Sunday, March 26, 2006


Why is it that everyone who reads Catch-22 swears up and down that

1) it's a marvelous, stupendous, and fantasic novel and that

2) the only thing they remember about the novel is Major Major Major Major???

Friday, March 24, 2006

From the Mind of a Friend (and Me)

Let's start with the friendly bartender.
A very good place to start.
When you hunt you begin with

When you drink you begin with a pint-of-beer


The first three words that bartenders hear



Oh, let's see if I can make it easier:

Do. A beer. A female beer.
Ray. "Hey Ray, I'll have a beer!"
Me. That's me. I'll have a beer.
Far. A long way for a beeeeeer.
So, I think I'll have a beer.
La. La, la, la, la, la, beeeeeer.
Tea. No thanks, I'll have a beer.
and that brings us back to beer, beer, beer, beer.

Pilsner, Blond, Double Draft
Extra Stout, and Pale Ale

Whennnnn youuuu haaaaave soooooome beeeeers tooooo driiiink.
Youuuuuu shoulllllld driiiiiiink 'mooooost aaaaaaanyyyyyythiiiiiiing.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Did You Mean "I'm Retarded"?

Oh come ON. said Monday it had modified the way its search engine handles queries for the term "abortion" after receiving an e-mail complaint that the results appeared biased.

Until the recent change, a user who visited the Seattle internet retailer and typed in the word "abortion" received a prompt asking, "Did you mean adoption?" followed by search results for "abortion."

That's just lame. If I search for my name on Google, it usually asks me if I mean "leukemia" instead. Should I be up in arms that Google thinks I am somehow related to that terrible disease? That's a rhetorical question but let me just make it clear: NO! The programs are just trying to help. Since when have we started taking programmed responses personally?

And besides, people spell poorly enough as it is online and I imagine many have been brought to their senses after being prompted by Amazon to consider abortion pills rather than adoption pills. And just what is so insulting about mixing up "abortion" and "adoption" anyway? It makes no sense really:

Girl1: You know, I think I'm going to get an abortion.
Girl2: I've never heard it said like that "get an adoption".
Girl1: Double U Tea Eff?! Abortion. That doesn't even sound like adoption.
Girl2: Oh ok then you're a spawn of Satan. Cosmos at 9 at the Liquid Lounge?


Girl1: You know, I think I'm going to get an abortion.
Girl2: I think you should consider an adoption instead.
Girl1: ...I want an ABORTION. I do not WANT a child.
Girl2: So why don't you adopt?
Girl1: Because I DO NOT WANT A CHILD, which adoption would give me. What is wrong with you you mentally challenged piece of discarded bacon bit from a dumpster?!

Monday, March 13, 2006


L: What are you doing there?
A: What?
L: You're mixing soy sauce and mustard.
A: Yeah. So?
L: You're making...soytard...
A: ...or mustsauce...
L: Haha. Soytard.
A: You're a soytard.
L: Hey! Your mom's a soytard. Soyturd. hehehe.
A: I'm going to call you soytard from now on.
L: I don't think so soytard.
A: No you're the soytard.
L: OK, nice try soytard, but no.
A: Whatever soytard.

Power Through Jargon

I find that whenever I immerse myself in the discourse of a certain field, I learn a set of jargon, a bucket of buzzwords, which allows me to efficiently and convincingly navigate the social waters of that field. Or, since I'm thinking of hobbies and not snooty academic fields (though I think my observation applies there just as well), one quickly learns to talk the talk, even if one is having trouble perambulating.

And often, talking the talk means being able to make sense of a dizzying array of abbreviations and numbers. Talking photography (and just Canon lenses), the comparison between a 70-200 2.8 L IS USM and a 70-200 2.8 EX APO IF HSM should be gibberish to anyone who isn't looking for a fast, professional, medium telephoto. Both are 70-200mm lenses with a maxium constant F-stop of 2.8. But what about the rest? L instantly designates the first lens as a canon professional series lens, the IS stands for Image Stabilisation, the USM stands for Ultrasonic Motor. And the comparable parameters on the other lens?

Not very. And it depends on what the definition of IS is =P

EX matches L in that EX is Sigma's top of the line series of lenses. But then APO stands for the use of SLD (Special Low Dispersion glass) and IF stands for Internal Focusing, which the Canon leaves out. And HSM is like USM but Sigma calls it the Hypersonic Motor but then DG (which is sometimes left out) means that it's a lens designed for digital cameras, equivalent to Canon's EF-S (which the canon 70-200 isn't because it's an EF lens, also sometimes left out of the designation).


But talking the talk IS (not Image Stabilisation here) fun. Knowing that the 17-40 and 70-200 (the F/4 version) are legendary sharp but cheap L lenses allows you to understand 1/4 of the gear talk that goes on in the forums. And when somebody asks you for an ultra wide on a 1.6 crop canon, you can rest easy knowing that the EF-S 10-22 is the best answer because you've read all the reviews and know what's up. 17-85 IS? Pssssh. Distortion, CA, and soft wide open and at 17. Tamron 17-35? No way, just go for the 17-40. Spotting eagles? Pleeeease, just sell your daughter, by a 500L and fugheddabadit. Because even though you're spouting other people's opinions, you're spouting them fluently, assertively, and even (seemingly) knowingly. It allows many to get their confidence level up to a point where they don't shy away from interaction with other who are already in the know. And once you start finding out who those people are, you can graduate and rise above the plebes because, seriously, why go with the 70-200 non-IS when you can get a magic drainpipe for cheaper?! I know, right?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Ignorance Is Temporary Bliss

I hate it when I remember I have to do something just before I think it's bed time because there's only really two paths to take:

1) Go to bed and worry about it tomorrow. This prompts one to set one's alarm early and try to wake up early. Since one is not a morning person, one is really grumpy and disoriented when one does wake up, leading to a catstrophic sequence of events following one another in Rube Goldberg fashion until, wouldn't ya know it, one is sleeping away the time one needed to do what one forgot to do in the first place. Not to mention that now the balloon has been popped, the cat is on fire, and the bowling ball has fallen off the shelf. One is pretty damn lazy is what one is trying to get across here.

