Saturday, March 13, 2010

Random... *Updated*

*Windows is pissing me off... having to reboot from restore points every other day and worrying whether I've lost all my recent data is eminently frustrating and annoying. Gonna take another run at Linux/Ubuntu - hope is works 'out of the box' with my wireless card now. Been about a year since I last gave it a shot, so here's to hoping. If wireless, my camera and my webcam work, then it's a go. Everything else is negotiable.

*Update* - Ubuntu up and running. Wireless internet works. Skype works. Camera works. Entering the learning curve. Cheers.

*Given the new news that I'm soon to be a permanent world traveler, that Amazon Kindle is tempting as hell. [Mike is a proponent and fan...] If they come out with a color model, that can handle .cbr files, then it's a go. I'd even ignore their evil DRM. Till then though...


P90X - 6 - Kenpo X - my conditioning is shot, because this 'cardio martial arts' workout whooped my ass.

Friday, March 12, 2010

This is pretty funny - "Toyota CEO appears on Letterman."

Via Toyota CEO appears on Letterman to apologize | Japan Probe

By coincidence I was given one of these just this week... the kumquat!

Given to me by one of the office staff at elementary school. Had no idea what it was at the time, but in the fine Japanese tradition of taking what is given you to be polite, I ate one. Not bad. The sweet/sour thing was interesting. The JET Programme brings continuous new experiences :)

Taste Test: Kumquat - Boing Boing:
"Kumquats are full of vitamin C and potassium; in Japan, it is called kinkan, also the name of a popular over-the-counter drug brand that makes remedies for sore muscles, sore throat, and mosquito bites."

Continuing disappointment - "Obama Supports DNA Sampling Upon Arrest."

Obama Supports DNA Sampling Upon Arrest | Threat Level |
"Josh Gerstein over at Politico sent Threat Level his piece underscoring once again President Barack Obama is not the civil-liberties knight in shining armor many were expecting.

Gerstein posts a televised interview of Obama and John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted. The nation’s chief executive extols the virtues of mandatory DNA testing of Americans upon arrest, even absent charges or a conviction. Obama said, “It’s the right thing to do” to “tighten the grip around folks” who commit crime.

When it comes to civil liberties, the Obama administration has come under fire for often mirroring his predecessor’s practices surrounding state secrets, the Patriot Act and domestic spying. There’s also Gitmo, Jay Bybee and John Yoo."

Why people don't trust the government, part 8,746.

French village went insane after CIA spiked its bread with LSD - Boing Boing:
For 50 years, residents of the French village of Pont-Saint-Esprit have tried to understand the 'cursed bread' incident, a moment of terrifying mass insanity and hallucinations that left at least five dead and dozens in asylums. Now the mystery is solved: the CIA secretly spiked the bread from the bakery with enormous quantities of LSD as part of its cold war mind-control experiments, at least according to recently uncovered documents. The allegation originates with H P Albarelli Jr., an investigative journalist who uncovered the documents while researching his forthcoming book, A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments."

Just. Wow.

Overheard Everywhere | America, Encapsulated:
"Woman #1: I love TGI Friday's, but if I could pick any local place to go for dinner tonight, I would pick Olive Garden.
Woman #2: Oooh, good pick! What about Macaroni Grill?
Woman #1: I love Macaroni Grill! But isn't it a little fancy for tonight?
Woman #2: No, we can go change.
Woman #1: Are you sure you're okay with driving in this city?
Woman #2: Sure, it is okay.
Woman #1: Maybe we should pray before we leave... you know, just in case.
Woman #2: Great idea.

Overheard by: Jon"


P90X - 5 - Legs & Back, Abs


Thursday, March 11, 2010


P90X - 4 - Yoga X - Now I remember why this workout is the most frustrating PT I've ever tried. Step by step it reveals every weakness, tightness and lack of balance in my body. Judicious use of the pause and fast forward buttons meant I ended up doing about an hours worth of a 90m workout...

