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  ' Carrots For Breakfast '

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April 29, 2002
Oooohhh... so sick: some strain of flu bug has been ravaging me since Friday...

April 26, 2002
Yes, yes, the carrots. Some may wonder, what's with the carrots? They are in fact my breakfast, at least on working days -- a couple years back, I solved two problems with one change, by bringing a Tupperware container into work loaded with the mini-carrots, and munching them through the morning -- adopting this habit reversed my weight gain, I lost thirty pounds; plus by no longer going out for lunch, I eliminated what's become a crippling early-afternoon drowsiness, even of the lunch meal's not that big. But now, I do occasionaly augment the fruit and carrots with a lunchbreak pause at the Seto Deli, nearby, in Sunnyvale. Usually I just get a $1.50 chunk of grilled mackeral (which I also like raw -- remembering when sushi bars were new, how I read that a fisherman was amazed they served saba, which he'd always considered merely a bait fish). This review takes issue with calling a Japanaese restaurant of any stripe a "deli," but really, what else to call it, if they want to draw in a wide audience? (Outside New York, "deli" has come to mean any lunchtime sandwich shop, not necessarily one with pastrami, bagels & etc. on the menu.) What intrigues me is their cute "Fox Pocket" logo, which relates to the vegan inari sushi they serve; I've come across that word in a very different context because various Shinto shrines invoke this diety, which has some relationship to foxes. Searching uncovered this Inari explanation. (Scroll down, there's more informative links at the bottom).

Socio-Political Themes in The Smurfs explains the Smurfette's lack of bosum, and how Comrade Brainy -- er, Brainy Smurf, represents Trotsky!

Richard Cohen, who is (like me) a Crusader for Silence, writes about confronting "Cell Yell."

The latest Zompist rant concerns Editorial Cartoons. Elsewhere, among his "How To Tell if You're"s, he's just posted the Canadian -- I've wanted to read that one for quite some time.

April 24, 2002
This is my first-ever entry edited and uploaded via a command line ftp in an xterm window, on my Linux laptop. Long time comin' -- I can finally display it:
powered by vi
This update was -- really.
(Getting on is so tedious, however, the method will probably remain a backup novelty.)

April 23
Tessellating Animation -- some are GIFs, others Flash, all are good. MC Escher would enjoy!

April 22
Realtors have decided their smiling faces should adorn advertising signage. The shopping carts at the supermarkets here replicate these happy heads (none of whom I'd trust); many more examples of that stuff at the celebrities of real estate.

Linguists call "um" and "er" dummy words. This article is all about how they're used to hold the floor in conversation, and which sounds are used for dummies in different cultures. (On the other hand, aren't "Y'know" and "Basically" called filler words?)

Another article, scary -- observations from the Arctic, where the ice caps are melting.

The Industrious Women of Pottsylvania!

April 19, 2002
Been using the Mozilla browser for a while now -- there's superior technical reasons to favor this software, but I like it for the way it loads up a busy page -- the text appears first, then the page is dynamically restructured as each image finishes loading, contrary to the annoying, business-friendly way the more popular browsers do, where the banner ads get priority. (Mozilla's only better, not perfect).

RIP Thor Heyerdahl (CNN obit) -- he wrote the first 'real' book I evr read, Kon-Tiki, when I was 8 or 9 years old. The story of his crew crossing the South Pacific on a raft was an early trigger of my interest in things beachy and Polynesian, though truth be told I couldn't handle that Nordic name -- in the way that people assign a pronounciation they've never heard by equating the new string with a familiar sound, I read it as "Thor Hydrofoil." Foolishly, I'd forgotten all about this by 1984, when I was in Oslo, so I haven't yet visited the Kon-Tiki Museum.

April 18, 2002
That class alluded to previously was my last needed -- today was the final session, so after I turn in my project I've completed the requisite courses to be a minimally certified Teacher -- given a crisis, I now have a backup ESL career option.
(That's English as a Second Language)

New products: are you familiar with Plyboo? It's plywood made from bamboo. How about the RGB LED pleasures of the Sauce Light Wand? (A guy had one at that party, the exposure triggered an immediate need). Their web site's colorful, but enough already with the aggresive "fun, hip, it's the rage" advertising copy. Finally, (the not very old at all replacement! of) my trusty Sony WM-D3 stereo recording Walkman has died prematurely, apparently zapped by a spike in a RealAudio stream I was taping -- thanks a lot, Ira! I'm using this event as catalyst to loosen my 35-year dependence on magnetic tape as archival musical medium; it's way past time to go digital; so I'm looking into the optimal portable MiniDisc. Already obsolete? Doesn't seem so, although this media hasn't caught on stateside the way it has overseas -- still, these units seem amazing, the new ones can even transcribe .mp3 files in a rapid mode. They're so small, I feel like Doc Brown confronting the VideoCam: "An entire digital recording studio in that tiny unit?"

