Saturday, August 22, 2009

High quality problems.

texts from last night:
"(404): I just left the house and 2 chicks are in the kitchen making breakfast. Might want to get up.
(812): I'm up, no shirt, and staring at a breakfast casserole. Who are these girls?"

Training - P90X Day 6.

Kenpo X

Clever bit of video - "What's your favorite Japanese Word? - 一番好きな日本語は何? Japanese 4 Morons: 101st Lesson."

A plethora of YouTube's Japanophiles combine into one unstoppable mega Voltron robot video.

Personally, I couldn't pick just one. I'd have to go with 3 - chikara/power 力, tanren/training 鍛錬 and shibakuzo/I'm gonna kick your ass! 芝九蔵. I don't know if that last kanji is right... I've never actually seen it before and Google only'll get you so far. The only reason shibakuzo even makes the list is because one of my Jr High kids taught it to me - trying to get me to say it to another one of the teachers. Those wacky teenagers :) But chikara and tanren I just like, so much that I etched them on my skin for all of time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

August again, so that means a whole new batch of JETs...

...and ALTs start setting up new blogs chronicling their Japanese adventures [if you get an error message on that link, hit refresh... Blogger is being tricksy.] And you can very effectively blow a whole Saturday morning clicking around. Like, um, I just have. Ah well, it's interesting to see the bright eyed and bushy tailed, aglow with their plane flights, orientation at Keio in Tokyo - where they are still apparently serving the same buffet breakfast - settling into their new homes... Nostalgic/natsukashii, indeed.

The best thing from all that clicking around was this though - English Teacher fulfills childhood dreams of boys everywhere | brb, in Japan

As a high school English teacher in Japan, I also toss some pop culture in to motivate my students to learn the language. My students know Beyonce... the single and PV came out, so I learned some of the my students could laugh at their silly sensei.

Sheer ALT brilliance.

Training - P90X Days 4 & 5.

Day 4 - Missed wkout. I suck.
Day 5 - Legs & Back, Ab Ripper X, Bridge 2x20, 20m on the back arch


Low-key party planned for Hawaii's big 5-0 -
"HONOLULU — Sandra Reyes strolled across the empty grounds of Iolani Palace on Wednesday and fully understood why state officials are not marking the 50th anniversary of Hawaii's statehood today with too festive a celebration.

"I can see why they would be afraid," said Reyes, who lives in the Oahu community of Makaha, which is part of the largest concentration of Native Hawaiians in the world. "You have to understand the history of Hawaii."

When Hawaii became America's 50th state in 1959, the area surrounding the palace — the heart of the Hawaiian monarchy — exploded in a celebration of cannon fire, marching bands and a parade. Half a century later, about 1,000 demonstrators who would rather see Hawaii's independence restored are expected to rally outside the Hawaii Convention Center today, where a more subdued commemoration will take place.

"We want to show how U.S. imperialism has spread across the Pacific and across the world," said Lynette Cruz, an organizer of the Hawaiian Independence Action Alliance. "It'll be fun.""

[Kue - Honolulu Magazine - November 2004 - Hawaii:
"In Hawaiian, kue means 'to oppose, resist, protest.' It's a word central to the development of what has become known as the Hawaiian sovereignty movement, a cause shaped by 30 years of struggle-battles over eviction, land development and the U.S. military presence in the Islands."]

Thursday, August 20, 2009

At least it's based on something real and of worth - "Food and wine as collateral for bank loans."

All I get are these little slips of green paper [or electronic bits] that supposedly represent some vague idea of... something? [Fiat money is all made up consensus reality, folks. You're welcome.]

Food and wine as collateral for bank loans - Boing Boing:
"Italian banks may soon accept high-end prosciutto and wine as collateral for loans. The Italian agriculture minister is into the idea..."

Your "You want me to be *more* cynical and pessimistic? Really?" News of the Day.

Color me unsurprised and increasingly distrustful.

Neo-nazi hate blogger paid by FBI to incite, says attorney - Boing Boing:
"David Kravets at Wired Threat Level blog reports that Hal Turner, a notorious shitbag "hate blogger" in New Jersey who was charged two months ago with threatening to kill judges and lawmakers, was secretly an FBI "agent provocateur" paid tens of thousands of dollars by our government to broadcast white supremacist rhetoric."
Hit & Run ; New Coward Confirms it: Republicans Politicized Terrorism! - Reason Magazine:
"Here's a report that, if the story behind it is true, is both totally unsurprising and worthy of our notice and contempt:
In his new book, the first Homeland Security chief, Tom Ridge, accuses top aides to President George W. Bush of pressing him to raise the terror alert level to influence the 2004 presidential election.

