Saturday, April 30, 2005

Bento Watch #10

Using my previously mentioned onigiri press, I made a ume onigiri (pickled plum) and an onigiri with scrambled egg. I threw in some cut up fish cake that I teriyaki'd up.

Friday, April 29, 2005

End of the Game Industry?

From Opinion Column by PC Magazine - Doom 4: End of the Game Industry?:
Am I the only one who expects a collapse of the gaming business soon? Does anyone else think that it is overdue? It has happened before, and I can't see how people will keep shelling out $50 or so for a video game when the games have hardly changed since the invention of the first-person shooter.
Wrong. This would be the same as saying that there is no need to write any more books or make any more movies since all the stories have already been told. Or, if I may go to far, that art is dead since everything is based off of something else. What a yutz, I think he wrote this just get the goat of people like me.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Watching the Indians

I spent the night at the ballpark watching the Cleveland Indians (inevitably loose to Detroit), here's some shots...

Warming up.

There's a Build-A-Bear location in the stadium where you can build a Slider, the Indians mascot.

Pretzels that have been cut in half and formed to look like the Indians logo. Of course the price is still $3.50 so you better have a serious pretzel jonsin'.

Snack time, I'm a sucker for hot viddles, which of course, I'm not supposed to eat.

Coco Crisp up to bat. View full for full effect.

Train Disaster

The Mainichi Daily News has a good photo set of the train derailment disaster in Japan. I feel particularly bad for the people on the second train car, those poor souls didn't have a chance...

I'm actually kind'a surprised so much human interaction is needed on the trains in Japan. So much of the system is computerized already, I almost would've thought that the trains operated strictly on auto pilot, with a human present in case it got ugly.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Exotic Gifts from the Far East

My buddy and his wife recently made another trip to Japan and they were kind enough to haul some goodies back for me. A couple of the items are pictured below.

This is a picture of a cute bento box with some (as well) cute Engrish on it. They kindly packed it full of little wasabi packets, yum!

This is an onigiri press used to make...well...homemade onigiri (cleverly, it's textured with rice to resemble an onigiri).

This is a sign which says (and I paraphrase as I don't remember exactly) 'don't let your dog poop here'. Sitting next to is my can of 'Hillbilly Joose' which I've been dying to work into a post somewhere.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Two Minute Anime Hit

ODK links to a couple minute video (I had to save the file to my desktop and open it up from there) made by Akira/Steamboy genius Katsuhiro Otomo. While amazing, it epitomizes much of anime: the artwork is amazing, while the content is 'WTF?'.

The Woes of Mexican Self Governance

From here:
Mexico City's socialist mayor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, beat the rap yesterday and is back on the job. This is important because he is expected to run for president next year and win--if he's on the ballot. The legal dispute was a contrived attempt by his political opponents to prevent that from happening, and it appears to have failed spectacularly, with nearly 1 million supporters marching on Sunday and federal prosecutor dropping the charges against him.

What this means is that come next summer, President Bush will lose his compadre, Vicente Fox, and instead have to deal with the candidate of the Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD in Spanish), a sort of Hugo Chavez-lite. Among other things, this is not a guy who's going to cooperate with the president on a guestworker program. He's also likely to push expanded dual citizenship for people of Mexican origin in the United States, since so many immigrants here are supporters of the socialist PRD.
Many in the U.S. had high hopes for Vicente Fox and had hoped that he would tear down many of the barriers that keep Mexicans from succeeding. Instead, he turned out to be more like an Arab leader where he sings a good tune in English, but then turns around and bad mouths us (or worse) in his native tongue while maintaining the status quo. I feel bad that the Mexicans cannot get better leadership, but much of this stems from the Latin American "revenge through politics" attitude that permeates much of their society. A Socialist leader means more hard times ahead for Mexico, but at least the U.S. will be dealing with someone who makes no bones about his resentment of America and we can quit deluding ourselves into thinking we're dealing with an honest broker.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Bento Watch #9

This one was a bit of a treat since it features sea scallops in the recipe. Fortunately, they were on special and they only set me back almost three bucks for three scallops. I 'teriyaki-ed' them up along with the shrimp and put them over the rice, on top of which I had but some nori squares. Man those scallops were tasty, I wish they didn't cost so friggin much.