Of course - "TSA analyst indicted for tampering with terrorist watchlists."

TSA analyst indicted for tampering with terrorist watchlists - Boing Boing:
"A former TSA analyst has been indicted for computer crimes after being allegedly caught tampering with various terrorist watchlists (his work duties involved keeping these databases up to date). He'd been given notice that he was being fired before the incident."

Kids give me gifts.

Randomly adorable.

One of my Jr High kids decided to use her little brother in elementary school to play a mystery game with me. Easily solved. Elementary, my dear Watson. [Get it? 'Elementary.' That's some fine humor right there.]

World's tiniest crane origami. Pencil for scale comparison.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Scientists Have Discovered Booze That Won't Give You A Hangover - Alcohol - io9:
"Booze, for all its magical wonder, still has big drawbacks: You can't sober up quickly, and you often get a hangover. Now Korean researchers have found a way of tweaking booze to limit the fallout — without cutting its strength.

Doctors Kwang-il Kwon and Hye Gwang Jeong of Chungnam National University studied the properties of oxygenated alcohol - booze with oxygen bubbles added - which is a popular concoction in their country. In these drinks, oxygen is added the way carbonation is usually added to soda, and the scientists wanted to know if these oxygenated beverages affected people differently than non-oxygenated ones. The answer was a resounding yes."


You'll have to click and embiggen to get the full effect.

For a dude who blew his own brains out, HST was a bad man.

Celebrating 100 years of Momofuku Ando...

...but actually only 52 years since the birth of the instant ramen noodle. College students everywhere rejoice.

Olympic marketing - maple flavored coffee.

You'd be surprised, it was quite good. [But not quite as good as using real maple syrup as a coffee sweetener, as I did for about a week thanks to omiyage from Canadian Mike.]

French fry flavored potato chips.

So... wait. Doesn't that mean, basically, potato flavored potato chips? God bless Japan.

At this point, I'm like a cult member with a foot fetish.

And I'm okay with that.

Completely on board with the whole minimalist footwear brigade. The best places to start to get what they're all about is this post at Mark's Daily Apple [which I think is the first place I learned about them] and, well, the entire blog birthday shoes. You can even download a free e-book from there:

the [beginners guide] to Vibram Five Fingers shoes!

Vibram Five Fingers are the standard bearers in the whole 'barefoot shoes' deal, and now I have, apparently, 5 pairs. [Told you. Cult. Yay.] The short version of the hows and the whys is this - normal shoes restrict your ranges of motion and weaken your feet - 'casts for feet' as it were - minimalist footwear is designed to get you back in touch with how your feet actually work, strengthening and making them more flexible. When I first saw them it reminded me of how old school bodybuilders used to workout barefoot - like this pic of Arnold, back in the day - - and yoga, beach running and other disciplines trend to bare feet for the same reasons.

My pair of Mocs, designed for indoor use, which works out great here in Japan where schools expect you to have a pair of 'indoor only' shoes. The kids have taken to calling them my frog shoes. In Japanese, of course [kaeru kutsu.]

Classics, on the left, for summer/warmer weather kicking around, and a pair of Sprints on the right, for trainers in similar conditions.

KSO Treks, left, for all purpose casuals/semi-formal [pair of khakis or jeans wear] and Flows on the right, for cold weather PT or watersports.

A pair of Soft Star moccasins for around the house...

And a pair of Vivo Barefoot Dharmas, which is as close as I get to "normal" shoes.


P90X - 3 - Shoulders & Arms, Abs
Neck Nods

Completely unnecessary, yet emotionally satisfying purchases.

Via Warren Ellis' T-Shirt of the Week Store.

2 weeks ago, almost 70 degrees. Today? Snow.

Ridiculous. Really hoping this is winter's last gasp. Good chance, I think, since it's supposed to be back up to around 60 by the weekend.