Ridge, a former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, says that he refused the entreaty just before the election from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft...

"After that episode, I knew I had to follow through with my plans to leave the federal government for the private sector...""

More details at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Publisher's blurb here.

You're a true patriot, Tom Ridge. When faced with senior administration officials deliberately trying to scare the crap out of the American people to win an election–a tar-and-featherable offense, at minimum–not only did you decide to eventually quit some day, you rushed out and told citizens about their duplicitous leaders in just five short years! For profit!

A banal point to remember, but foundational: Government is materially incentivized to frighten you, about everything. Power–surprise!–corrupts, no matter which set of angels happens to be exercising it this year. Which is why some of us don't gladly give the stuff over to Washington, D.C.

UPDATE: ...Ridge was telling a similar story to USA Today back in May 2005."

CIA hired mercenary assassins (or assassin trainers) in plan to bump off Qaeda leaders - Boing Boing:

"In 2004, the CIA hired Blackwater USA contractors as part of a covert program to find and kill top operatives of Al Qaeda, according to statements from current and former US officials."

Rick Steves - 'Travel as a Political Act' Lecture.

Big fan of Rick Steves... his podcasts, travel philosophy, I even have several of his pieces of luggage and travel gear. This is the beginning of an excellent lecture he recently put online.

"It's occurred to me since about 9/12 that the role of a travel writer needs to be like a court jester during the Middle Ages...

When you travel, if you're halfway awake it's a broadening experience...

When I see a 'God Bless America' sticker I think 'As opposed to what?'"

"I got no trouble with hedonism. I'm a Lutheran. But travel should bring us together..."

"I was raised thinking cheese was orange and in the shape of bread..."

"I have learned... that if more people had a history degree and thought about it, we'd be a lot better off...

Anytime you're surrounded by teary eyed Germans, something exceptional is going on...

Across the board in our society people want us to be dumbed down. They just made the President of Reader's Digest the President of Public Broadcasting. Geez, that should blow a whistle... why do they find Public Broadcasting to be so threatening? Because it wants us to be smartened up instead of dumbed down. It's inconvenient if we really want to get into stuff..."

"The fact is we don't know exactly how things happened!"*

*That's the only time he's speaking the truth. But they KNOW you're going to hell.

Sad thing is, even I - heathen that I am - know a handful of the standard rationalizing, incoherent responses to this one. [Psst! One is incest! HAHA!]

But this is the quality of intellectual rigor of the folks in charge of the churches. Do well to remember that.

New Humanist Blog: How did Cain and Abel have kids?:
"...a Catholic priest, who seems to be played by a young Edward Norton, on Fox News in the States asking 'theological' questions posed by the public. Unfortunately for him, it doesn't take much to stump him – watch as he struggles to deal with the question 'If God created Adam and Eve and they had Cain and Abel, with who exactly did Cain and Abel create children with? In other words, how did Adam and Eve's kids have kids?'"

Random Coolness.

Fractal tattoo.

Modern scarification - before...


Watched over vacation.

One thing you can say for 20+ hours flying from Asia to the U.S., plus the KAL "choose your own entertainment" option... you sure can watch a bunch of movies.

Taken - Liam Neeson just laying waste to the bad guys in what's probably the best action movie I've seen in some time.

I Love You, Man - Paul Rudd, as always, pretty damn funny.

He's Just Not That Into You - an abomination of a film that betrays the very treatise and suppositions that made the general tone of the book worthwhile. All sacrificed at the altar of the typical cheesy romantic comedy plot. Not a single redeeming character in the film to root for.

Strictly Bolshoi - interesting ballet documentary.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine - this was bashed pretty hard when it came out. I kinda dug it though. No work of art, and a couple plot-holes you could drive a truck through, but both Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber chew the scenery and make it work.

Adventureland - sold as a comedy [in the airplane preview at least], more of a coming of age drama. Kind of okay. A bit cliched. Well acted though. Ryan Reynolds does dysfunctional well.

Up - The latest Pixar film. Fun, touching, enjoyable. Darker than I expected, which was nice.

GI Joe - Holy god was this a horrible film. Horrendous acting, people in leading roles without a hint of talent or believability, bad jokes, cliched visual and plot points lifted from a dozen other, better flicks. Snake Eyes has lips. Cobra Commander is Darth Vader. The President of the United States is British. It could not even be saved by ninja fights or women in skintight leather. Of which there was not enough. Two thumbs waaaaaaay down.

Ghost Town - oddly surprising that movie with Ricky Gervais and Greg Kinnear could be so joyless and unfunny.

