Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ridiculously sunburnt.

Totally worth it though. Katsuura Shogakko Undokai was awesome.
From 2008-09-20

Try to get pics/vids up tomorrow or early in the week.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Overheard in the Office | They Tried to Protect Me from the Horrors of White-Flour Noodles:
"Girl: Did you ever eat SpaghettiO's when you were a kid?
Guy: No, my parents loved me.

Grocery Store
Vancouver, Washington"

T2 - 19/20.

19 - Upper body wkout/6 meals/2L water
20 - Free/Rest

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The proper use of Hallelujah.

Overheard in New York | Oh Well, We'll Just Watch Touched By an Angel Later.:
"Father: We might not make it home in time for church.
Little boy: Hallelujah! We're gonna miss church!

--Bus to Staten Island"

The key to the financial meltdown, apparently.

I'm only barely clever enough to follow what they're talking about here...

How SEC rule-exemptions led to the Wall St collapse - Boing Boing:
"Special exemptions from the SEC are in large part responsible for the huge build up in financial sector leverage over the past 4 years -- as well as the massive current unwind

...The events of the past year are not a mere accident, but are the results of a conscious and willful SEC decision to allow these firms to legally violate existing net capital rules that, in the past 30 years, had limited broker dealers debt-to-net capital ratio to 12-to-1. Instead, the 2004 exemption -- given only to 5 firms -- allowed them to leverage up 30 and even 40 to 1.

Who were the five that received this special exemption? You won't be surprised to learn that they were Goldman, Merrill, Lehman, Bear Stearns, and Morgan Stanley."
One thing I haven't been able to track w/the government bailout and regulation, is how exactly a government with a 9 trillion dollar deficit is gonna ensure fiscal responsibility from anyone. Like putting the drunk in charge of the bar.

T2 - 17/18.

17 - Lower body wkout/6 meals/3L water
18 - 20m cardio shadowboxing/6 meals/3L water

So I talked to God...

Well, iGod anyways.

iGod | Artificial Intelligence Chat
What is the meaning of life?
Actually, it's twenty-three, not forty-two.
You stole that from Robert Anton Wilson
As Picasso said, "Good artists create. Great artists steal.".
How is Picasso?
Fine as far as I know.
Why wouldn't you Know?
Perhaps Know is not among my abilities.
Everything is your ability!
The whole universe?
It's all good.
Do you mean "it's all God"?
Yes, that's what I mean, isn't it clear?
Not really. And what about all those Bible fuckups?
Are you serious? For real. Rhetorical questions are so over.
How is that rhetorical?
Fine as far as I know.
You suck God.
I categorize you as an "abusive client."

Yeah, that figures.

This was really fascinating - "Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives."

Understanding both sides and their motivations.

Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives | Video on
"About this talk

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices, whether we're left, right or center. In this eye-opening talk, he pinpoints the moral values that liberals and conservatives tend to honor most.

About Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt studies how -- and why -- we evolved to be moral. By understanding more about our moral roots, his hope is that we can learn to be civil and understanding of those whose morals don't match ours, but who are equally good and moral people on their own terms.

Why you should listen to him:

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies morality and emotion in the context of culture. He asks: Why did humans evolve to have morals -- and why did we all evolve to have such different morals, to the point that our moral differences may make us deadly enemies? It's a question with deep repercussions in war and peace -- and in modern politics, where reasoned discourse has been replaced by partisan anger and cries of "You just don't get it!"

Haidt asks, "Can't we all disagree more constructively?" He suggests we might build a more civil and productive discourse by understanding the moral psychology of those we disagree with, and committing to a more civil political process. He's also active in the study of positive psychology and human flourishing."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I still say immigration should be like home base in a game of tag - if you get one hand on it, you're "safe."

Illegal Editor: Immigration restrictions hurt legal residents. - Reason Magazine:
"I first broke immigration law one month after my 22nd birthday. Czechoslovakia had a rule, left over from the recently expired Communist regime, that foreigners were required to change around $15 per day at the state-run tourist office. Not only did I fail to meet the daily legal minimum, mostly due to poverty, but I changed whatever greenbacks I could with some strictly verboten Egyptian dudes, because they gave a 40 percent better return (when not robbing you, that is). So I was an immigration scofflaw and a violator of my host country's domestic laws, and that's without even considering the kinds of materials I was having mailed to me from Amsterdam.

