Rules is rules…

From the Bangkok Post:

An ancient Thai marriage rite in which wives prostrate before their husbands should be revived to bring back the disappearing happy family, Social Development and Human Security Minister Watana Muangsook said yesterday.

Wow. I wonder what Nam will throw at me when I try to hold this one over her head… But honey, when in Rome…
(via Farang Affairs, the Bangkok Post)

Snow Crash the Movie

It seems like the rumors about a movie version of Snow Crash from a few years back have basically disappeared. If so, good. I have zero faith in Hollywood being able to create anything even remotely as good as the book. Plus, there’s the whole half-black, half-asian protagonist thing to work out – more than likely, they’d devise some brilliant way around it involving Tom Cruise, eyelid glue, and a can of creosote.
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Zero faith. Heh. Reminds me of a planning company I used to pass every day on the way to work, near Nam’s old apartment in Tamade (Osaka): ZERO PLANNING.

Stephenson as Prophet

I just figured out why I loved Google Earth so much from the very first time I tried it. The concept and the interface were already planted in my brain:

Earth materializes, rotating majestically in front of his face. Hiro reaches out and grabs it. He twists it around so he’s looking at Oregon. Tells it to get rid of the clouds, and it does, giving him a crystalline view of the mountains and the seashore…
…Hiro looks up, focuses his gaze on Earth, zooms in for a look. As he gets closer, the imagery he’s looking at shifts from the long-range pictures coming in from the geosynchronous satellites to the good stuff being spewed into the CIC computer from a whole fleet of low-flying spy birds. The view he’s looking at is a mosaic of images shot no more than a few hours ago.

I’m reading Snow Crash again for the first time in few years. I do this partly out of habit every once in a while, the same as watching the Blues Brothers for the twentieth or thirtieth time, but also because its a damn good read.
I’ve realized partway through, this time, that a lot of what Neal Stephenson envisioned in this book has actually materialized in the real world. Perhaps the items I refer to were actually being developed when he wrote the book, but just off the top of my head, in the last year alone I have read about the commercialization of products that could be considered real-world equivalents of Snow Crash technology: The Earth program mentioned above, advanced crash suits/collars for motorcyclists, dentatas (Latin for “toothed vagina”), gargoyles (wearable or implanted computer enhancements), loogie guns.
Next on my personal wish list: Rat things, the Deliverator’s ride, and Reason v1.1.

Utensils, and proper usage thereof

soboro.jpg
I am extremely proud to announce that I ate an entire soboro donburi exclusively with chopsticks today. In its most basic form, this is a bowl of loose rice topped with scrambled eggs (flavored with a bit of dashi) and a bit of ground meat. It is a staple of cafeterias and bento shops everywhere, and I kind of consider it to be the Japanese equivalent of a sloppy joe – you eat it a lot when you’re a kid, then kind of forget about it, then when you rediscover it as an adult you realize how wonderful it is because of its simplicity and hey isn’t simplicity a good thing in itself and… I digress. The loose consistency of a soboro-don in our company cafeteria is such that almost everyone eats it with a spoon, since if you use chopsticks, you end up scooping it into your mouth anyway.
Of course, I automatically chose chopsticks, because well, let’s face it, there are certain standards to adhere to, no? If you start eating donburi with a spoon, pretty soon you’re sucking tofu with a straw because it’s easier, and eating shabu shabu with barbeque tongs because it’s faster. I ask you, what the fuck happened to tradition, heathen? A splintery pair of wooden sticks was good enough for your samurai/geisha/farmboy ancestors, and they’re good enough for you, too.
I have a certain complex about proper table manners and utensil usage because I look Japanese and therefore feel a deeper obligation than usual to have my shit together at the table. Reprazentin’ the gaijin set, ya know? Plus, people who can’t use chopsticks properly just look fucking retarded in public (since that’s the only place they ever use them, I guess), so I actually took the time to learn how to use them properly after I came to Japan (this saves me money on flyswatters ala the Miyagi Method, as well).
So now that you’re thinking about what a chopstick Nazi I am (I just realized “Chopstick Nazis” is the coolest synonym for “Yellow Axis” I’ve ever heard), I’d actually like to point to my good pal Molly, a blond, blue-eyed, card-carrying Gaijin-san, who, during our Tenri days, was famous for eating the university cafeteria’s curry rice with chopsticks. Now that’s HARDCORE. Curry fucking rice. That shit was pretty runny, too, if I remember correctly.
Anyway, the absolute antithesis of a Chopstick Nazi, without a doubt, was the head of the Japanese Studies Department where we studied. Besides being a generally unpleasant and stupid asshole (and I would love to say that to his face except that he’s now dead on top of being a stupid asshole – LOL!), Professor Uehara (nicknames: “Stumpy,” “Fuckhead,” and “Twat”), who I just positively adored, was a real – how to say? – banana. A Twinkie… You know, yellow on the outside with a creamy white filling… This guy, while on one hand exhibiting every feature of a dirty old Japanese man (including, uh, Japanese citizenship), was in such dire of need of proving to everyone that he was American at heart, that he ate soba noodles with a fork.
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The donburi I ate for lunch, incidentally, was delicious.

