "why did he wear a bright white lab coat?"

    "Because he was a Doctor. And he knew Science," someone will reply.


    "I'm sorry. He used to love to say that."
    Chess is a little too... "Rooky, pawny" for my tastes.

    Saturday, February 04, 2006

    [Fark] Light bulbs: Not such a bright idea

    Ban the lightbulb and save the world?

    Friday, February 03, 2006

    [Comic] JETfool #2

    Thursday, February 02, 2006

    [Slashdot] Off Kilter

    "Some times I think I went to bed last night in one timeline. A timeline where normal, common sense prevails. Yet, somehow I've woken up in another timeline. One where everything is slightly off kilter. Not enough to be grossly disorienting, but just enough to be maddeningly noticeable."

    [Comic] Dilbert Theory

    An example of why I still love Scott Adams.

    (Yesterday's "Sure, and while I do that you can be at my house cleaning the grout in my shower." was also good)

    [Link] Fun Movie Quiz

    How many of these can you answer correctly, given only a small, grainy, poor-quality screenshot of the movie? (enable javascript to play)

    If you get stuck, here are the answers. You dirty, dirty cheater.

    Tuesday, January 31, 2006

    [Sad] Baruchito

    March 2003 - January 28th 2006

    So much love inside such a small body.

    You will not be forgotten.

    [Interesting] The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

    8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:

    The familiar incident of the review on the website, January 27, 2006
    Reviewer:WordJunkie - See all my reviews
    Today I decided to write a review. My counselor, who is called Harvest, told me that people like to read reviews about how you feel about a certain book. So I decided to write my review about The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. This is because it is the last book I read. Even though my memory is really good, my memory about this book is the best.

    I read some other reviews before writing this. A lot of people are saying that this book is about the dog being murdered. But I don't think it's about the dog. I think they are just being stupid because the book is really about a boy and his perception of the world. His perspective is unique and I think that's why the author thought it would make a good book. (I like that the boy is a lot like me. He doesn't like being touched and neither do I.) Harvest says I shouldn't call people stupid, but I don't understand why I can't call them that when that's how they're being.

    A lot of people said this book was sad or depressing. I don't think it was sad or depressing. It made me feel safe. This is because the author writes in very simple terms. This made it easy to understand.

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is an example of something depressing. I haven't read the book, but I have seen the movie, and it made me feel like this: >>> :( <<<. It is about a mental patient and it has a very tragic ending. I liked it because the movie has Jack Nicholson in it. Jack Nicholson is a good actor. I know this because he is very old and he has been in a lot of movies. And because he gets paid a lot to appear in his movies.

    My counselor told me that I should write about what I liked and did not like about the book. Here is a list of what I liked:

    1. I liked that the story was unique and very different from other books I read. There was a mystery, and I like mysteries.
    2. I liked that the boy in the story tried to teach us random things (about maths problems and the constellations and how people think and God). I like to learn new things.
    3. I liked it when he went off on tangents because tangents make me think of maths and I like maths. (I was going to show you my favorite maths problem involving tangents and parametric equations here, but Harvest says people aren't interested in reading about maths problems.)
    4. I liked that he let us see the world through the boy's eyes. But I have already talked about this so I won't talk about it anymore.
    5. I liked that I was always interested to see what would happen.
    6. I liked that he liked animals because I like animals too.
    7. I liked that it was short and I read it very fast.
    8. I liked the illustrations, maps, and diagrams.

    And here is what I did not like:

    1. I think most people could probably write like this author writes. But it doesn't bother me too much since the story is interesting and good.
    2. Sometimes the actions of the characters seemed a little too convenient. But it didn't bother me too much because it is not a true story.
    3. His writing style is like mine. It was nice, but by the end I was a little bored with it. This is because it made me feel like I was reading a book that I wrote.
    4. There was one inconsistency, and it bothered me. In chapter 113 he says he does not understand people because they imagine things that aren't real. Then right away in the next chapter he talks about imagining something that isn't real. This is a lie, and I don't understand why people tell lies.

    Overall, I think the book should get 4 stars.

    (New readers please note: This review deliberately mimicks the style of the book in order to give you an idea of how it reads.)

    [Interesting] Cadaeic Cadenza

    (from the Wikipedia article) Cadaeic Cadenza is a 1996 short story by Mike Keith.