On vacation a bunch of my TV viewing was at the discretion of folks I was staying with, as such I watched a great deal of HGTV and NCIS. HGTV is actually kind of fun, and Clean House rocks kinda hard. But then I used to enjoy the hell out of Trading Spaces back in the day. NCIS is a really competent, well acted procedural. The plot twists can be seen coming a mile away, but Mark Harmon has character and gravitas. Though I can't watch Michael Weatherly without remembering that he dated Jessica Alba when they were on Dark Angel, because I'm shallow like that. But Big Brother made me want to jab my own eyes out with a spoon. Dumb, dumb TV.

Also watched UFC 101, True Blood, Eureka, The Closer, The Philanthropist, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Monk, Burn Notice [summer season finale - predictable, but well done] and Robot Chicken.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What I Read over vacation

Halting State - didn't enjoy it as much as Stross' last book I read, Glasshouse, but the combination future fic/hard sci-fi/police drama/caper was entertaining and deft. Excellent airplane read.

Read the next few Robert Parker/Spenser books - Ceremony, Valediction and The Widening Gyre. All were excellent/recommended, but of the three I enjoyed The Widening Gyre most, simply because it resonated with some stuff in my own life. Ostensibly about blackmail and politics [which, published in 1983, it's remarkably prescient on the influence of the religious right and religiousity in politics] but really, fundamentally, a treatise on relationships in the guise of a private eye novel. At least for me, anyways. Particularly of long-distance relationships, which insightfully and synchronistically applies to my current conditions. Cutting very close to home in terms of assumptions, autonomy, expectations, romance... and, well, everything my life seems to be, these days.

To wit:
"But missing you is a price I have to pay in order to become completely me. At least for a while. And goddamn it, it's a price I am glad to pay. I sort of expected you'd understand better."
"I kind of hoped I would too," I said.


"You still can't get outside your own view. You can't understand someone without a goddamned code. You don't see that for millions of people, male and female, the workplace is the code."
I shook my head. "You have committed yourself to everything I've worked my all my life to stay free of.
"I know," Susan said.
"You endorse a way of life I find not only uninviting, I... disapprove of it."
Susan nodded.
"I always assumed," I said, and twiddled with my wineglass as I said it, "I always assumed that someone who found ihis or her identity they way you're finding yours was..." - I spun the stem of the wineglass slowly between my fingers and watched the round bottom circle slowly on the table linen - "shallow."
Susan's gaze on me was steady. "It's a view you tend to impose on anyone close to you. You believe things very strongly. It burdens people."
I nodded. "A person might need to get away from me," I said. "To develop her own views."
I stopped twirling the wineglass and picked it up and drank some wine. Then I took the wine bottle from the bucket and poured some more into Susan's glass and mine.
"The thing is, you're not shallow," I said. "And if you were, it wouldn't matter. Not only would I follow you into hell. I'd follow you into AT&T."
The Wheels of Darkness - An 'Agent Pendergrast Book' picked up for $5 at a drugstore back in the US. I've read a bunch of Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child books. Always entertaining, if ultimately somewhat forgettable. And Pendergrast is a fine Holmes pastiche. With a smattering of pulp heroes and a pinch of Lovecraft.
"Don't think for a minute that I believe I'm better than the rest of the horde. I'm as guilty of the fundamental flaws of bestial man as anyone. And one of those flaws is self interest. I am worth saving because I wish my life to continute - and I'm in a position to do something about it."

"There's a scientific explanation for everything... there are no such things as miracles or magic - only science we haven't yet discovered."

"Lead me into all misfortune. Only by that path can transform the negative into the positive."
Also some older Batman graphic novels - Son of the Demon, Bride of the Demon and Birth of the Demon. Ra's al Ghul is a great villain.

Miami seems like a magical place.

Everybody does indeed live in their own world. [She's definitely in shape though...]

Via Now this is clothing!!! (6 pics) » - In fun we trust! Pictures, photos, videos, flash, games, celebs, hot stuff:
"These pictures were taken in Miami. What can I say, a very bold girl..."

Training - P90X Day 3.

Shoulders&Arms/Ab Ripper X
20m on the back arch, Shoulder Dislocates x10

I feel ya.


"Auto Phone Sex."

After about 1:30, I was just crying laughing.

I only hit 4 of the 7, so I still have a little bit of a life.

Via The Circle of No Life – The Next Web

How Bush is better than Obama.

That blogpost title was just painful to write. Nevertheless true.

I don't even know if I agree with the push for universal health care, but I do know that the Democratic Party's tendency to retreat at every juncture fills me with loathing. If you're gonna have principles, freaking fight for them, for Christ's sake. Spineless.

