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Showing posts from January, 2004

macintosh g5 to crappy pc conversion

Casemod-as-flamebait. When I showed my friend, who happens to love Apple, he looked sick. He did not say anything to me. He just put his hands on his head and was in shock. I wish I had a picture of that.(...)I use it mostly for Internet, ripping music/DVDs and pissing off my friend.oh, dear jesus. what have you done? (via futurismic)

Update: It was apparently just a prank. Though it's still a mystery where the innards of the G5 case went, before the current owner got it.

pix (mine)

bachelor machines

A life-sized woman casemod (for non-PC PC's; there are others)
Realdoll bits and pieces (not safe for work, even though it's just silicone), including severed heads that (along with Dick Nixon) may rule us in the Futurama days to come.
A Secret Museum.
Japanese Goth Gyaru and Kana, of "visual kei" rock fame.
M. Christian's Bachelor Machine (comments to follow)

comments feed problems

A brief note to anyone who's using the XML comments link to keep up with Comments posting: I'm not sure if it's entirely consistent. I've missed a couple notes recently via FeedReader. I've not managed to isolate whether it's a feed or aggregator problem. More to follow.

Update: I have uninstalled BottomFeeder, which had previously failed to run properly after one particularly spectacular crash, reinstalled it, and set it up with the feeds for this blog and the comments. It sees everything fine. FeedReader for some reason, not only fails to recognize the order that the items in the XML feed are listed in, it drops some items for mysterious reasons. Pfff. "Alpha."

Update 2: FeedReader appears to have stalled in development. A shame, because it looks so nicely polished, and appears so nicely functional for something that is inexplicably futzing the aggregation of my Comments feed. (Note: ARRRGGgghh!!!!! (...!)). The site's last update was last Septe…

chips ahoy

"It's a little like Fiat marketing its cars while banning them from being driven by non-European citizens or outside towns," the court commented. The Italian case may well have knock-on effects on other products which are available in the country, such as region-locked DVD players - and it may even embolden mod chippers in other European countries with similar laws to press legal cases over the issue.Italian courts have ruled that chipmodding PS2s is legal in Italy. There is a casein Australia contending that it's illegal, and akin to price-fixing. Apparently in Australia, this is already true for PS2 software.

I'm all for users being able to back up their purchased games, think they should not have region-coding and I'm not happy with piracy. Telling every customer that they can only mess with their purchased items in a company-approved way is asinine. This appears to be the main message of a recent Fair Use themed game, Carabella. (via gamespot)


Five minutes ago, a package arrived: a small espresso maker in the Italian, stove-top style. Two minutes ago I completed my first espresso-making operation with it. Long live the new flesh.

for the record

It's not me. And I'm not the East Coast guy who teaches Girls Rowing, either.

feeding trough

Blogger has begun offering their own RSS feed through Atom. I have changed the XML link to the appropriate new file, and I want it to work, but I'm not sure how many aggregators currently support the format. Tim's BottomFeeder (crossplatform) should be fine, but FeedReader (Windows) and NetNewWire Lite (OS X) don't like it a bit. Funny that I wrote and asked Blogger Support about this just days ago; more funny still that the out-of-the-box solution they provide doesn't appear to adhere to a universal standard.

Update: BottomFeeder likes Blogger's Atom feeds just swell. NewsMonster should, too.

One more thought: Blogstreet allows people to make their own feeds for /any/ blog. So if you've got someslacker who hasn't updated with a feed yet, you can use it on theirs.

star trek: eulogy

Yesterday I was finally able to watch Star Trek: Nemesis, the tenth Star Trek movie and ostensibly the last "Next Generation" movie. Simply put: I'm done, and if this is the best that Paramount can muster to continue the Next Gen. property, I hope it is the last movie.

From Star Trek VII: Generations onward, the movies took on the cast of the Next Generation. Despite the best aspects of the series being its ensemble cast working well together, taking turns in the spotlight, and playing off of each other, the movies with the same cast consist of ways to showcase how remarkably clever Captain Picard and Lt. Cmdr. Data are, and what fabulous acting chops the Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner have, respectively. They are remarkably talented, but Trek is at its best and most interesting when the entire group is interacting, and perhaps more importantly, in the way and pace that the characters move in-and-out of the focus of the narrative. Two guys hogging all the screentime i…

more, jenkins

Blog entry by Henry Jenkins discussing the effects of ratings systems in interactive entertainment.I share the group’s belief that M-rated games should not be consumed by children -- not because they increase the likelihood of real world violence (a point of contention) but because they are emotionally disturbing and apt to cause nightmares and because they trivialize the human consequences of violence. Where we might differ would be in the grey area represented by adolescence. Some teens are mature enough to handle more disturbing content, others are not. Adolescence represents a threshold category in our culture and if teens are not given access to some more disturbing content while they still live at home, parents lose the ability to help them adjust to some of the realities of our culture. So, M-rated games should not be consumed by children at all and should be consumed by teens in a home where adults are fully aware of what they are playing and are willing to talk through the is…

state of the union

It is clear that G.W.B. wants to capitalize on the "maybe things are rocky, but you don't switch horses midstream" rhetoric that Michael Moore predicted in Dude, Where's My Country?President Bush, wrapping the themes of his re-election campaign in an upbeat State of the Union address, said Tuesday night that America enjoys a growing economy but is still at war and must not "falter and leave our work unfinished."
After more than two years without a terrorist attack, he said it was tempting but wrong to think the danger had passed.
"Twenty-eight months have passed since Sept. 11, 2001 over two years without an attack on American soil and it is tempting to believe that the danger is behind us. That hope is understandable, comforting and false."
(via ABC) This is less a midstream proposition, as the work that is unfinished is the War on Terror. From the same Moore book, the question is "How do we wage war on a noun?" For the curious,…

low weirdness

BoingBoing's "winners" for Link Fu Too: Shaolin Webmonkey Beatdown have been announced. The world is far stranger than imagined, and it's not just a local-to-Japan phenomenon. I am most wigged-out by the custom fan-art with Stevie Nicks site, because so many people have commissioned them. I just don't understand; would you stay if she promised you heaven? Will you ever win?