April 15, 2002
Busy, busy -- in a class that's winding down, and haven't felt very 'posty' of late; but a different perspective is available, at theGirl's online journal. More details for the curious than I've provided here, in quite some time -- sometime she even posts pictures I snapped, with her digital camera.

April 11, 2002
I've been pondering the 'berserker' concept, as described in a "This American Life" program from last September. (To hear it in RealAudio, advance to about T+22 minutes.) The segment's from Lee Sandlin's Losing The War, a 1997 article originally printed in the Chicago Reader. It relates the Vikings' berserker rage to the firebombing of Dresden, Hamburg and Tokyo, and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; with details of Wagner and the Battles of Midway and the Bulge. Long, but quite readable and worthwhile.

Trashcanistan -- an aricle in The National Review, another long, depressing read, is a trip through the former Soviet republics, via recent books about same.

April 9, 2002
This week's diary in Slate is of some American journalist on a junket in Japan, studying gambling. Today's entry concerns Pachinko. (Links to Slate and Salon? How very pedestrian! Well... they're interesting, to me.) Last week, their column on Queer Food was pretty funny. And over at Salon, yesterday they posted a worthwhile appreciation of "The Outer Limits."

The Twenty Most Overrated and the Eight Most Underrated events/people of the 20th century -- excellent. He's right about the Tangshan earthquake of '76 -- what happened, besides a million dead (or at least half a million)?

A Professor says his time machine will work (the first traveller to be a mere neutron or two) but... does he have a teen-aged son?

Also in the news, that di-hydrodgen monoxide prank -- "It's like going to the airport and shouting that you have a gun. It's stupidity." Well, I certainly agree with the latter.

April 8, 2002

Cute Inc. is a Wired article from Dec'99 about the Japanese phenomenon of kawaii, or cute -- it traces this fascination back to the early 1970s, and has interviews with the creators of Hello Kitty, plus mentions of Totoro, Miffy and Pokéman; but not Afro Ken.

Odaiba -- all about that new district in Tokyo discussed previously, with the Ferris Wheel.

Chinese Propaganda Posters.

April 7, 2002
This pointer to eye-wtness accounts was received in reaction to my previous entry's query -- just what I wanted, thanks Mar!

April 1, 2002
Last week Jon Carroll had a column which covered territory similar to my own At the Gym. Myself, on the treadmill, I probably shift between Marathon and Dutiful, with the rare flash of Ecstatic. We're in agreement about the Grunters in the weight room.

While we were in Portland recently, on some stray channel on the motel room television, a short travel video appeared, like one of those things I've seen during the wee hours, in Japan -- scenic views, classical music, location sound effects -- but no narration. This one was a small city in Europe (Gmunden) where I spotted the peculiar be-fezed suplicant of the Julius Meinl logo -- it marks a shop like maybe the Austrian equivalent to Trader Joes. Or perhaps not. I got to know them during my Viennesse sojurn of early '96.

April 3, 2002
The Urban Legends crew holds forth on Sept 11 at the Pentagon -- apparently there's some justifiable scepticism about what really happened. They link to a site I saw a couple weeks ago, which raises point-by-point evidence (with pictures) that yes, there was an explosion, but perhaps caused by a truck bomb (as was reported initially), rather than a crashing airliner. They also link to the CNN story showing the moment-of view from some security cam, but that image just shows the fireball, so it's not convincing proof the explosion was caused by AA77's impact. Aren't there any eye-witness reports -- doesn't anybody know someone who knows someone who saw it happen? No late commuters crossing the 14th St bridge on I-395 who saw the plane fly around the capitol first? That last bit's what interests me; only heard about then, thereafter, nevermore. Anyone with a story or a link, please send it along.

Speaking of fireballs, check this DOE index to photos of American atomic bomb tests
(found at the ever-excellent bOINGbOING -- the next link came from there, too.)

The illustration at the Hokey Spokes site makes it look like a bike's wheels can be configured to resemble the light show of that Ferris Wheel, on the new reclaimed island out in Tokyo Bay, but with only six of their LED modules? At $25 per, I'm not quite intrigued enough to buy.