Matt Taibbi - Taibblog – Obama’s Pre-emptive Health Care Surrender - True/Slant:
"...But the notion that our president not only does not have any use anymore for a public option, but in fact “will be satisfied” if there is merely “choice and competition” in the market is, well, disgusting.

I’ll say this for George Bush: you’d never have caught him frantically negotiating against himself to take the meat out of a signature legislative initiative just because his approval ratings had a bad summer. Can you imagine Bush and Karl Rove allowing themselves to be paraded through Washington on a leash by some dimwit Republican Senator of a state with six people in it the way the Obama White House this summer is allowing Max Baucus (favorite son of the mighty state of Montana) to frog-march them to a one-term presidency?

To quote Method Man’s Calvin “Cheese” Wagstaff character from The Wire, “This is some shameless shit right here.”"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kind of where I've ended up as well.

I was an ethical vegetarian for a few years, and have run the gamut of pesco/lacto/ovo/etc as well, but ultimately it seems to me, right now, that this makes the most sense. The vegetarianism as religion angle is thought provoking as well, and explains a bit of that resonance I had with it, what with my Catholic upbringing and all.

Vegetarian and Vegan Tear Jerkers | Free The Animal:
"...about vegetarian or vegan “health.” The most valid data on that score is that comparing apples to apples, i.e., the anthropological record: that repeatedly and consistently demonstrates strong and robust skeletons and teeth amongst hunter-gatherers, in stark contrast to those diseased skeletons, rotten teeth, and even diminished stature of agricultural populations. This is not in dispute; and furthermore, there has never existed a vegetarian hunter-gatherer population, much less vegan.

Now, while I’m all for humane treatment of animals right up to the moment of death (and willing to pay for it), this video was not particularly shocking. I’ve hunted birds & deer and dressed both, fished, and raised broiler chickens and rabbits. I was the one (at age 13 -15 or so) who did the executions — axe for the chicks, club for the rabbits.

We endeavored to treat them very well during their lives, and to make their end of life very quick (as well as out of sight for those in wait). I have always abhorred animal trophies of all kinds. We were brought up to respect animals and that the only justification for killing them was for the food.

The problem with you folks is that it’s all emotion and feelings with you. You are simply not dealing properly with the reality of human existence and the requirements for survival and happy flourishing.

In the end, y’all remind me of the born-again Christian fundamentalists I grew up around. It’s always about denial, penance, guilt — and over man’s very nature (’original sin’). Vegetarianism offers the very same unearned guilt trap..."

I'm already thinking about what ink to get next.

The Secret Life of a Human Tattoo Machine: Why tats aren't just for Popeye, Mike Tyson, and Angelina Jolie anymore. - Reason Magazine:
"It wasn't long ago that tattoos were the exclusive province of Popeye and grizzled ex-cons. To sport a tattoo—the name of a drunken one-night stand, scrawled in a fading blur—marked the wearer as both low class and weak on impulse control.

Not anymore. About 25 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 50 sport tattoos, says the American Society of Dermatological Surgery, and that percentage is only going to increase...

In Tattoo Machine: Tall Tales, True Stories, and My Life in Ink, Jeff Johnson gives a salty tour of the shops that nervous mothers once forbade their sons and daughters from visiting.

...Tattoo Machine helps explain why ink is on the rise. We live in an age in which we increasingly personalize our clothes, our coffee drinks, our Web browsers, our hair color. Why not our bodies?"

You know, I kept trying to find the most important excerpts, but it was all on point.

During summer vacation the only country where I witnessed any rude behavior on the part of security folks was in the US. It wasn't directed towards me, but I saw a TSA screener treating and talking to somebody like they were a child or an idiot - a person who clearly had English as a second language. Just being a jackass because they could, apparently. The stupidity of the pointless regs - shoes off in America, but uneccessary in Japan or Korea. The absurd liquids bans, which remain retarded, albeit universal. The fact that even when you take your shoes off, god forbid you put them in the same tray as your laptop, because that apparently and magically screws up the whole process. The fact that you even have to remove a laptop, or submit it for inspection if the powers that be decide.

Security and nonsense has pretty much sucked the joy and fun out of air travel, and I really can't express strongly enough how inane it is. The only, slight, benefit is that as people are inconvenienced and hamstrung by ridiculous regs and personell, maybe, just maybe, it'll provoke some kind of response to the intrusiveness of government. Sadly, it seems that most folks won't care, or resign themselves to the ineptitude, going along to get along.