    When the number of letters in each word are written out, they form the first 3834 digits of pi.

    One A Poem A Raven Midnights so dreary tired and weary,
    3. 1 4 1 5 9 2 6 5 3 5
    The name of the piece itself is based on pi, as "Cadaeic" is the first 7 digits of pi, when rounded.
    C a d a e i c
    3.1 4 1 5 9 3
    A Poem

            A Raven

    Midnights so dreary, tired and weary,
        Silently pondering volumes extolling all by-now obsolete lore.
    During my rather long nap - the weirdest tap!
        An ominous vibrating sound disturbing my chamber's antedoor.
            "This", I whispered quietly, "I ignore".

    [Link] Don't Waste Gravity!

    About the American Society for the Conservation of Gravity

    The Society was formed by a group of concerned citizen-scientists who felt the need to alert the public to mankind's ultimate disaster. The incessant irresponsible squandering of man's most precious terrestrial resource by an unthinking, unknowing populace has to be stopped!

    Consider the following:
    1. The United States, with only 6% of the world's population, uses 59% of its gravity.
    2. A single moon rocket launching uses more gravity in a few moments than the entire world used during all of the 18th century.
    3. The Sears Tower in Chicago (103 elevators!!) uses as much gravity in one day as fifty Mount Everest expiditions.
    4. Air Freight is becoming acceptable in many parts of the country.
    5. Outside of our society there are no programs to develop alternatives, such as synthetic gravity, artificial gravity, or new gravity mines.
    These five items (from a list of dozens in our files) should cause anyone to stop and think -- "What will happen to me when our gravity is gone?" The answer is obvious. The unprotected citizen, caught in the open with no lag bolt or other protection, is doomed. The lucky person who awakes one morning and finds himself bumping gently against the bedroom ceiling will be thankful he wasn't camping out. Birds will have to learn to fly upside-down to get back to their nests. Rabbits, kangaroos, and children on pogo sticks will disappear in a trice. Shoppers will be forced to stand in line to have their potatoes weighed while the gravity supply for the scale builds up.

    A gruesome picture? It is indeed! Can something be done? It can, and the American Society for the Conservation of Gravity is doing it. Our activities fall into three broad categories:
    1. Public Awareness Programs
    2. Scientific Action Projects
    3. Community Reaction and Publicity
    Examples of our PAP programs are our posters and our bumper sticker. The Schaumburg Research Lab is our most famous SAP, while our newsletter is our most widespread CRAP. These worthy activities, conducted entirely without government intervention or support, are the only things which are presently standing between mankind and oblivion.

    The Society has, in fact, established a policy of avoiding governmental sponsorship. We can envision the establishment of the Department of Gravity, with a twenty-billion dollar budget, thousands of bureaucrats, consultants and ne'er-do-well politicians. Even then, our gravity would undoubtedly all end up in Georgia, complete with a totally incomprehensible tax and coupon system. Our Society feels that this problem is a matter best handled by the intelligent individual. We urge you to do your part. A few easy steps, taken by enough concerned people, will suffice to stave off disaster. We urge you to support the Society, join in its activities, teach your friends and neighbors what they can do, and above all, conserve our most precious terrestrial resource.

    [Slashdot] Rumors of Pratchett Film

    kongjie writes "The BBC reports on the rumored possibility of Terry Pratchett's novel Wee Free Men being made into a Hollywood film, with Raimi attached to it. This would be the first, although in the past his stuff has made the television screen."

    [Slashdot] Thoughtcrime?

    (Score:5, Interesting)
    by The evil non-flying (947059) on Thursday January 26, @10:35AM (#14563966)

    Somedays I get the sinking feeling Orwell was an optimist.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    [Slashdot] DRM In The Bible

    When you think of it, DRM is not so incompatible with the bible.
    The whole tree of knowledge debacle was all about this.

    God is all like "No distribution of my IP".
    Then the Snake is all like "I haves the 0-day".
    And then Eve is all like "Adam, dude, here's a torrent".
    Adam to Eve "No way, God will totally rootkit our ass".
    Eve back to Adam "Chillax, guy".
    Then Adam is like "K".
    And God totally kickbans them from the server.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    [Link] Barney's Blog

    Is it just me, or is Barney's Blog in desperate need of an RSS feed? It would be Legendary.