Spring Snow

Okay, this storm is kind of unusual even by Cleveland standards, though that won't keep me from shoveling a half a ton of the wet cement stuff off my car tomorrow.

My favorite factoid about up here (I wouldn't be surprised if I've already mentioned it) is the fact that a couple years ago it once snowed two weeks before Memorial Day. None of it stuck, but I thought we were moving into the age of permafrost in Cleveland.

Sunday, April 24, 2005


I won't go into the excruciatingly boring details, but my MS OSes let me down this weekend and even more surprisingly, my Linux Counterstrike server. I also had the honor of working on my wife's friend's computer which was completely owned by trojans/spyware. On her system, I confirmed a discovery I'd made earlier: Kodak distributes spyware with their camera software. I guess the spyware company distributes updates for Kodak's oh-so-valuable client (every function of which is performed better by other packages) and in exchange the spyware company gets to provide slowdowns and pop-ups to Kodak's customers.

Anyway, with some of my other time I read that a Pokemon was redesigned shortly after his debut in the States. Let's see if you can discover which one was the first design:

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Bento Watch #8

This was one of nastier efforts. On the bottom left is a teriyaki chicken that had a recipe that either called for too much soy sauce, or I didn't follow the directions properly. On the upper right is a devil tongue recipe. Why the fancy name for a flavored block of coconut jelly, I have no idea. I had this uncooked, in small quantities in Japan and I remember it being OK. I cooked it up per the recipe and it turned out like soy/fish flavored rubber bands, in both taste and texture. The only redeeming aspect of this bento is the rice covered with a salmon furikake.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Kill All the Software Patents

For non-techies, this may be a new one, but there's a severe, ongoing issue at the moment where there's a nasty gold rush on to patent anything to do with software. One example (among all too many) is Amazon's '1-Click' ordering. What's so unique about this process? The server keeps your information stored so that checking out takes less effort, what's the big deal? Of course, to admit that the software patent game is a joke would mean that existing businesses would have no way to squish would-be competitors, which is what this is all about - a denial of freedom by those who view themselves as too good to be accountable. But one might ask then, if patents are eliminated, how does a company of any size protect their software intellectual property?

This gets into the issue of trying to find out what a 'program' actually is. Is it like the hardware that it runs upon? If so, then patents would be applicable. Or is software/hardware relationship more like the relationship between a cookbook and a stove? Although these two objects are interdependent (to a certain extent), one can easily tell that the two don't have much in common. I wasn't all that surprised to discover that the cookbook analogy is fairly prevalent, and the MySQL founders are part of an organization (along with Oracle) to end software patents:
[Patents] just stall innovation. Look at an extension of patents. I don't see any difference in a software program and a recipe in a book. It's the same thing to me as a programmer. It's them saying, "You're not allowed to write the sentence you're writing right now because somebody patented it."
I'll allow that computer programs are much more complicated than a recipe in a cookbook, but both are protected by copyright laws so that the creator's work could not be copied, but the processes there-in could be replicated.

For example, any number of cookbooks have different recipes for meatloaf, but you're not allowed to copy a series of meatloaf recipes verbatim out of several cookbooks to create your own meatloaf tour d'force. However, if cookbooks were treated like software currently is, it would be illegal to recreate a meatloaf recipe of any kind because some moneybags somewhere patented the whole idea of meatloaf; a nightmare to be sure.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Just One Fix

Lessee how many rules this is breaking for myself: (1) gorging on (2) greasy food with (3) onions (4) late at night. The only good thing is, now that I have that nasty taste at the back of my mouth, it will be many years before I have to have one again.