Fred On Everything:
"...I thought carefully about the problem of “TSA”—which, as I mentioned, has become a catch-all world for everything people don’t like about governmental intrusion on traveling. It is true that in airports the emigrations officers are much more obnoxious than the genuine TSA personnel.

...we are seeing an anger in the United States, chiefly directed at government, that is new to us. There was widespread anger during the war in Vietnam, but it was directed at the war, not the government in general. Today we have something different.

There is a sense that the government now is not only hostile to the public, which it never was before, but out of control. The degree of intrusiveness has grown from almost none to almost unrestrained—or so people feel.

...It is widely assumed by sane and educated people that NSA monitors all email; whether this is true I am not sure, but it is believed. Habeas corpus seems to have gone away. The Fourth Amendment no longer seems to exist, “random” searches on the street being legal. Finances are tracked. You can’t buy a commuter train ticket without a governmental ID, information from which goes into a computer (my experience on MARC).

Police are more militarized and more aggressive. The financial crisis is seen, with ample evidence, as the result of corruption and lack of federal regulation. A million people are said to be on the no-fly list. Metal detectors proliferate. Toothpaste and deodorants are confiscated at airports. The country is seen to be in serious decline while the government spends a trillion a year on the Pentagon and wars of mysterious purpose. Children are forced to take Ritalin. The bureaucracy is unresponsive: It takes a year even to get records from the VA, any dealing with IRS can turn into a years-long nightmare even if it is only a routine matter, and the paperwork is so complex that you can’t do anything without a specialized lawyer. I could go on for pages.

This is the context in which “TSA” (in the sense mentioned above) operates. I do not suggest that much that TSA does is illegal. Anything is legal that Congress says is legal, except in the unlikely event that the Supreme Court disagrees. Rather I question whether much of “security” actually accomplishes what it is supposed to accomplish, and whether the benefits outweigh the harm done.

Consider the inspection of all photos in a passenger’s camera, which recently happened to me. It is grossly intrusive and potentially humiliating. Depending on circumstances, the traveler may have nude pictures of his wife, or pictures of himself engaging in sex with a Thai transvestite. Neither is illegal, and neither is the government’s business.

Do these searches in any sense inhibit the dissemination of child pornography? Yes—for about a week. Once the pedophiles learn of the searches—and people who smuggle extremely illegal photos make a point of being aware of such things—the measure becomes worthless. The malefactor puts the memory card with the porn in his back pocket, and leaves a card of innocent photos in the camera.

Of course “TSA” could go through the traveler’s pockets and do a detailed search of his luggage for a tiny chip secreted in a pair of dirty socks. TSA personnel do not have tight connections. A friend recently showed me a memory chip, four gig I think it was, no larger than a pencil eraser. Will “TSA” begin doing random body-cavity searches? Does minor and ineffective inconvenience to the pedophile offset massive inconvenience and indignity to the innocent?

So much of “security” is so obviously pointless that one wonders why it exists. If you randomly search one in fifty passengers boarding Amtrak at rush hour, you do not detect the terrorist ninety-eight percent of the time. In the case of a suicide bomber, the detection leads to an immediate explosion and, unless you conduct the inspection robotically in a blast-proof room, several dead.

To the public, at any rate to the many people with whom I have discussed the matter, the air of federal fear seems almost demented. I have had an (actual) TSA woman solemnly examine a pair of tweezers to determine whether they were blunt-nosed (acceptable) or pointed (posing a threat of hijacking). Do we really believe that a team of Al Quaeda terrorists are going to leap up brandishing tweezers? Equally absurd is that a woman cannot enter the US consulate in Guadalajara with her lipstick. Yes, I know it could contain a cyanide dart or a hidden vial of Tabun. So could anything.

...How much security is enough? Any amount of intrusion whatever can be justified on grounds of slight or imaginary benefits. Those strip-scanners that famously reduce travelers to near-nudity are loathed by women; have they actually accomplished any desirable end, except for the manufacturer? People in the federal security business tend to believe that surveillance is for the safety of the public, then to believe that more surveillance will produce more safety, and finally to fall into the rationale that “if you are doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear from inspections etc.” Police in general tend naturally to believe this. Always, always, it leads to abuses that render the public fearful of the police. For this reason the Fourth Amendment was propounded.

In my eight years as a police reporter for the Washington Times, the police needed probable cause to conduct a search, this being defined as “an articulable reason to believe that a specific person was committing a specific crime.” (Sometimes they lied when they wanted probable cause, but the requirement nonetheless provided a degree of protection for the public.) Walking through Penn Station in Baltimore does not meet the definition of probable cause, yet the PA system constantly announces that people are subject to random search.