    Me out.

    Monday, January 23, 2006

    [Work] Heartbreaking News

    I thought I'd post an update, since I haven't given any news for a while.

    I'm midway through my second year in Asahi (or, the Asahi part of Echizen Town). It's great here. I have a nice big house, friendly neighbors, excellent co-workers, and awesome students. Really, really awesome students. You wish your students were as cool as mine.

    But, it's pretty much the same thing as last year. I want to stay for a third year, and I felt it would be best for everyone involved if I changed to a new school. My students will be exposed to a new ALT (and accent, mannerisms, etc), I won't burn out teaching the same things over and over again, and I'll get new experiences in a new place with new people. That's kind of the point of being here, afterall.

    There is a particular school I want to go to. Takefu Higashi. I worked at one of their English seminars during my first year, and have tried to volunteer as early as possible for each one since then. The students there are as cool as my students here. I know, it's unbelievable, right? So, if I have to go somewhere, I want it to be there.

    All of which I've mentioned before to at least some of you. Here's where the NEW news starts:

    The final paperwork for me to transfer to the Ken (prefecture) board of education went through this past Friday.

    This weekend, I sent an e-mail to our kencho (boss) about what to do next, as I was wondering how to file the paperwork to request Takefu Higashi as my new school.

    A few minutes ago, (after studying Japanese for two hours, which is why it's 2am as I'm writing this), I opened up my e-mail account, and found a response from the kencho. I will quote the key part:
    As far as a school placement is concerned however, you will be considered a new JET. This means that your placement will be a part of the same process as new ALTs coming in July. Unfortunately, you will not have the option of requesting a particular school.
    I find myself suddenly, unexpectedly, completely lost. I thought as a third-year, I would get priority placement, and in fact the opposite is true.

    More news as it comes in. Phoenix out.

    Friday, January 20, 2006

    [Quote] History

    "Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
    • Reason in Common Sense by George Santayana, Philosopher (16 December 1863 - 26 September 1952)

    "Those who can remember the past are condemned to watch it repeating."
    • Ah, beloved Internet, how I adore thee.

    [Random] Long Time, No Post

    To say that I have been a bit over-worked this week.....

    I'm sure that it's some sort of understatement, and I would normally try to insert a seemingly witty gloss, but frankly my mind has shut down almost entirely.

    A bit of news though; my boss's boss's boss gave me confirmation today that they are transferring me to the prefecture board of education for next year. Meaning: Sayounara, beloved Asahi. Bai bai, gigantic castle-house. I shall be moved to a different school and a different town.

    I know it will probably be for the best, and I will look back in gladness (hopefully), but at the moment I just don't see it. I already miss this place, and I'm still going to be here for another half-year.

    Anyway. I'm not dead yet.

    In other news, a little bird told me that Kris and Lindy have been filming the pilot for a new sketch comedy show. According to Lindy, it's in the format of Kids in the Hall, with a Monty Python pace and South Park sensibilities. Which is setting the bar quite high.

    There's a teaser trailer on the site, but it doesn't show much, which worries me a bit. Pacing is so important in comedy, and it's so often done poorly. Remember Kelsey Grammer Presents: The Sketch Show? Horrible, horrible timing.

    It's not enough for something to be humorous. It has to be timed properly. If the humor doesn't come fast enough, it isn't funny. The Sketch Show was WAY too slow.

    Here's an example of what I mean. Picture this setup: some people are talking, eg, in class or a meeting or working on some problem. Some guy says " know what I don't get?" That's the setup. (And if you read Bash, you know where I'm going with this)

    On The Sketch Show, the "punchline" would be one of his friends saying "laid" and then another saying "respect". One at a time, to be SURE that you heard and understood each line. It might have been humorous, but it wasn't very funny.

    No, you need to have everyone in the room talking at once, over each other, shouting out answers. "Laid!" "Respect!" "Good grades!" "Jokes!" "Decent haircuts!" "Raises!" "Ooh! Love from your parents!" (everyone goes "Oooh!"), each person trying to top the others.

    Our brains are complex, and can handle a lot of simultaneous input. There's an upper limit, of course, but there's also a lower tolerance limit. Below that level, the stimuli comes so slow we lose interest.