March 29, late
The Art of Pen Spinning -- I do a bogus version, really more pen twirling (like a baton). Somehwere I read someone say only a real -- Japanese? Some flavor of Asian -- could do this, but the ethnic of the first person I ever knew who could was Cuban.

All is well once more, although I did end up replacing the battery as well. (This task performed by myself, out in the Sears parking lot, just as in late '96. But different Sears.)

March 28, 2002
Sam Smith's deconstruction of the fascist new 57¢ postage stamp.

Index to eighteen appearances of Mr Jay in Doonesbury. (Disregard those two from 1976).

March 27, Wednesday evening
Aging Car Woes
My battery warning light's been flickering on for a while, but since the seat belt light came on also I thought, 'maybe the idiot light system's just screwed up?' and motored on. Turns out that's the way Toyota wires it. The result: a dead battery, of course happening at the worst time, but since it was parked at home I could easily shift into public-transport mode. Currently, my closest access point is the VTA light rail stop maybe a half mile away. So I got a new alternator, but as I drove away from the shop I noticed a louder-than-normal engine tone, which I attribuited to the new (well, rebuilt) module. Things got worse, until four days later the savage vibrartions and mufflerless roar drove me back to the mechanic, who discovered a cracked header pipe. Of course, a replacement's like $200, however they're able to weld it back, no charge. But! Mid-job, the welding rig broke down, its replacement part now due tomorrow.

March 23, 2002
As you can see, the promised new look is practically no change at all -- started the updates before anything realistic was developed, reading this recent Zeldman makes me think I should migrate entirely to style sheets, now. Hate to shut out old browsers, though.

Scrunchy Love!

March 21, 2002
I've been enjoying perusing the Nonverbal Dictionary as well as Common Errors in English -- wish the latter was all one document rather than being alphabetically hyperlink-fragmented. Also, the Y-Forum has many interesting discussion threads, but no summing-up, which is what I want -- guess their book (Why Do White People Smell Like Wet Dogs When They Come Out Of The Rain?) is the place to find that. As it is, accessing the forum's like some really awkward Usenet group (which is where it should live, rather than on the web).

March 20, 2002
Latest word from Noam.
Since Sept. 11, Chomsky has been deluged with requests to speak at universities, fund-raisers and public forums. He published a best-selling book, 9-11, which explains -- in a series of interviews with journalists -- his view that the United States is "a leading terrorist state" that circumvents international law and wrongfully supports murderous conditions around the world... "It's not just me, incidentally," Chomsky said. "It's everybody. There's probably been more openness and dissent now than at any time in modern history."

More progressive enlightenment is available at the Chicken Hawk Database -- it lists the multitude of political weasels who favor military action, but avoided it personally. For a good discussion of this, find today's entries in Tom Tomorrow's weblog.

March 10, 2002, 1215
Thinking about Saturday mornings past, when I'd drive around LA listening to that Alter-Deutscher on KPCC. What was his show, anyway? The ocassional bit of band muzik between long ramblings by said DJ, in German. I couldn't understand him; didn't try very hard, probably something really innocuous. He's gone now; lots of NPR homogenization's been happening since I moved away from SoCal -- a quick scan of their current schedule confirms that Ian's missing, also; but I knew he only lasted a couple years there. Of course, "Car Talk" is available (as if).

March 9, 2002, 0957
IMDb trivia from "Moulin Rouge!"
A scene establishing the "Gothic Tower" as a bordello was cut. It involved dancers in S&M gear performing Grace Jones' "Slave to the Rhythm".
That song I hear in the gym was apparently not in the movie. ("Paradise" by Kaci Battaglia -- why do I think it was? Just sounds like it.) It was great when they were singing "Heroes" -- if I'd known Grace Jones was in the mix I might've stayed till the end of the film.

March 7, 2002
Still with me? Wow, I'm surprised you keep checking -- thanks, it's flattering! Sorry for the interval, promise I won't stay silent forever; still contemplating a change in page appearance; or even a way-different type of update -- a little story for each, maybe; instead of the slew of links you've maybe gotten used to (and can easily acquire at other weblogs). Since there's nothing here like that yet, please accept apologies for my laziness.

February 18, 2002
Still taciturn, weblog's on hiatus; but some pictures from my recent adventure in Asia are up. (Since the 'thumbnails' are so big, a text-only index is also available.)

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