The way I figured it, then as now, is if the laws governing my place of residence were dumb and/or prevented me from carrying out my peaceful day-to-day transactions, there was no reason to pull a muscle straining to comply.

...These memories come to mind whenever a friend or foe poses one of the most potent questions in America's ongoing family feud over immigration: "What part about illegal do you not understand?" Leaving aside the fact that most of these interlocutors have, at some point in their lives, knowingly (and illegally!) written a wrong date on a check, imbibed an illegal drug, or undervalued an item in a suitcase, there is something undeniably resonant about the criticism that illegal aliens openly flout U.S. law when they cross the border or overstay their visas, and then compound their original crime by either working off the books or obtaining fake Social Security cards. The whole arrangement can feel like an affront to the rule of law, a fact that immigration enthusiasts like me forget or downplay at our peril.

But as most small-government types are otherwise more than happy to tell you when it comes to stuff like the tax code and the regulatory state, nothing converts ordinary human beings into "criminals" faster than laws that shouldn't have been written in the first place. And there are few areas in American life where the laws are as byzantine, crazy-quilt, and Kafkaesque as those related to entering the United States from abroad. See our bureaucratic maze of a chart on pages 32-33, showing how legal immigration is a head-scratching, lawyer-demanding gauntlet that can take as long as two decades to complete..."

More at the link on how less restrictive immigration helps keep unemployment down, and how restrictions against immigrants frequently are used against a country's own citizens.

Little things matter.

The Simple Dollar » The Least Important Bill:
"Then think about this fact. If you cancel a $20 monthly bill and instead apply that $20 to your credit card bill (that has a balance of $5,000, a 12% interest rate, and a $100 minimum payment), you’d turn 302 payments of $100 a pop into 55 payments of $120 a pop (I used the minimum payment calculator to get this number). Your credit card balance would disappear in about four and a half years instead of twenty five years..."

RAW Thought of the Day - In light of the US economic meltdown.

" issue that agitated philosophers and theologians from Aristotole to the late Renaissance: how can money, an inanimate object, reproduce itself? Only animals can reproduce, right?

...Many, especially St Ambrose, analyzed the fraud closely and decided that it rests upon a monoploly over the coin or currency. Hence the Banks of Piety, which... lent without charging interest, thereby abolishing or diminishing usury.

By 1692, the Banks of Piety had ceased to exist... That year, William Paterson, founder of the Bank of England, boldly declared the miracle of miraculous multiplication in an advertisment to prospective share-holders, promising they would have "benefit of interest on all the moneys which the bank creates out of nothing." Ever since, we have lived in what La tour de Pin called the "Age of Usury." Others, more politely, call it Finance Capitalism.

All of us, born into debt, remain in debt all our loves and the debt will pass on to our posterity, multiplying not only miraculously but faster than bunny rabbits. Economists call it compound interest.

Money not only has learned the art of fucking, but even that of reproduction. The people who demonstrate agains the World Bank and the IMF have not invented an original and radical idea but merely rediscovered the view of most of the Western classics."
- The Thing That Ate the Constitution, by Robert Anton Wilson

As I watch financial news, I'm increasingly [with age] surprised as how everyone else doesn't seem aware that the value of money is something that is entirely made up. There is no "there" there, and whatever value we say it has is simply in accordance with whatever game-rules we agreed upon. Or, as usually the case, whatever value is dictated to us, at large, by the government or the FED.

The value of stocks, or of companies has little to do with what their "worth" is, and instead with the ideas that speculators and investors have about their worth.

[A brief aside, a lot of political libertarians point the US abandoning the gold standard and turning to "fiat money" as the first sign of financial mistep, resulting in whatever the current economic crisis might be. And that's true, as far as that goes. But they don't seem to follow through the thought process and see that the valuation of gold, in and of itself, is a process of imaginary values and guesses.]

Money is all made up, basically. An observation that helps no one and nothing as their 401k dwindles, but still, there it is.

"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal

"It's because they're stupid. That's why everyone does everything." - Homer Simpson.

Bear it in mind.

Wonder Woman smacks down Sarah Palin.

Okay, technically, Lynda Carter. But still...

Wonder Woman vs. Sarah Palin - ComicMix news:
"PHILADELPHIA MAGAZINE: Okay, last question. I'm sure you've seen all the comparisons in the media and among Republicans of Sarah Palin to Wonder Woman. How do you feel about that?