The knowledge that one may be searched at any time is intimidating, and being searched, humiliating. Yes, it is legal. A judge can always be found who will find constitutional almost anything. Yet the ability to say “no” to causeless searches was a thing that distinguished America from the Soviet Union. It no longer does.

Finally, there is the tendency for industry to see federal programs as money spigots. (Having long covered the Pentagon, I know the game well.) A company comes up with a better x-ray scanner at $170 thousand per each, times 2500 or however many airport security gates. That’s money. There are also the contracts for training TSA personnel, for maintenance, and for upgrades. A race ensues to come up with an even better scanner, or nitrate sniffer, of blast-proof trash cans for Metro, which can then be sold to the government.

So it isn’t just the rudeness and bullying of Immigrations people, or the confiscation of toothpaste and shampoo and bottled water. It is the sense that the government, if not quite an enemy perhaps, is not friendly, and is endless trouble. For a large and, I thank, growing number of people, the most fervent wish is that the government leave them the hell alone."


Serves 'em right. Bask in my schadenfreude.

Daily Brickbats ; Wasn't This an Episode of 21 Jump Street? - Reason Magazine:
"Amy Watson, an assistant middle school principal in East Hartford, Connecticut, apparently believed a student was selling drugs, so she allegedly asked another student to buy some so she could catch the dealer. When they found out, police charged her with risking injury or impairing the morals of a child, and witness tampering. Watson has resigned from the school."

Training - P90X Day 2.

AM - Deep Breathing x20, Vacuums x5, Dislocates x10
PM - Plyometrics [brutal] - Deep Breathing x80 on the back arch, standing x10, Dislocates x10

Inspiration - - Female Transformation Of The Week - Female Transformation Of The Week - Sarah Bell Lost An Amazing 125 Pounds And 25% Body Fat!:
"Name: Sarah Bell
BodySpace: oceanblue149

Age: 29
Height: 5'10.5'
Weight: 274 lbs
Body Fat: 42%

Age: 34
Height: 5'10.5'
Weight: 149 lbs
Body Fat: 17%"

Okay, I'll admit this freaked me right the fuck out.

Going about my business today when I happened to glance up and see this monster in the corner of the living room...
From 2009-08-18

...damn thing was bigger than my freaking hand, which you can't really see in the pic, but when it started walking down the wall it was HUGE.

I'm usually a live and let live kind a guy with most insects, pick up most and shuffle them outside. And Japanese spiders - OUTSIDE - are pretty cool actually, but this guy was too big to wrangle, and to paraphrase Joe Rogan in his latest comedy special - "You are in the wrong place, so you have to die!"

The insecticide I sprayed on it only seemed to bore it, so I had to crush it with a book. A hardcover of Sun Tzu's The Art of War, appropriately enough.

I'm all paranoid now, scanning the apartment to see if he left any family around... *shudder*

Summer Munchkin Onslaught, Day 2.

Different pre-school... this only about a third of the kids today that I taught that classic munchkin English standard - "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" - but these were the kids I taught 'Rock, Paper Scissors' to and had lunch with...
From 2009-08-18

They start them early in the ways of group cleaning and community effort in the land of the rising sun. These are 5-6 year olds. Too funny.
From 2009-08-18

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another reason statistics are meaningless.

All made up. Every last bit.

Hit & Run ; One Man's Dinner Party Is Another Man's Binge, Especially If the Other Man Has a Degree in Public Health - Reason Magazine:
"Based on data from the federal government's National Survey on Drug Use and Health, researchers at Duke University report that one-fifth of men and one-tenth of women between the ages of 50 and 64 have gone on a drinking binge in the last month. That sounds fairly alarming until you realize that our government defines "binge drinking" as consuming five or more drinks on one occasion. Yesterday, for example, I had a mint julep in the early evening, a glass of wine during dinner, and a Tom Collins afterward. Because those two cocktails each contained a couple of shots, this series of beverages qualified as one standard U.S. binge, even though I did not go on a violent rampage, drive my car into a hydrant or a pedestrian, or neglect professional or family responsibilities because of my preoccupation with drinking.

...(Those Americans needn't cut down on their drinking to avoid the "at-risk" designation; they also could move to the U.K., where two drinks a day are considered perfectly acceptable.)"


texts from last night:
"(925): Woman walking into toby keith concert: 8 months pregnant, black eye, shirt on that has a picture of a boot and the words 'we'll put a boot up your ass' with an american flag printed over--the sleeves were ripped off and she had a camo cowboy hat. Greatest thing I've ever seen."

Training - P90X Day 1.