Ghosn Away

So Nissan is moving corporate headquarters from California to Tennessee.
Hmm.
While “more timely information sharing” with production facilities may be important, I wouldn’t be so quick to leave your design group behind: The new Maxima is one of the ugliest flagship sedans I’ve ever seen this side of a Chris Bangle afterbirth.
The main reason this story has any interest to me is because my dad’s office is located in Gardena, and most people know that the Gardena folks basically did all the work that raised Ghosn to rock star status in the first place.
Hey, Mr. CEO man! Get a clue!
THE ROAD TO NASHVILLE IS LINED WITH BROKEN DREAMS!

Dem Bones

Kitty_skeleton.jpg
A character study of 22 present and past cartoon characters
This is just awesome, but what I really want to see is a full edition of TMNT done in skeletons. Heroes in a half shell and all that (and just what the hell does the “half shell” thing mean, anyway? Does Leonardo suffer from leprosy, or did the Shredder just, well, shred their shells in half or something? Or does it mean they’re ready to be eaten like oysters? Fucking cryptic cartoon song lyrics. Have Bob Dylan write that shit or something.).

New Workday Schedule

– Wake up at 6:20
– Shit, shower, shave
– Breakfast
– Catch 7:28 bus for work
– Arrive 7:45
– Morning exercises/brainwashing ceremony at 8:00
– Work
– Walk home from work (maybe 45 mins.; will time today)
First day thoughts: Morning exercise routine is for the birds. Everybody stands facing my side of the room, so I have a sinking feeling that everyone is staring at my ass when I bend over. This is not conducive to a pre-lunch bowel movement, and I like to stay regular. Plus, brainwashing exercises are not as interesting, even from a cultural viewpoint, as I once thought. I do not want to go back to drinking coffee on a regular basis. Caffeine baaaaaaaad. How the fuck to stay awake? Maybe I should cut ventilation holes in my skull to keep the circulation going.
Oh god I hate morning people. Yuck. Master J says YUCK.

Rare Sighting

Just saw a fire engine red Ferrari Testarossa rear-end a red fire engine. If that ain’t poetic justice, I don’t know what is. The Ferrari driver was, of course, a big, fat wanker who got out and started yelling at the firemen.
I made sure to laugh hard enough so he could hear me.

Shucho Hell

The past few days have been spent in business meetings and on buses. I’ve spent like ten hours on buses in the last three days. Buses beget buses. Go figure. I’m so wacked I couldn’t remember if BUSES was spelled BUSSES, BUSES, or BUSSESS, so I chose the middle one. When in doubt, straddle the fence (and hope it ain’t barbed wire). Must unplug. Must unwind.
But first, must go back to the office and fill out expense reports. By bus.
Ugh.

Japanese Office Trivia of the Day: FedEx

Did you know that FedEx actually has FOUR official FedEx Box sizes?
Small, Medium, Large, and unmarked. The unmarked size is larger than all the others… and the very existence of an unmarked box size annoys the shit out of me for some reason. Logically, it should be Extra Large or X-Large or oh!oh!oh! I know!… FedEx Large!
Fucking office work marginalizing my Medulla again. Tomorrow I might report on the danger of paper cuts in the workplace and the Japanese solution of thick orange condoms for your fingertips.