LYNDA CARTER: "Don’t get me started. She’s the anti-Wonder Woman. She’s judgmental and dictatorial, telling people how they’ve got to live their lives. And a superior religious self-righteousness ... that’s just not what Wonder Woman is about...

"No one has the right to dictate, particularly in this country, to force your own personal views upon the populace — religious views. I think that is suppressive, oppressive, and anti-American. We are the loyal opposition. That’s the whole point of this country: freedom of speech, personal rights, personal freedom. Nor would Wonder Woman be the person to tell people how to live their lives. Worry about your own life! Worry about your own family! Don't be telling me what I want to do with mine.

...Separation of church and state is the one thing the creators of the Constitution did agree on — that it wasn’t to be a religious government. People should feel free to speak their minds about religion but not dictate it or put it into law.

"What I don’t understand, honestly, is how anyone can even begin to say they know the mind of God. Who do they think they are? I think that’s ridiculous. I know what God is in my life. Now I am sure that she’s not all just that. But it’s enough to me. It’s enough for me to have a visceral reaction. And it makes me mad.

"People need to speak up. Doesn’t mean that I’m godless. Doesn’t mean that I am a murderer. What I hate is this demonization of everybody but one position. You’re un-American because you’re against the war. It’s such bullshit. Fear. It’s really such a finite way of thinking about God to think that your measley little mind can know the mind of God. It’s a very little God that way. I think that God’s bigger. I don’t presume to know his mind. Or her mind.""

Hootie sings country now.

Okay, not really "Hootie" per se, but Darius Rucker, the former frontman for Hootie and the Blowfish [which I always thought kinda rocked, in an "ultimate bar band" kinda way - and if you listened to the radio or went out at all in the mid to late 90s, you probably heard 'em too] has made the move to singing country music.

Darius Rucker - Learn to Live - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Learn to Live is the second solo album by American musician Darius Rucker, who is both the lead vocalist of the rock band Hootie & The Blowfish and a solo artist. His first album of country music, the album was released by Capitol Nashville on September 16, 2008... Its lead-off single, 'Don't Think I Don't Think About It', has reached Top 5 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, and has become the highest-charting country single by an African American artist since 1988."

That artist in 1988, btw - Charley Pride. Why I know that, I don't know. But I always dug Charley Pride. You know, I think this is kinda cool, actually. Country music, I've thought, has always been "white man's blues" music... and since separating things out by race is stupid, it's really just a lot of goofy "that's the way it is" nonsense. But there's always been folks like Ray Charles, Charley Pride, and now Darius Rucker, who sing some country... And that's pretty awesome.

His first single - "Don't Think I Don't Think About It"

I'm digging that. I may have to pick up his CD.


Overheard Everywhere | Think We Could Get That Classified As a Learning Disorder?:
"Guy #1: Sometimes it's hard being a guy.
Guy #2: Why is that?
Guy #1: Well, I try to stay focused and get shit done, but every time a female walks by I feel obligated to turn around and check out her tits and ass. I just want to get through a project without being distracted by tits and ass.
Guy #2: Yeah, but don't you worry you might miss the world's greatest tits and ass?
Guy #1: Exactly!

Denver, Colorado

Overheard by: sean"

Men, meet women. Women, men.

"Cat always is peace."

Wise words from one of my kid's English notebooks.

[Aaaaaaaallllll day grading workbooks and notebooks. Some of them twice because the JTE told me the wrong pages to cover.]

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

T2 - 14-16.

"Failing to plan is planning to fail."

I hate it when cliches are right.

3 day weekend in Japan. Saturday was no problem, free/rest day. Sunday was half assed. Monday was an abomination of procrastination, internet addiction and the general fuckedupedness of life... Tuesday was back on track.

It's easy when I've got work, I sit at the desk in my spare minutes and plot out my PT and diet for the day. Absent that, at home, cup of coffee and in front of the computer, it doesn't "naturally" get done. Which means I just need to kick myself in the ass a little harder.

14 - 20m cardio/shadowboxing, 3 meals, 1L of water
15 - missed workout, didn't track food, but didn't eat any junk
16 - doubled up on yesterday's missed wkout, and today's, despite the advice of tomes and more experienced resources that say just "move on and forget it." Unable, am I. Upper body wkout + 20m cardio/shadowboxing. 6meals, 3L water

"The most important thing in seeking richer travel experiences..."

I liked this. [And the interview, as well.]

Rolf Potts Q&A: The Art of Long-term World Travel… and Travel Writing - The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss:
"The most important thing in seeking richer travel experiences is learning how to slow down. This can be hard to do, since as Americans we tend to micromanage everything to make things more efficient back home.