So having gained 10lbs over vacation, it was definitely time to get back into the workout groove. Try and kick it up a notch, take it to the next level and all the standard cliches that are nevertheless on point. But even as late as last night I didn't know what protocol/program I was going to get on board with next.

So I finally decided on taking another run at P90X. Sticks in my craw that I turned into a whiny little bitch after 2 months in last time and started whinging on about burnout and structure and whatnot.

The hangup on that is that before you kick off into it you're supposed to run through a Fitness Test so you have before/after stats for the program. So at 9PM, after a full day of eating junk food, and a couple drinks no less, I ran through the test. [Except for the Vertical Leap, because at 10PM, indoors, there's really no place to get that done.] So though my stats sucked - even down from the # of pullups/pushups I could do before vacation - I did get it finished. Might make the "after" stats look more than half decent though.

Today's PT - P90X Chest & Back, Ab Ripper X
80 count deep breathing on the back arch

Came across this... too true, too funny. Forgot how brutal the workouts can be. Good stuff.

He will, indeed. Dripping w/sweat after the first wkout back.
From 2009-08-17

50 YEAR OLD FITNESS WIN - - Fit Profile Of The Month - Fit Employee Spotlight - July 2009: John Shumate!:
"Name: John Shumate
Age: 50
Height: 5'11'

Weight: 159 lbs
BodySpace: jwshumate" - Female Transformation Of The Week - Female Transformation Of The Week - Rany Shed 50 Pounds Of Post-Pregnancy Weight!:
"Name: Rany
BodySpace: Love2groove
Age: 26
Height: 5'4'
Weight: 167 lbs

Age: 26
Height: 5'4'
Weight: 117 lbs
Body Fat: 15%"

The Five Stages of Everyday Grief.

Hilarious. Via.

Trust me, I'm more amazed and shocked than you that I get paid for this.

Seriously, this is my job. Blows my mind.

Summer Vacation Pre-K/Daycare Super Happy Fun Play Time!
From 2009-08-17

From 2009-08-17

From 2009-08-17

Stuff like this just crushes my optimism, as far as goverment goes.

"First, we kill all the lawyers..."

Who but the most wonky of politicos could follow this nonsense?

Hit & Run > Why "Reading the Bill" Won't Matter - Reason Magazine:
"USA Today notes that even forcing legislators to read the health care legislation in the House probably wouldn't do much good. The bill is so bogged down with bureaucrat-eze, few of them are likely to understand it.

Take the opening lines of one of the bill's most controversial sections, the one about voluntary "end of life" counseling:

"SEC. 1233. ADVANCE CARE PLANNING CONSULTATION. (a) Medicare. — (1) IN GENERAL. — Section 1861 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x) is amended — (A) in subsection (s)(2) — (i) by striking 'and' at the end of subparagraph (DD); (ii) by adding 'and' at the end of subparagraph (EE); and (iii) adding at the end the following new subparagraph: '(FF) advance care planning consultation (as defined in subsection (hhh)(1) … "

...As it stands, we're left with the few politicians who helped craft the bill saying, "Just trust us."

That rarely works out well."

More thuggish cop douchebaggery.

Cops pulls lady over for driving while talking on her cell phone. Except there is no cell phone in the car. Cop then decides she was speeding by 5mph, determined without using radar... in other words cya for being an idiot. Eventually drags her from the car, tasers her. All charges dropped when prosecutors watch the video.

Mom Tasered in front of kids ‘posed no threat’ - TODAY People:
"...Harmon had been driving home with her 15-year-old son, whom she had just picked up from wrestling practice, and 5-year-old daughter. She said she was resting her right hand on her cheek as she pulled behind a sheriff’s deputy to make a right turn onto the road where she lived. After she made the turn, the deputy pulled off the road to let her pass, then pulled out behind her with his lights flashing and siren blaring.

The deputy, Sean Andrews, who has been taken off patrol duty while his department conducts an internal investigation, told her he was ticketing her for talking on her cell phone.

“I was driving with my hand on my cheek, and I think that’s what he saw,” Harmon told Vieira. “After I had given him the chance to look in my purse, check for a cell phone, then he manufactured the ticket with speeding. Again, I told him that he was wrong; I wasn’t speeding, either. Then we went back and forth.”

The speeding charge Andrews cited was doing 50 in a 45 mph zone. The officer said he didn’t use radar, but had paced her car at that speed for several seconds..."

The Agitator » Blog Archive » Mother Tased, Arrested in Front of Kids After Traffic Stop:
"...The cop says he tased and arrested her because when she got out of her car, she was blocking traffic and creating a dangerous situation. But when she gets back into the car, he then pulls her back out and throws her down in the middle of the street.