I can't bring these up without passing on a tale. Many, many years ago, a new White Castle opened in Hamilton, Ohio and they ran a special 10 cent slider special. There was a limit of six per customer, but since I had several brothers and sisters we all loaded up. I think I ate like eleven or so of those things that day, but cut me some slack, I was only like twelve.

Of course now a'days, I'm lucky to eat five of those torso torpedoes without getting sick.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Bento Watch #7

Mmmmm fried fish cake and udon noodles. I mixed it up with a little seaweed as well.

Boston Marathon 2005

Congrats to my brother for qualifying, running in and finishing the Boston Marathon! You know how people sometimes like to live vicariously through other individuals who are doing what they really want to do? Well my body likes to live vicariously through my athletic brothers and sisters, especially when I shoving whole pizza into it :-0

Man Accused of Holding Illegal Immigrants

That's some headline huh? How about "Man jailed for holding bank robber"? Have some Americans had their instincts for self preservation so dumped upon by the PC police that they're willing to give up the shop rather than risk offending someone?
The sheriff's comments earlier this week about Haab's actions included,“No civilian can take the law into their own hands.”
Well maybe if law enforcement did their friggin' job, regular citizens wouldn't have to.

On a related note, I read somewhere that Tom DeLay said something about the conflicting emotions about illegals:
I'll never forget a rather elderly lady that I was sitting by at a lunch who was just ranting and raving about all these illegals that are over here. And I said, 'Well, fine.' We got to talking. You know, she had a yard man, she had a maid, she had some illegals living across the street. I said, 'Well, I'll tell you what, I'll call up right now and pick up your maid, your yard man and the people living across the street.' [She said,] 'Oh, don't you do that. Don't you do that. I want the ones that are up there in North Houston to be picked up.'
Is that what this about? Making sure rich white people can afford their goodies? That's a great populist message: "Screw over the working stiff so that George Soros doesn't have to put out a lot of dough for his lawn care". I myself can barely afford the ocean of crap I have to buy every year to dump on my lawn to keep it from turning into a jungle, so I'm fairly certain that picking up illegals is not a concern for the common joe. At least DeLay made up for that insipid story a little bit with this comment:
The American people need to see us protect our borders and enforce our laws. And then, they'll be willing to talk about a guest-worker program...
Personally, I think the guest worker program idea is a crock whose time should never come as well, but the fact that the government can't even be bothered to enforce existing laws, and then arrests those who do, makes such an idea all the more unattractive.

Get Hired

Cool, 3D Realms is hiring level designers. It'd be a good deal to get onto one of those teams working on a game that has a thirty year development cycle. Since you'd be dead before the game was ever released, you'd never have to worry about doing any work!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Japan #16 - Metropolis2

(At the end of August/beginning of September 2004 I took a pleasure trip to Japan. I meant to have all the blog postings done in the first week, I'm now on track to have it done within 90 days months of the trip.)

This was a truck driving through Shibuya that was apparently advertising for office furniture. The cowboy struck me as odd.

It says something about the demand for such items when a major shopping district can support its own violin store.

This was one of the many oceans of bikes. This shot is from Shinjuku on our way to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office towers. I saw them from afar and I remembered that it's a free trip to the top. I also love this quip I found about them:
The stunning success of the Japanese economy during the late 1980's seemed to promise a sparkling future for Tokyo in the nineties as well as the next century. Then-governor Suzuki came up with the idea of creating a new government center which would live up to Japan's new position as a major world center. The project was equipped with a budget to match the grandness of the scheme.
It is both futuristic and post-modern at the same time. The sheer size of the project speaks volumes about the overly bureaucratic weight of Tokyo's government.
Impressive? Yes.
A big waste of cash? More than likely.

A view from the tower, note the 'typhoon gray'.