2) Do it. Do it now. While taking the initiative and avoiding procrastination is to be commended, this would be called the path of greater resistance for a reason. One loses sleep (which could upset one's schedule tomorrow) and one develops a negative psychological association with one's work. Work = lost sleep = lethargy = less time and energy to do work = more work to be made up = more lost sleep = more lethargy = more work left undone = necessity of Hair Club for Men and Rogaine with Minoxidil.

And you see, I really identify with Mr. One. What's more, before the "uh oh" moment, which is commonly associated with a cardiac ascent right into the trachea, I was perfectly happy! Yes yes, it's much better to have finished the work but sometimes I wish I hadn't remembered. I could at least be enjoying a worry-free slumber and postpone the heart troubles until tomorrow morning, at which point the shock would be hopefully mitigated by resignation at the futility of trying to rush it through before the deadline.

What a terrible work ethic I have.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It All Sounds the Same!

I was recently a judge for a Hong Kong Students' association's pop song contest, basically a karaoke contest incognito, which is what you might want to be were you to be forced into such a position of judgement. But not I. No. I relished the opportunity, truly.

I mean come on, how often do you really listen to Hong Kong pop (oops, sorry, didn't mean to offend), much less judge a contest? Unique opportunity here.

Now make no mistake. The contestants I heard were not talent passed over by Star Search or the Mickey Mouse Club (v. HK, of course) or anything. As the two judges who had musical training/background (one of my musicology friends also did this), we found plenty of ear-grating dissonances that, while perhaps interesting for its microtonal deviances in the context of crazy new classical music, has no place in HK pop. Still, the effort and motivation was there and it was fun to see the results. There were a few outstanding contestants as well who, from a purely musical perspective, redeemed the event somewhat.

Listening to ballade after ballade of cheesy Mandarin/Cantonese pop songs reminds me again the difference between Chinese and American pop songs: the former is a market whose consumers demand easily consumable memorable tunes while the latter is much less so. It's not that we LIKE cheesy songs that all sound the same but that we like singing as a social activity. And let's face it, it's much easier to sing a cheesy Chinese love ballade than it is to go tackle U2's latest hits (or GWAR). So yeah, they do all sound similar but there's a reason for it. (The same reasoning should not be applied to Asians' physical appearances unless you want to get a Kung Fu kick to the butt. Yes, we know Kung Fu. ALL OF US.)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Vile Murderous Hatred

M: "So where are you?"
M: "I've got the window open."
M: "Which one?"
M: "The XYZ window..."
M: "Hmmm. I don't have that on mine mayb"
M: "What do you mean you don't have that window??? It's right there."
M: "Well I'm running the same OS but the customiz...nevermind. I found what you're talking about. OK, what do you see?"
M: "Option A - yadda yadda yadda..."
M: "OK goo"
M: "Option B - yadda yadda yadda..."
M: "No that's g"
M: "Option C - yadda yadda yadda..."
M: "OK!!! Are you listening to me at all?"
M: "Those are all the options."
M: "*sigh* Hit cancel."
M: "OK, I've removed option A."
M: "Nonono! Cancel!"
M: "What?? What do you mean? I removed it!"
M: "No, CANCEL."
M: "There is no cancel!"
M: "Yes there is! At the bottom of the dialog!"
M: "Oh! Well why didn't you say so? OK, I've cancelled it."
M: "Not now! Go back and add option A again."
M: "Why did you have me cancel then???"
M: "I am shoving a cactus up my anus and it feels rather nice in comparison to this."
M: "OK, I added option A again."
M: "Now perform action 3."
M: "I did, nothing happened."
M: "Oh that's because you must have made error x. It happens a lot."
M: "No I didn't."
M: "You must have. Let me explain. When you try to perform action 3, error x happens i"
M: "Don't explain to me! I didn't make a mistake! Fix it!"
M: "But I"
M: "Why do you not want to help me?!"
M: "What are you smoking?! Error X logically entails your having made a mistake!"
M: "What the holy high shit of FUCKnuts do you THINK I was doing? Spilling the blood of your viriginal daughter on the grave of your ancestors?"
M: "It's not about whether you're trying or not! You're doing something wrong and I'm tryi"
M: *click*
M: "ng to tell you what the program is doing so that you understand why you THINK you may not have done anything wrong but the unintuitive interface is...why are you not screaming at me? Hello? Hello?"

Does anybody have any viriginal daughters they'd like dead? I'm really in the mood right now. I promise to rape their eye sockets before I submit them to blunt force trauma with a two by four, finally disemboweling them. I need some(some) graves of ancestors too. And supersize that motherfucker.

Disclaimer: The preceding thoughts and events are ALL REALLY REAL. I was not using hyperbole AT ALL. This passage is SOOOOOO not sarcastic. I am SOOOOOOO serious. I have a thing for two by fours.