Note too that the though the cop pulled her over for using a cell phone, she was able to prove she didn’t have one. So he wrote her a ticket for going 5 MPH over the speed limit—a figure he calculated without use of radar...

She ended up with four tickets, for speeding, talking on a cell phone while driving, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. All of those charges were dropped after prosecutors viewed the video.

Curious to know what the “shut up and do as your told” crowd thinks of this. Should the woman have just accepted the cell phone ticket and not attempted to prove she didn’t have one? Should she have just accepted the speeding ticket that seemed to be retaliation for proving her innocence with the cell phone? Why should she have to endure the hassle of obtaining the dash video and wasting her time in traffic court to prove her innocence? Was the cop right to taser and arrest her? What should happen to him?"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tough day on the job for Gina Carano; Cyborg wins MMA's first female superfight.

'Cyborg' beats Carano in historic Strikeforce bout - Boxing News - FOX Sports on MSN:
"In the fight to crown the women's 145-pound champion, Cyborg came out guns blazing, threatening Carano early with a flurry of strikes and a leg lock following a takedown.

Undeterred, Carano answered with a takedown of her own and demonstrated spirited action on the feet and on the ground. Despite fending off Cyborg's impetuous pace, Carano ultimately succumbed to the stifling top control and ferocious ground-and-pound from the physically imposing opponent."

Photos via Carano vs. Cyborg 8-15 - a set on Flickr

Logic Fail.

"A" for effort, though.

texts from last night:
"(619): I thought the fact that I took home a 42 year old with 3 kids would excuse my tardiness this morning because my boss is also 42 and has 3 kids. Boy was I wrong."

No. No, you weren't.

texts from last night:
"(727): she asked me if I wanted a handjob on the haunted mansion ride at Disney. was I suposed to say no?"

The more things change...

Overheard Everywhere | Except No One's Posing As Gay:
"Woman, waiting for Two Gentlemen of Verona to begin: This is one of Shakespeare's comedies, right?
Friend: Yes.
Woman: Someone will cross-dress, there will be mistaken identity, and love triangles, and everything will turn out well. All Shakespeare comedies have the same plot.
Friend: Yeah, pretty much.
Woman: They're all just episodes of Three's Company.

Boulder, Colorado"

The coolness of the rainbow was soon balanced... the rain that soaked my newly washed clothes. Still, cool pic.
From 2009-08-13

Summer Vacation.

3 weeks stateside, first time in 3 years. Good time.

But given the sheer volume of pics I took, plus all the pics I promised folks via various delivery methods - printing/email/Facebook/etc AND given that I've spent just about all wkend on my ass reading and catching up online... the prospect of blogging a torrent of photos and reminisces is... daunting. But I came across a compromise... the collage! Thank you Picasa.


So the real reason I was heading back was this:
From 2009-07-26

Everything else was extra. Nice, but not the point.

The flight over - 28 hours or so on Korean Air... including a brutal 10 hour layover at the airport in Korea. Still, it was the cheapest ticket. Seats on KAL weren't the most comfortable in the world, but the choose your own movie/entertainment/games was pretty awesome. Going and coming I watched something like 7 or 8 movies. On the way over I was seated next to the two adorable Korean munchkins in the photo. Extremely cute and they wanted to practice their English and assorted play activities. Though I'll admit to cursing both them and their tiny, tiny bladders from about hour 8 or so. Still, cool kids.
From 2009-07-26

Sandy's roommate works for the OMB and scored us a "special people only" tour of the White House. Couldn't go into the Oval Office but could look in from the door. Kinda cool. Thing I found most... um, interesting?... was that you could see the pics Obama had up of his family, his kids and stuff. Just like any other schlub working in an office that's not gonna be his after a while.

Also got to see the Press Briefing Room, which was tiny compared to how it appears on the idiot box.
From 2009-07-26

My new buddy in VA, Max.
From 2009-08-09

Hadn't driven in 3 years, and my license had expired while I had been in Japan. Had to retake the written, visual and road test. Which I hadn't had to do in 20 years. Crazy.
From 2009-08-09

Visiting family...
From 2009-08-09

From 2009-08-09

...and old friends.
From 2009-08-09

Women folk, barefoot and cooking, as nature intended - :) HA!
From 2009-08-09

How to gain 10lbs in 3 weeks. You know, I haven't really missed anything living in Japan, but in the US you can't help but be struck by the sheer variety of stuff available. Vacation=Indulgence.
From 2009-08-13

Last night in country. My wife loves the SKIP-BO.
From 2009-08-13