Waiting at a station.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

In The Groove

Intersting (well, to me at least), it looks like Red Octane is trying to one-up Konami and put out their own DDR type game, "In the Groove". It will be interesting to see how this shakes out since Red Octane is making a very western style dance game; will Konami still find it worthwhile to put out DDR games in the U.S.? Probably, but I read that Konami doesn't put out DDR arcade games in the U.S. and that the DDR Extreme arcade games floating around are boots from Japan (and those that aren't boots are OLD). This may also explain why Dave and Busters has 'Pump It Up' (i.e. Korean DDR), but not DDR.

This makes me wonder since when I went to the arcade recently, many of the arcade games looked very roughly translated (i.e., if it didn't directly apply to the gameplay, it was Kana).


From that Drudge linked article on the 'Big Two' G.M. and Ford Stuck in Neutral:
G.M. and Ford are having such a hard time bringing in the real American consumer that about a third of their sales go to their own employees, their family and friends, or to rental companies and corporate fleets, at razor-thin margins.
Geez, it's like the people are making the cars, to make money, to buy the cars they make. The article makes the point that GM and Ford make unsexy cars. On the surface, that may be viewed as a poor motivator for a car purchase, but I'll relate two quick experiences.

A couple years ago I had rented a Ford escort and while driving around, I was struck by an idiotic teenager. Since the rental place didn't have any more escorts, they gave me a fancy Ford Explorer for the same amount. I got in the Explorer looked around and realized that many of the same aesthetics were the same as those that are in the Escort, a car that cost about a third as it's loaded behemoth of a cousin. I guess this happens with all auto manufacturers, but when your base car looks like crap, you hardly want to carry that look down your model line.

I currently own a Saturn, and I tend to believe that this may be one of the most underrated cars on the planet, but it has all the pizzaz of a can of generic veg-all. They could almost make them all white with a big, bold CAR written on the hood. It almost proves the point that American companies can't make a decent car unless they dumb it down to the point that it's impossible to screw up. Saturn does have a new SUV, but since it's made using the same techniques, it's exactly the same as it's sedan cousins, though GM feels obligated to charge ten grand more for the privilege since it's an SUV (or SVU or whatever they call it).

One more point I want to extract from the article:
Back then, Willow Run [GM plant] was "like a city that never stopped," said Joy, 48, a quality inspector. "It was just bustling, always bustling, everybody just worked, worked, worked, worked, worked. It was nothing like it is now."

"These kind of jobs, where could you find something like this anymore?"
Midwestern union goons have to realize the fact that the reason jobs like that are hard to come by is that they never really existed in the first place. Instead of having jobs that were exposed to market pressures, the unions (and the lazy management that accommodated them) distorted the marketplace and caused their labor, and as a result, the product they made, to be overpriced. Add this in to inept management and engineering on the cheap, and you have a recipe for a mediocre car company, which is exactly what Ford and G.M. are.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Bento Watch #6

I had to burn through several items that I was worried might go bad. I have the rice in tofu pocket things (too lazy to look up the name), some lazy oni-giri/seaweed wrapped rice balls, spinach balls, lightly sauteed baby eggplants and some chicken breasts with sugar snap peas.

Steyn Watch

From The
For two generations, as fertility rates have nose-dived in the West, the complaceniks of Canada and Western Europe have clung to the assumption that they can go on using the Third World as a farm team and denude developing societies of their best and brightest. Even if one accepts this as enlightened and progressive rather than lazy and selfish, how could anyone seriously credit it as a long-term strategy on which to pin the viability of Euro-Canadian welfarism?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Minuteman Project

Looks like the people in Arizona have at least whipped George Bush into doing something about friggin' securing the nations borders, from La Shawn Barber (emphasis mine):
The Minuteman Project, founded by Jim Gilchrist, a former military man, is accomplishing the goal of raising awareness of just how extensive the illegal immigration scourge really is. Some government bureaucrat must have noticed. Several days before the start of the border watch, U.S. officials decided to send 500 border agents down to Arizona. Many speculated that George Bush was embarrassed that civilians volunteered to do the job he's paid to do but so far hasn't done.
This topic obviously fires her up, sing it sister!
The bloated Department of Homeland Insecurity is considering shipping illegal aliens directly back to their hometowns instead of dropping them off at the border they just illegally crossed. Pure genius. Being that smart must be painful.

