The Accidental Motorcycle Thief

The other day, I wanted to go for a quick lunch at the canteen (cafeteria), so I asked one of the students interning for the Japanese course if I could borrow her scooter. She gave me the key and told me where it was parked, along with a description. She said the license plate number was 85, and that it was a 100cc Honda Wave, with a manual transmission, in gray.

I found the 100cc manual Honda Wave almost immediately, but noticed that the license plate was actually 58 and that it was blue with gray accents. I chalked it up to the student remembering it wrong, or me hearing it wrong, and decided to test it by trying to start it up: No problem. I rode off in the direction of lunch, happily upshifting with my foot in this age of boring automatic plastic bi-wheeled conveyances.

When I got back on the scooter after lunch, the key was harder to turn. I had to work at it a bit. Then, when I got back to my building, I couldn’t turn the key to the far left to lock the steering column. I tried for a few minutes doing the jiggle-turn maneuver, but finally just gave up. When I went back to my office, I told the intern that I couldn’t lock her bike and asked if she’d had problems with her key, but she had no idea what I was talking about. A warning sign flashed briefly in my head.

“You said your plate number was 5-8, right?” I asked.

“No, I said 8-5,” she said.


I  looked down at where I’d parked the bike and saw a girl wiping tears from her eyes, our building’s custodian trying to console her, and a security guard talking into a walkie talkie.

I went down and apologized, and in the end, everyone except the victim had a good laugh about it (she was still in shock at having her scooter stolen). I felt bad for making her feel bad, but also because the first time I stole a bike, [A.] it was only 100cc, [B.] it required no skill because of the worn lock, and [C.] it provided zero exhilaration because IT WAS A TOTAL ACCIDENT.

Dropbox is addictive

Getting more Dropbox space is like earning achievements in your favorite video game.


It’s been a while since I wrote about Dropbox vs. Google Docs (for MS Office document backup), and there have been new developments since then that really make this software interesting. So how do you get started?

First, create a Dropbox account (clicking this link gives you and I both 250MB extra storage space on top of your initial 2GB)

After you sign up, you will be presented with a list of basic tasks that teach you the basics of the service. As an incentive, you are awarded extra storage space (250MB) upon completion of all the tasks.

Next, complete simple tasks (like linking your Twitter/Facebook accounts to Dropbox) on this page to further boost your Dropbox space (128MB x 6). Note: You may not want to connect Dropbox to your social networking accounts due to privacy concerns.

Finally, make links for your friends/visitors with your referral code (like this) to boost space for both of you.

Random Links 11/22/2010

The Burger Lab: Revisiting the Myth of The 12-Year Old McDonald’s Burger That Just Won’t Rot
We all assumed it was due to preservatives/additives/salt content, but this experiment tries to determine the real reason with a control – homemade burgers.

Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving

Grandma’s Superhero Therapy
Interesting background story, but the curtains in the sandwich photo sealed it for me.

The Shadow Scholar: The man who writes your students’ papers
I felt like this in high school; I wrote around fifteen entrance exam essays for various universities with 100% success rate (and then didn’t make it into a UC myself due to a missing physics credit – I’m just a bad Amerasian).


From today, Monday’s my only day off – and I’ll take it, because until now I didn’t have one (I was teaching at least TOEFL prep night classes every day, but they finished last week). I figure I’ll spend the morning drinking cafe creme and playing on the computer, clean the Crown’s spark plugs before it gets too hot, and go in to the office in the afternoon.

Max is staying home because there’s only one teacher at school (one quit and another’s at a seminar) today and he’s coming down with a cold or something. It’s easier to make sure he gets enough liquids and sleep at home… BUT HE AND MINA ARE FIGHTING EACH OTHER AAAAAAALLL THE TIIIIIIIIIME!

It doesn’t feel like a day off.

Random Links 11/15/2010

Grizzly Bear Chasing a Bison Down a Highway in Yellowstone
Somehow more satisfying than a photobombing rodent.

The Pirates Are Winning
If you had nothing to lose and everything to gain, you might make a good pirate, too (especially if you had access to cheap Soviet Bloc weapons and ready access to shipping lanes).

How to install Android 2.21 on an iPhone 3g
Nobody’s stopping you from swapping an NSX engine into your Ferrari, either.

Where and how to play Caravan in Fallout: New Vegas
My kings and jacks are your worst nightmare.



Hey, that’s what I said.

Your Robert Smith fix for the day decade


An incredible Crystal Castles cover of Platinum Blonde’s “Not in Love” with Robert Smith vocals: Right click to download

This is currently playing on loop on my deck as a full-scale molam concert is going off at the entrance to our hood. I walked out a few minutes ago to see what was happening and decided I’d rather listen to this again and again, which is saying a lot.

(thx attica)

Baby Updates 11/10/2010

Max is going through a long phase of clinginess and separation anxiety. In order to get him to go to school without crying, Nam tried taking Mina and P’Kaew (our nanny) in the car when she took him to school. That was over a month ago, and besides one time when he was in a funny mood and let daddy take him to school all alone, it’s how he has insisted on going to school every day since then. Oh, well.

Max hoards his safety cloths (“safety,” as in, “safety blanket”) a lot less than he used to, but has instead taken up the habit of changing clothes several times a day and showing them off. Before he went to bed, he was wearing his school uniform (which he never wears to school), but after Nam put him to sleep I noticed he was wearing street clothes. Hmmm.

His new favorite drink is chocolate milk (he’s been weaned from Ovaltine and Milo) with a giraffe illustration on the box, and his favorite food is anything that daddy or grandma makes.

He is super artistic and can sit and draw or paint for hours. He drew a recognizable face (a painting recognizable as a face, that is) in watercolor the other day and it really blew me away. Then he made me draw one and he complained there was no nose (I told him it was a picture of Michael Jackson). He also plays all kinds of music and is a great dancer (he did not get that from me).

He pretends to love Mina in front of other people, hugging her and smothering her with kisses. At least some of that is real. He’s our big boy now; we can give him complex commands and he usually does them ([A.] if he feels like it, or [B.] there is a sugary bribe involved).


Mina is a big girl – she is smart, strong, and super  advanced for her age. She makes other babies seem SLOW and FEEBLE. She is eleven months old and just this week started walking across the room of her own volition. She’s been able to take a few steps for a couple months, but now there’s no stopping her. For quicker applications, she still uses this crazy scrambling on all fours that I’ve mentally dubbed the “white wiggle tank.”

More than a few times, I’ve seen her fall and hit her head and maybe cry if it surprises her or she wants attention. Speaking of attention, when she wants it, she can get it instantly. She has a kind of mind control thing going. I saw her playing with my phone today, and she was pretending to talk into it, except that she can’t speak yet, so she was deeply concentrated on getting it to work through telepathy.

And yet, the most endearing things about her are the innocent baby parts. For instance, she thinks that our clay animal statues are alive (probably because I was treating them like they were alive in front of her by pretending they were biting me and so forth), and actually ran away crying when I chased her with one. Okay, maybe that’s not so endearing so much as me having fun being a dick to a baby, but still… Come to think of it, I’ve been pretending that many things are alive just to keep her away from them.

Like today, there was half of a dinner roll on the counter and I wanted to eat it, but I knew if Mina saw it, she would claim it first. So I cut a slit on it for a mouth, and pretended it wanted to eat her nose. She thought that was funny until it started munching on her ears, too, and then she didn’t want anything to do with it, so daddy took care of it for her and ate that bread monster right up.  😉