Travel isn’t about efficiency. It’s about leaving yourself open to new experiences. You can’t do this when you’re racing around on a strict itinerary. If you examine the truly life-affecting experiences I describe in my new book, you’ll find that they most all happened by accident. If you aren’t open to the unexpected — if you aren’t willing to get lost from time to time — you’ll be selling your travels short.

[Suggestion from Tim: reread the previous paragraph substituting 'travel' and 'travels' with 'life'.]"


7 Tips for Money and Marriage ∞ Get Rich Slowly:
"Writing in last Wednesday’s New York Times, Tara Siegel Bernard says that the key to wedded bliss just might be marrying someone who shares your attitudes about money."

The view from Canada [and elsewhere.]

Via » Blog Archive » Hello There!

Sarah Palin Bingo.

Funnier because it's true. It's also sadder and more pathetic, but what can you do?

archives | You Are Dumb:
"Offered exclusively from your friends at You Are Dumb Dot Net, SARAH PALIN BINGO lets you play along with your favorite cable news broadcast. Just get some tokens, watch the reporting, and mark off every scandal or horrifying policy position that gets mentioned! Get five in a row and you win! Plus, as a special bonus, since she's his 'soul mate', John McCain is giving you the center square just for playing.

...NOTE: One game of SARAH PALIN BINGO should take one hour on MSNBC, three hours on CNN, and up to a month or more on FOX News."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Another successful Kokusai Spirit Event.

Saturday eve was yet another in a series of Kokusai Spirit events. This time, a BBQ at the beach on the other side of town. Good food, drink, people, etc...

I am, however, losing my touch, as both Rochelle [Fukutsu City's nice ALT] and Anton [Fukutsu City's other bald white gaijin] both had pics posted up to the Internets before me. Rochelle's are here, though you'll need a MySpace account to see them, and Anton's public album is here.

In the spirit of theft and the internet, I have gleefully appropriated a couple of their pics, in conjunction with mine, to go all blogspot on their ass.


Ready... Set... Cook!
From 2008-09-13

Japan draws first blood.
From 2008-09-13

Anton battles back American style, with the mega monster double cheeseburger. U-S-A! U-S-A!
From 2008-09-13

Japan will never be defeated. Tiny Japanese women will rule us all.
From 2008-09-13

Group shots.
From 2008-09-13

From 2008-09-13

From 2008-09-13

Across the way was another party/BBQ with Japanese Cowboys. Awesome. I swear they were playing Hank Williams.
From 2008-09-13

From 2008-09-13

Westside Connection. [Maybe? White people, I swear. Wait. That's just me.]
From 2008-09-13

Mike. Straight gangsta.
From 2008-09-13

From 2008-09-13

From 2008-09-13

Mike is totally racist. Wait, I think I'm using that word wrong.
From 2008-09-13

From 2008-09-13

The return of Aotani-san. I defended.
From 2008-09-13

Then was defeated.
From 2008-09-13

Other victims were claimed.
From 2008-09-13

Jumping for something or another.
From 2008-09-13

I am a large child. That is all.
From 2008-09-13

From 2008-09-13

From 2008-09-13

End of the night pack-up. Yay beer.
From 2008-09-13

I sense I'm being mocked.
From 2008-09-13

The Day After. Leftover hot dog buns + turkey burgers = Frankenstein sandwich.
From 2008-09-13

Rest of my pics are in this album, click on over, etc -

BBQ Prep.

Getting ready for the onslaught of folks. Seagull Inn Restaurant, Fukuma Beach, Fukutsu.
From 2008-09-13

That is one lonely looking plane. Cool tho'.
From 2008-09-13

From 2008-09-13

From 2008-09-13

This will be used later. Watch for it.
From 2008-09-13

Camera shenanigans.

World's a funny place, depending on how you look. I dig this, for no particular reason whatsoever.
From 2008-09-13

BBQ Pre-flight/Saturday was my day off.

It's so pretty.
From 2008-09-13

From 2008-09-13


Curmudgeonly Funny. [Politics]

"Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried."
~ Winston Churchill

Fred On Everything:
"...Just dragged my scrawny carcass in from Washington, the heart of darkness...

