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December 13, 2011
A couple new additions:                                        

November 13, 2011
Back from Japan, short visit but the best ever, trip report here.

September 9, 2011
Back at 'Tino teaching nights twice a week, meanwhile busy, busy with my day job, so much to say, no time to say it.

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February 19, 2011
  • On TV, Nothing is Real -- but you knew that. (When did the blue CGI screen go green?)

  • Sure miss his voice -- a David Foster Wallace article from the turn of the century, Present Tense, which concerns English and The Dictionary, Prescriptives vs. Descriptives. Only problem is a few -- well, calling 'em 'typos' seems a little inaccurate as it looks like the original text's OCR conversion wasn't properly proofread (hard to believe, for Harper's) as the software guessed wrong, in a couple places.

  • OK Cupid crunched the numbers and shares the results: Best Questions for First Dates.

  • 2020 World's Fair pitch for Moffett Field.

February 10, 2011

February 6, 2011

February 4, 2011
higashi (Jaoabaese sweets)
Onto the scanner, an arrangement of the season's generous gifts of candy -- the most remarkable perhaps, the wasabi KitKat, In fact they're all Japanese except the orange Korean which is a special souvenir from their Jeju island in the south.

January 30, 2011
  • Paul Maybury, great artist underemployed by Whole Foods, got fired for his Mr T.

  • Incredibly obscure YouTube: Kollywood? Part 1 Part 2. An army of robots, and talking mosquitoes. Indian with Russian over-dubs.

  • In local news, NASA accused of favoritism at Moffett. Right where I'm working again; I see those planes all the time, recognized them as new and guessed they were the Google Air fleet.

January 29, 2011

January 23, 2011
  • Don't miss: Hardly Working address web-surfing at work.

  • The Pilot reports from Thailand, specifically the Phi Phi Islands, a stupefyingly beautiful place ...ruined by throngs of visitors, one of the great scandals of global travel. Hundreds of thousands of tourists -- let me correct myself, hundreds of thousands of young and obnoxious tourists. At one point he gets stuck in an elbow-to-elbow scrum of dudes and dudettes kitted out in the preposterous, inexplicable trappings of today's young people.

January 22, 2011

January 16, 2011

January 10, 2011
Tomorrow I resume working full-time at the old job (but for a different company) so updates here may be more sporadic than usual, for a while. Will still be teaching one evening class too.

January 8, 2011
2005 Toyota Matrix XR
Here it is, the new machine. Although driving my old car's more fun this one's certainly plush, can't resist all the contemporary features, like the little fob for locking/unlocking without the key. Concerning those little modules, from that Edmunds site essential for automobile info, the Ten Most Fabulous Key Fobs.

January 5, 2011
Busy times, new(er) car shopping...
  • While back East one night I fell into via their Useful Notes -- had never been before, hours later, surfacing, since then have avoided these most compelling TV Tropes successfully.

December 29, 2010
Back from another successful Christmas jaunt back East, mingling with all the jolly holiday air-travelers. Some years my flights are non-stop but this time, plane changes at Denver heading out and then Chicago on the rebound, where I had enough time to hang out inside Michael Hayden's Sky's The Limit, the subterranean neon tunnel connecting United's B and C concourses which might be the largest light sculpture in the world. Its twinkling, minimal music occasionally evokes Rhapsody in Blue and (maybe only to me) Good King Wenceslaus.

Also at ORD, a first -- advertising on the escalator handrails. Click for biggery.
escalator handrail advertising

December 25, 2010
  • I'm Dreaming of a Blue Sunset, a view from Mars.

  • After some Limey went to South America and learned about plumbing in the Developing World, he created an online guide addressing the problem, indexed by country: Where do I put the paper, a handy Guide to the World's Toilets. My own First World sensibilities were adjusted in 1977 when I reached Greece -- not only was it a squat toilet (Euro-style, lacking the pipe you can hold on to, typical in the Japanese version) but OMG there was used toilet paper in the adjacent rubbish bin!

  • At Environmental Graffiti, the 14 Most Beautiful Jellyfish.