Gambling away Ohio

From Billion-dollar stakes:
'Yeah, I'd like to get some tax money from it [gambling],' Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken said last year, after counting Ohio license plates at Argosy and declaring it's time for a casino here. 'But more importantly, I'm interested in the attraction that will bring people downtown, create jobs and help the economy.'
Well hell, why don't you just legalize prostitution and open some opium dens while you're at it? If you're abandoning your moral scruples for a buck, you may as well go all out! It's certainly a lot easier than improving the tax and regulatory environment for existing businesses; or god forbid someone do something to improve education in the Ohio-an city centers, I mean, besides flushing money down the public education hole.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Case Building

Continuing in the theme of blog entries around throw away photos, here's a picture of the business management school at Case. It's overwrought design stinks of effort ("look at how OUTRAGEOUS it looks, we obviously spent a lot of time designing it!") and I never cared for it. The novelty, which is all a design like that has, wears off very quickly. On top of that, a couple years ago a guy broke into the place and shot it up a bit; the building's bizzaro layout made it a nightmare for police to secure the place.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Cruise Control

I'm starting to remember why I didn't blog for a couple months last year. The weather gets good and the yard starts going to hell. I also have to catch up on house work I put off for several months due to winter. Oh well, I plan on taking many pictures to pad out as lazy blog posts, enjoy! This one is from the inside of the Cleveland art museum which also has a very cool armory.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Bento Watch #5

I had this one a couple days ago. A new diet regimen I'm on frowns upon fresh fruits and veggies, so I some canned beets and canned peaches. The dish is a chicken donburi which is similar to the shrimp one I mentioned earlier, but it's made with chicken and shitakes rather than shrimp and peppers.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Spartan Solution

Geez, so much for a living will meaning anything (not that it ever did), or, well, much of anything else. FromThrown Back via KJL:
85 year-old Mae Margourik of LaGrange, Georgia, is currently being deprived of nutrition and hydration at the request of her granddaughter, Beth Gaddy. Mrs. Margourik suffered an aortic dissection 2 weeks ago and was hospitalized. Though her doctors have said that she is not terminally ill, Ms. Gaddy declared that she held medical power of attorney for Mae, and had her transferred to the LaGrange Hospice. Later investigation revealed that Ms. Gaddy did not in fact have such power of attorney. Furthermore, Mae's Living Will provides that nutrition and hydration are to be withheld only if she is comatose or vegetative. Mae is in neither condition. Neither is her condition terminal.
Makes me wonder how many Donald Harveys are out there among us.

'Unintellectual' Left

There's been some noise lately about how biased American college campuses are against conservative views. Now of course the left reacts in such a defensive manner that it's bound to make the unaware among us curious. When it comes to conservatives and stories like this, much like stories that report left leaning views in the mainstream media, they barely elicit a yawn, i.e. "tell me something I don't know, you gonna tell me next that the world is round?". I love when lefties bring up there defense though, there's one tar baby that even the most intelligent among them can't resist getting stuck to, from The SanityPrompt:
Then again, a lot of that has to do with the fact that academia requires some rigor in thought and much of the conservative movement hasn't demonstrated much of THAT these days.
Ahh, the old conservative=stupid argument. The irony of course is that this is the laziest of intellectual arguments. It represents the baseless, insulting characterization that the arrogant 'intellectual' left holds towards conservatives, not an actual argument against the merit (or lack thereof) of the claim. As well, it basically affirms that the claim that there is bias against conservatives is TRUE since the 'stupid' argument always starts out "There are no conservatives in academia because...."

Well, if they cede the fact that there IS a bias, then their argument is nothing but a self reassuring platitude for their click; but what do they feel, or even better think, the REAL reason is?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Cleveland Thinker Pic

I'm feelin pretty lazy, so here's a pic of The Thinker down at the Cleveland art museum.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


I got a picture of this while I was out and about over the weekend...