    Anyway, since the teaser on doesn't have a full clip from the show itself, we just have to wait...

    I hate waiting.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    [Sad] West Wing Makes Me Cry

    I took a break from Japanese tonight in order to watch West Wing, which recently suffered a heavy loss.

    This particular episode, filmed months before John's death, had a few unintentionally tear-jerking lines.

    Toby: (on phone to Josh) Is somebody dead?


    Josh: It's Leo.
    Toby: He'll survive, too.


    Josh: (after an inappropriate joke) Too soon? (This is exactly what I said after I made an inappropriate joke upon hearing the news about John. Its only relevance is as a personal reminder of the grief)


    Leo: By an overwhelming percentage, the first warning sign of a heart attack is death. I'm fortunate to be here, but it wasn't all luck.


    Leo: We want every man, woman, and child in this country to have full and equal access to the first-class treatment that I firmly believe saved my life.

    This Phoenix is an even sadder Phoenix.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    [Godstuff] Why Atheism?

    Hello. My name is Phoenix, and I'm an atheist. Please read Mark Thomas' well written article on Atheism.

    [Godstuff] WWJD?

    What would Jesus drive?
    One theory is that Jesus would tool around in an old Plymouth because the Bible says, "God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden in a Fury."
    and of course
    "Hell hath no Fury. . ."

    Monday, January 09, 2006

    [Slashdot] We Are Not At War

    (Some of the parents to this post were also quite interesting)

    (Score:4, Insightful)
    by Catbeller (118204) on Tuesday January 10, @04:17AM (#14429653)

    They believe it because buildings blew up and their President, along with EVERY SINGLE NEWS SOURCE in the mainstream media, has repeated the meme until it became a really real fact.

    War exists between nations. Anything else is a metaphor, OR a lie. In the war on "terror", it's a lie. Terror is a name we give to guerilla warfare practiced against civilians by anational networks. If someone we like practices it, it's freedom fighting. If not, they're terrorists.

    The cool thing about a war against unspecified enemies located in no particular place (if they exist at all; find and watch "The Power of Nightmares") is that it begins when Bush says it does, and ends when he declares it "over". Give it two seconds of thought: how in hell do you win against "terror"? This is a Forever War.

    The neocons have stated - categorically -- that war gives the President unlimited powers not only over the military as CinC, but over the civilian population as well. And no law applies to him if he deems it a hindrance. No exaggeration. Lookee at the recent anti-torture bill; after signing, Bush signed an addendum -- an understanding, sort of an opinion piece -- stating that he would disregard the law if it suits his needs. The Forever War gives us a Forever King. I'd use the term dictator, but it's so loaded that the rightists moderating would bury this postimmediately...

    We ain't at war with Afghanistan either. They didn't attack us; they just hosted the attackers, and wouldn't let us take them without proof, which Bush categorically denied them. He wanted "bombs falling in 30 days", and Afghanistan volunteered for the sacrificial lamb position. What we did was not war, and it was not moral. And we've made a mess of it.

    We ain't at war with Iraq, as it never attacked and did not threaten to. We just lied, invaded, occupied, and stole the oil fields and are building a Pentagon-like embassy forthe long haul. We're fighting an insurgency from many fronts, united only in their belief that we are lying a-holes and need to get the hell out. You don't war with insurgents, you try to kill or imprison them. The only way to kill a real insurgency is to murder everyone -- because anyone left alive is just a seed waiting to sprout new insurgency. Fallujah, anyone?

    We may soon attack Iran and then perhaps Syria, also under false pretenses. Bush has been delivering "Iran is a pack of terrorists" packets to Arab leaders for the past month or so, so his boys haven't given up on their Project for the New American Century yet. It's the Domino Theory all over again, only they want to be the domino players. It was a silly theory in the 50s and 60s, and it's doubly silly now. Counties aren't domino pieces, and they don't "fall" when you push them. And beware what you wish for, neocons, because people might really want a democratically elected religious dictatorship that will ally itself with other Godly dictatorships. People LIKE dictators, if they agree with them.

    Thinking about it, the Forever War generates the fantasy enemy it proclaims existed in the first place, even if it really didn't. It's self-renewing. And like the first Forever War against "communism", it is making a lot of people so very, very rich and others so very, very powerful.