December 17, 2010

December 13, 2010
the Beatles, just before the Abbey Road photo
Another photo floating around the wwweb: the Beatles, just before the Abbey Road photo. 'Tis the season: those MP3s of their Christmas records (distributed only to fan club members) are still available.

December 10, 2010

December 7, 2010
  • Hacking Chrsitmas Lights, the $60 strings of R-G-B LEDs, actually the controllers thereof.

  • I'd eat this jello (but never, ever the kind with shredded carrots).

  • In local news, Safeway adds third supermarket to Sunnyvale corner. This is walking distance from my apartment, and I disagree with calling Trader Joe's a supermarket. The new place across the street (Sprouts, where Circuit City was) also doesn't quite qualify, seems to me it's more bulk food store with an unappealing produce aisle. The Safeway, though -- too big, and too expensive! Note this location also where the new Five Guys-Pizza My Heart-Panera mini-mall just appeared.

December 3, 2010
  • A blogger at dubious quality visited Disney World & etc. and has been posting (and just concluded) a series of ruminations about his experiences there, including an unauthorized interview with an employee cast member.

  • Photos at flickr, by Kernbeisser, views of the DPRK, with translations.

November 30, 2010

November 22, 2010

November 21, 2010
At the library yesterday, found a big book about Chicago architecture, where I learned about the famous 1920s design competition for the new Tribune building. Although it's one of the most popular images in the history of modern architecture it was new to me, the very amusing "newspaper column" design (which was submitted too late to qualify) which is shown in this big PDF in a couple modern renderings, with some more info.

November 17, 2010
  • Firesheep FAQ. It's a Firefox extension which allows for easy session-hijacking when using that browser on public networks.

  • Companies yank cord on residential phone books [the kind of stupid 'pun' headline editors should be fired for using] -- anyway, sounds great, unless limited only to the white pages, which seems to be what's going on here. This morning I was able to refuse the current yellow pages, only because I was up early enough and I heard 'em coming.

  • 48 print ads that would never be allowed today.

  • See James Fallows' blog for the latest, best commentary about airport security. One of my favorite journalists, he's been all over this issue though not actually his specialty (that would be Asia).

November 15, 2010
  • Lovin' all the media attention, finally, on TSA abuse, although the media voices are still ignoring some obvious questions -- why are airline crew-members forced to run the security gauntlet? And why aren't airport workers? We'll be hearing endlessly now about touching his 'junk' but irrate passenger John Tynar's more important comments (at the end of this) address how it's always other passengers who wind up apprehending the terrorists now and we should be treated better. Another fun fact (just mentioned on Marketplace): that expensive new back-scatter imaging hardware's being paid for with economic stimulous money.

  • The supposed Sitzpinkel movement in Nordic countries encourages men to sit, thereby preventing urine spatter (and it's far more relaxing) but the SF Weekly's reporting on a guy who was offering ~$500 workshops where women are taught how to pee standing up (without any FUD like the GoGirl) but now you can just watch the video online. A blog at the Weekly has a little more about this.

  • At the Big Picture, opening ceremony for the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou.

  • This site depicts REAL things said to me (or at least near me) by customers in the comic book shop that I work in. These are real people. This is what they look like and this is something that they actually said.

November 7, 2010
  • Beautiful night-time cat/balcony photo from Santiago, Chile, alarming to those unfamilar with feline abilities. (Had an irritating run-in with them when I had my 12th-floor condo.)

  • Video@youtube: People Are Awesome.

  • In The Great Unwashed, a NY Times article about relaxing hygiene standards in the US, a clean-cut actor/producer in LA is happy to report that he finds deodorant unnecessary, and anti-perspirants absurd. My own decision about the absurdity of anti-perspirant occured with the discovery, after application, that my armpits still became wet. I learned that (by design) it only blocks 10%! My own non-usage of deoderant evolved from rejecting the dogma of frat-boy jocks encountered in locker rooms, who used their Right Guard so ostentatiously. The fact is, sweat doesn't smell -- it's the bacteria in sweat, and on most people that doesn't begin to stink immediately. A daily wash removes it, and that's all you need.