I ran out space on the memory card, so I couldn't get a picture of a sticker on the other side of his car that said "Ham Luvin' Hebrew".

Monday, April 04, 2005

Rhythm and Police

Play Dance Dance in school? I think I live in the wrong state!
Although I myself lost weight playing the game, I put off playing it for while because of concerns that I was pounding the hell out the cartilage in my leg joints. I recently put out for the $100 pads like those pictured in the article, they're significantly more accurate and easier on the knees.

(Hat tip Eric Kendall).
(DDRFreak has many locations for you lamers that don't own the game).

Tokyo Grope

Oh...oh...oh my. This story speaks for itself, Groper's paradise gets Women's Only carriages for morning rush hour:
Women-only coaches were introduced Monday on notorious JR Saikyo Line trains during the morning rush hour to protect women from molesters, East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) said.
You mean to tell me that grouping is so bad in Japan that they have to reserve a car for ladies to keep them from getting groped?
The JR Saikyo Line is infamous for having the largest number of molestation cases on a single train line. Last year, 217 cases in which men molested women on trains were reported on the line.
Of course my previous experience tells me that a separate country may be needed for the ladies in order to protect them from Japanese pervs. What about the men though? Are they upset at automatically being labeled a letch?
"It's a good change because I no longer have to carry a bag and hang onto a strap to avoid being mistaken for a molester," Hitoshi Ishida, 53, a company employee from the Saitama Prefecture city of Kawaguchi...
That's great. I feel kind'a bad though that I laughed the whole time I read this story (Although the title led me to believe it was about fish).

Space Pope versus Real Pope

Eric Kendall, in a dedication to Pope John Paul II, remarks on a New York Times article that quotes a Hans Kung who apparently fancies himself a critic of the late Pope:
In my opinion, he is not the greatest pope but the most contradictory of the 20th century. A pope of many, great gifts, and of many bad decisions!
After a little reading I saw that Mr. Kung had been banned from teaching at a Catholic institution because of his 'extreme liberal views'. Given the idiocy of the political views of many within the church I found this hard to believe, until I dug a little deeper. Most left wing radicals within the Catholic church use doctrine to support their views, but Mr. Kung decided that church doctrine didn't go quite far enough:
Without glossing over the serious differences among the individual religions, the [global ethic] document affirms that the ancient wisdom common to all religions can point the way to the future, and it seeks to proclaim publicly those things which we hold in common and jointly affirm, each on the basis of our religious or ethical grounds.
That sounds like a hunk of gobbledygook to me. Of course if he was just looking for common ground between the worlds major religious faiths, it would be one thing, but where Mr. Kung seems to go very awry is in making sure secular zealots get their two cents in as well:
Thus, the old commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' becomes, in positive terms, 'Have respect for life,' and calls for the safety of all minorities, social and political justice, a culture of non-violence, respect for the environment and universal disarmament. The directive 'Thou shalt not steal' becomes 'Deal honestly and fairly,' and decries poverty and the violence and counter-violence which occur in a wealth-polarized society, where theft becomes necessary for sheer survival and hatred and resentment inevitably well up.
Of course in an effort to prove every undesirable facet of life a great social wrong, Mr. Kung completely dilutes the meanings of right and wrong; a long standing tenant in the liberal secular 'faith'.

Contrast the baseless ramblings of Hans Kung with the rock that was Pope John Paul II. Many on the left hated him because he called them for what they really were. Mostly, the criticisms all seemed to boil down to people wanting to do whatever with their urges and not feel guilty about it, as if a blessing from a corrupt Pope would somehow assuage the guilt that chases them for their misdeeds.

I, myself, cannot do justice to what en effective church leader, cold warrior, and moral beacon Pope John Paul II was; the likes of Hans Kung aren't fit to criticize his choice of breakfast, let alone the man himself. The church would be quite lucky to get more than one Pope like him a century.