So. Dumb.

Government Protects Us From Unlicensed Beer - John Stossel:
"America’s Founders had a great idea: government should be limited. It should keep the peace, and do a few others things like run the courts and the Post Office, but otherwise leave us alone. Fast forward to 2010, when Drudge has this link up:
Troopers raid popular bars for unlicensed beers; Dozens of gallons seized...
More than a dozen armed State Police officers conducted simultaneous raids last week on three popular Philadelphia bars known for their wide beer selections. The cops confiscated hundreds of bottles of expensive ales and lagers...

Although the bar owners had bought the beer legally from licensed Pennsylvania distributors and had paid all the necessary taxes, the police claimed that nobody had registered the precise names of the beers with the state Liquor Control Board ....
Based on a complaint from someone the State Police refuse to identify, three teams of officers converged last Thursday on the three bars, run by Leigh Maida and her husband....

In fact, according to Maida, more than half the beer removed by the State Police was properly registered - but the cops couldn't find it on their lists because of "clerical errors" or "blatant ineptitude" between the police and the Liquor Control Board, with whom the officers were conferring by telephone."

"Jesus, are we a weird country."

Shorting America Rocks! - Matt Taibbi - Taibblog - True/Slant:
"It’s weird enough living in a country where a man can legally own an arsenal of machine guns, but his neighbor growing a pot plant will send a team of DEA agents kicking his door in with a no-knock warrant. But this goes even beyond that. If I go online today to and bet fifty dollars on the Bucks against the Celtics tonight, I’m a criminal. But some gazillionaire firm in New York can legally bet against the United States of America in unlimited amounts in a trade that has nothing to do with anything, but a guess about how many other people will make the same bet.

Jesus, are we a weird country."

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Harry Markopolos appears to be made of absolute kick-assery.

Video: Harry Markopolos | The Daily Show | Comedy Central:
"Harry Markopolos expresses his anger over the SEC dismissing his multiple warnings about Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme."
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Harry Markopolos
Daily Show
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Atlas Lesson 1

P90X - 2 - Plyometrics

Learning a new skill... supposed to burn new neural pathways and improve brain plasticity. So I'm learning to juggle so I don't get dumber. Also, it always seemed kind of neat.

After a week of practice... I give you juggling!

Juggling practice after one week... from Rob Pugh on Vimeo.

Learning using this.

Monday, March 08, 2010


Well. That was about 2 months wasted. Boo, me. You know, I read a book years ago about personality types, and supposedly one of the facets of my particular makeup was such that if I didn't find a way to exercise regularly, that "energy" would tend to manifest itself in addictive behaviors, especially regarding food and alcohol. As my wallet and expanding waistline can attest of late, there's some truth to that. But... onwards! Let's see if I can kick this particular lethargic streak in the ass.

Atlas Lesson 1 x3

P90X - 1 - Chest & Back, Abs

Iron Man 2 Trailer = AWESOMENESS.

"Japanese women getting thinner as American women become fatter."

This is just funny, and evidenced by medicine - Japanese women getting thinner as American women become fatter | Japan Probe

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Perspective matters.

This is good.

More at the link, more at the site.

8 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was
" are 8 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 22:

1. Pick a career you love; you don’t have to give into the pressure to be practical...

2. Pay off your credit card debt and don’t buy so much stuff...

3. Your student loans can be deferred practically indefinitely...

5. The job you have right now is not that important. If I were an employer I would only hire ambitious twenty something’s. They will knock themselves out working incredibly hard on stuff that barely matters. Try to get a 35 year old to take photocopying that seriously and you’re more likely to get your dog to iron your suit in the morning.

6. You don’t need a safety net. You can figure this out. The idea of being out there, with nothing to catch you if everything goes wrong may make your stomach do little flips, but really, you’ll be just fine."

For the 2nd time in 6mos; total computer crash; reinstall needed. Updates as possible.