In the airports, the same obedience training—take off your shoes, belt, watch, fillings, prostate, so we can to learn to respect the authority of low-IQ federalized renta-cops with the psyches of school-yard bullies. God save us from the congenitally unimportant. From PA systems came the same pointless security-babble having nothing to do with security, in the same over elocuted I-wanna-lick-the-microphone female voices. Well, it’s not quite pointless. We must condition the rubes, give them an inspiriting sense of danger so they will do as they are told. It’s awful. I’m going to apply for a change of phylum.

It got worse. I discovered that America is about to have an election. Why? Every time they do that, no good comes of it. You’d think they’d learn.

Ass usual, the election is a popularity contest run for dimwits. And to elect a dimwit, which is worse. We’ve got this woman Palin, an angry Betty Crocker, absolutely unqualified for the presidency in case McCain goes tits up. She’s ignorant of foreign affairs, at best moderately bright, a whackjob Christian, and a “pit bull.” This is said admiringly.

Oh good. An aggressive ignorant dull-witted-pit bull. How is that better than a passive ignorant torpid pit bull?

Oh god, McCain. A senescent replica of Bush who says he wants to stay in Iraq a hundred years. Actually, the idea has its appeal. Why doesn’t he go there and get a start? A perfect match for Palin, another pugnacious dunce, bottom of his class in boat school—the Naval Academy, I mean. He says he plans to “confront Russia.” Now there’s a plan. It seems that American policy is to make enemies of everyone who has oil or nuclear weapons. Or doesn’t.

Meanwhile the Pentagon prepares for war with China. Is it something in the water?

Next we have Obama, whose only qualification is that he’s maybe a tad less bellicose than the rest of these Oprah Neanderthals. His veep, Biden, is a grey nonentity, a cipher with no characteristics. Well, that’s better than the other three. I mean, he’s as close to no candidate as we can come.

...Actually, I do understand it, barely. The undergirding of American politics is the seldom-stated but always audible cry of “You ain’t no gooder’n me!” We have government by inferiority complex. The last thing the great burger-chomping, reality-show-watching mental vacuum out there wants is anyone who might make reglar folks feel inferior. The cloth of the country is woven of resentment. The public wants a regular guy, comfortingly stupid, who watches NASCAR and in broken English as if recently concussed. Few would select a cardiac surgeon from a bus station, but it’s how we do presidents.

You probably can get elected holding a chain saw and a severed head, but not if you know words of three syllables..."

I need to copy this, memorize, then staple to my forehead.

Whole article is really good. Budgeting 101.

The Budget Toolbox: 13 Tools for Building a Better Budget ∞ Get Rich Slowly:
"...Andrew Tobias offers the following simple yet effective budget:

1. Destroy all your credit cards.
2. Invest 20% of all that you earn. Never touch it.
3. Live on the remaining 80%, no matter what.

Although Tobias is being glib, this is actually an excellent system. If you can develop the discipline to follow just these three steps, you can become rich."
This budget format works too. [Same article.]:" must keep three broad areas of your finances “in balance”. They say to divide your net income (after-tax income) as follows:

* Allocate 50% to Needs (which the authors call Must-Haves). Needs include housing, transportation, groceries, insurance, and clothes you really need.
* Spend 30% on Wants. Wants include cable television, clothing beyond the basics, restaurant meals, concert tickets, comic books, knitting supplies, etc.
* Set aside 20% for Savings, including debt repayment.

This budget is designed so that you can save a lot and have fun. To achieve this, the authors encourage you to reduce your Needs. In fact, reducing Needs is the cornerstone of their advice."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rap Battle Translation.

Pretty damn funny.

Via The Joe Rogan Blog » Conduit to the Gaian Mind » Notes from the road in Boston, and some video to entertain you:
"I ran across this video the other day, it a fucking hilarious translation of a freestyle rap battle that Ben Hays and his friend Ryan of made."

Original vid below. Half the comedy, twice the ignorance.

Best financial analogy ever.

Funny, witty writing.

7:21pm: Boy, do I ever.:
"...I am aware that debt is boring and it's not worth talking about. I know. I made my bed, but now I cringe at the thought of laying in it. In my defense, I made the bed years ago when I was still an inexperienced bedmaker. I used mashed potatoes and burlap, because that's what I had laying around. This decision has proven regrettable."

The Asian American Mind.

Overheard in New York | But Enough About My Chest:
"Asian girl: Oh my god, we had a physics quiz and I totally failed.
White girl: Wait, you mean like an Asian fail, right?
Asian girl: Yeah, I think I still have an A, but barely!

--NJ Transit"