(Update: Jonathan V. Last at the Weekly Standard notes more leftwing criticism of the pope, including his distaste for communism. Dr. Degenaro's child raping led regime that he loves is mentioned as well, fun for all!)

(Update 4/5/05:Mark Steyn has an excellent piece:
When a free man enjoying the blessings of a free society promotes an equivalence between real democracy and a sham, he's colluding in the great lie being perpetrated by the prison state. Too many Western politicians of a generation ago - Schmidt, Trudeau, Mitterrand - failed to see what John Paul saw so clearly. It requires tremendous will to cling to the splendour of truth when the default mode of the era is to blur and evade.)

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Random Viddles

I couldn't resist the siren song of the all you can eat steak down at Golden Coral this morning. In truth, the 'steak' is actually grilled roast, and it will immediately turn into plywood unless you get it extra rare. Oscar 'cooks' them up just like I like them!

Meiji chocolate bars from Japan prove that yet another country is way better at making chocolate than the U.S.A.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Japan #15 - Metropolis1

(At the end of August/beginning of September 2004 I took a pleasure trip to Japan. I meant to have all the blog postings done in the first week, I'm now on track to have it done within 90 days months of the trip.)

I was not feeling too chipper in the morning in Yokohama, yet what was to follow was probably one of the most concentrated days of my life: the last full day in Japan. Illogically, we only allotted one day for Tokyo; yet, I don't know if I would have enjoyed it as thoroughly were it spread out over two or three days. This day was like a 'day in the life' type experience, one only a casual traveler can have because everyone else has too much time available to try and cram a weeks worth of experiences into eighteen hours.

Speaking of illogical, before we left Yokohama, which is every bit as big a piece of concrete as you're going to find, I came upon a ten by ten foot area at the base of an apartment building that someone had turned into a rice bog. Why? Surely that tiny bog isn't going to put out that much of a crop. I'd hate to think that import duties are so stiff that people feel they have to cultivate every piece of exposed earth in the country. (Something else of mild interest, in my walk around the building was a school that had various extracurricular classes convened on a Saturday morning; band practice and such. I guess it happens at American schools as well, I mean, not counting 'Saturday school').

Moving on, we hopped a short train to our stop and it was a this point that I noticed that the Tokyo JR train system isn't the most difficult thing to follow. I was kind'a afraid after hearing some horror stories from non-natives, but a little pattern recognition will carry you a long way on that bad boy. We dropped of our bags at the hotel and we were off, first stop: Shibuya (a fancy shopping district, though it seemed every shopping district we went to was at least a little fancy).

I'm not sure which day this picture was taken, since I remember it being this active all the time.


A photo cannot do justice to many places and Shibuya is certainly one of those.

A big ol' political truck where I believe the speaker is making a case that the Tojo-ites deserve another chance. An example of the ever popular 'naked boys peeing' statues can be seen on the left.

A street in Shibuya.

I think the outfits the girls up front are wearing get a bad rap.

On the right is one of the three known pachinko parlors...within fifty meters of me.

Friday, April 01, 2005

April whatever

I've never been a big April fool fan, and Slashdot is aggressively trying to 'lame' the day out of existence. Check out this hardcore nerd 'humor': :
...'An A. Farrel has put out a Request For Comments paper on a new routing protocol with profound implications for the internet, the usability of the TCP/IP protocol, and the security of the net's youngest users. From the RFC: 'It has often been the case that morality has not been given proper consideration in the design and specification of protocols produced within the Routing Area. This has led to a decline in the moral values within the Internet and attempts to retrofit a suitable moral code to implemented and deployed protocols has been shown to be sub-optimal.'
Gawd, make it end...


I always suspected that Daylight Savings Time was at its core, a stupid idea, and this article confirms it:
The reason we have Daylight Saving Time (DST), of course, is because the politicians have mandated it. Washington is much better at wasting things than saving them, but federal lawmakers nevertheless spent much of the 20th century insisting, with typical modesty, that they could 'save daylight.' (Why couldn't they instead have tried to save Social Security?)