October 31, 2010
Hallowe'en, the beginning of the holiday season. As ever, the rental costume ads in the free weekly are a little raunchy, as my mother would say. This year we have the sexy Mutant Ninja Turtle, even the Sexy Chilean Miner but for the most unreal see Cracked's 26 Costumes That Shouldn't Exist (Sexy Nemo! Sexy Darth Vader!) and Pizza Teen's sexy last-minute costume suggestions (sexy back cover of The Giving Tree!) After all that, High School Tease doesn't seem unusual (but she sure didn't go to my high school). For commentary about this trend, Dan Savage.

October 29, 2010
Friday 1Q Excel class
Last day of my first non-ESL class, Intro to Excel. Note -- no tie, the instructor being not quite as formal when leading a computer class.
  • I listen to as much Public Radio as possible, and have been for a long time. Loved the electronic All Things Considered theme from the 1970s and dislike how it's been so completely banished, but now everything's avaliable -- somebody at WFMU posted an ATC Theme Overload page, with MP3s.

  • I've enjoyed Bill McKibben's books and articles but first heard him on the low end of the FM dial, reading excerpts from his Age Of Missing Information. He's back with report on public radio, and what worthwhile local programming is available now, via internet.

October 22, 2010

October 21, 2010

October 17, 2010

October 14, 2010

October 12, 2010

October 10, 2010
Indian pattern
A design from Chitra Kutira's Rangavalli #3, a book of intricate mandala patterns published by the Vasan Book Depot in Bangalore, found in the recycle.

October 5, 2010
Just one thing after another, here -- car trouble, another towing; and another bike spill, though injuries from the latter not as severe as my tumble in June.

September 29, 2010

September 24, 2010
  • NY Times slideshow: Capturing the atom bomb on film. Finally, the source of the wavy parallel lines at the edges of the old photos revealed: sounding rocket plumes used to gauge the progress of shock waves through the atmosphere, from an array launched just prior to the detonation.

September 20, 2010

September 13, 2010

September 12, 2010
_Zero History_ coverIt's exciting -- the new Gibson just came out, and I've got the library copy -- my name at the top of the reserve list, placed there weeks ago, in anticipation. Watch the promotional video (first of those I've noticed, for a book).

  • While living in Northern Virginia in the mid-90s, in Arlington, back then there was a little two-shop operation called Five Guys Hamburger. Nowhere to eat inside, no decor; just paper bags of fresh burgers and fries, the 'taters' source noted on a small blackboard. Free peanuts were available for while you were waiting, their shells littering the floor. Well, if you live in the DC area now, you're aware this chain has been expanding, aggressively... there's even a branch near my parents' place, out in Maryland; Obama Stops for Lunch at Five Guys; and just this week I learned they've already opened a few shops in California, triggering reactions like Seven reasons In-n-Out is better than Five Guys. His #2 is my #1 -- the price. Also Five Guys overuses aluminum foil in their takeout packaging (to-go still the only choice there, although now you can sit down and eat inside).

  • Vancouver Neon

September 9, 2010

September 5, 2010

September 1, 2010

August 28, 2010

August 25, 2010

August 24, 2010
Never miss James Kunstler's weekly rant, he's such a Doomer; this week's column ended with this curious observation made while touring New England:

The orange rubber cones were deployed along the center line of I-91 for scores of miles, with absolutely no sign that any project -- shovel-ready or otherwise -- was underway, leading us to suspect that the project of cone deployment for its own sake was a kind of rogue stimulus program. Just cones, cones, and more cones, as baffling as crop circles. No heavy equipment, no men in hard hats. Just mile after mile of cones.

August 21, 2010

August 12, 2010
Vermont County Fair, 1941
Originally in a book and the Library of Congress, we've seen these color photos from the 1930s and 40s before, but a Denver newspaper has posted them again and I've been studying the series with my parents. They say these girls are all wearing feed sack dresses -- for more about these printed fabrics once used as packaging see Feedsacks, Frugal and Fun.

August 10, 2010
August is the internet dog days -- people on vacation, nobody updates enough; but here's some linkage.

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