God help us all.

PS: Next time I am in a melée, I want to wield these.

illuminated books

other blogs

A group blog for an apartment building in Los Angeles. Apparently guys named Brian are fond of this Blogger template. (via boingboing)BDSM of Japan. It is what it says it is, but it's more of a "hands across the world" approach of a Japanese guy to introduce the English speaking world to the joy of Japanese bondage. For heaven's sake, be wary of sketchy links that are not for the tame (or tasteful). Just enjoy the zen of the language:
There is a wonderful smell in the female leg steamed in boots.
Toes wrapped by the stocking of nylon is very attractive.
Do you like female foot?
Production I.G. of Ghost in the Shell fame has an RSS feed for their project status/press releases. (thanks, M., for the link to the GitS PS2 game, which also lead to this cool site)

the burden of her memories

(via sarah)

of interest

The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century by Paul Krugman has generated the first really intriguing review to come out of Powell's review-a-day service. In Michael Moore's Dude, Where's My Country, the author consistently refers to George W. as "Mr. Bush," instead of "President Bush." I thought this was an effective, but childish way to underline the questionable method through which the he entered into power. After reading this quote:Using Napoleon as a case study, the author analyzes how a "revolutionary power" goes about overturning a stable political system. In short, the revolutionary power rejects the legitimacy of the system in power, but instead of stating this openly to a fickle public, the "revolutionary power" maintains a public façade of support for the current system, while all the while working under the table to undermine it, only coming clean once the change has become irreversible. I got the shakes for …


You're cautious, a bit paranoid. You left the scene for the suburban married life, but somehow, touble seems to follow you and piss on your mornings. You are quick to share your point of view, but have no problems with giving in to the requests of wives and wolves.
Why am i constantly stuck competing with Quentin? (via All Who Wander)

get yer mars on

funny ha-ha, not funny like fish gone bad

Better than the real thing: Playmate bloopers.

Somewhere between "ha-ha" and "bad fish": A Cotton Candy Autopsy(via boingboing)

Warren Ellis rips into GM crops; I laughed repeatedly. Short little machinegun barks and snorting noises -- trés uncool. For the record, I'm against GM crops, the same as I'm against any kind of monoculture. Reliance on them sets us up for incredible problems. A single disease might take out one type of crop; if that is the only type of crop being grown, it all goes away. Lately larger agribusinesses have filled fields with their GM crops, then sued neighboring farms when the GM crop shows up in the neighbor's farm. This seems like me suing my neighbor when I've broken their window with a stray baseball. But the descriptive "granola-crunching hippie who probably lives on rectum-paralysing medication to stop them constantly fountaining a stream of seed-riddled diarrhoea" had me going.

Side note: Covers to Japanese …

boba fatt

tech pearls 2

Hello Brian,
Thanks for writing in. Currently, Blogger does not offer RSS services.
Please be assured that the development team is constantly working hard to release new features and we'll keep your suggestion in mind. I suggest you check back with Blogger real soon!
Best regards, ________.From: "Brian Wanamaker
Subject: RSS feed?
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 05:26:25 -0800
I've read through the help stuff, and all RSS related Support items refer
to BloggerPro features. I would be willing to pay for BloggerPro to get
RSS, but it appears the for-pay BloggerPro option has been discontinued.

How can I get an RSS feed for my blogs?

BrianOh, how I want RSS feed-ing-ness. If anyone wants to keep up with the comments, the XML link is here.

Update: Golly, thanks to Steven K. --

the uncanny valley

Scattershot offers a piece on how all the prettydollies are not real, based on a BBC article. Though it fails to mention the theory (BBC: research, hello?) it immediately got me started thinking about and commenting on the uncanny valley, of course. The concept has fascinated me for a while; previously the frontpage of my site was an explanation of the theory. Simply put, it seems the further CG manages to push the envelope toward realism, the more the autonomous nitpicking function in our heads start to work on it. Not just CG, either. Robots, zombies, dolls; anything that attempts to be humanlike but is not human, has difficulty in somewhat inverse proportion to how nearly successful it has become.

Why is it simpler to evoke an empathic reaction out of a smiley. Why should Munch's "The Scream" have more effect on us than this one? Even this rendering: :-O is more likely to get a response than poor Aki Ross.

yay! it's (kinda) back!

NOJ will be releasing the Famicom -flavored GBA(via gamespot)

recent correspondence

> Thanks for turning me on to the Japan Tribe.
> Specific questions would include:
> 1. How is the climate there?
> 2. Do many people speak English there or is it neccesary to learn Japanese before I leave?
> 3. What did you miss about America while there?
> 4. What didn't you miss?

The climate varies widely based on the region. The wikipedia entry on Japan has a lot of good information about the culture and geopgraphy, but suffice it to say that the north island, Hokkaido gets pretty darned cold in winter, and the south island, Okinawa gets very hot in the summer. Okinawa doesn't get particularly cold in winter, and Hokkaido apparently has a very pleasant summer. The rest of Japan gets actual seasons, with a mild spring and autumn, a hot and humid summer, and a snowy winter. It was a big surprise for me as someone who was raised in southern California. It's nice, though -- it adds a kind of pace to the year, and it feels like time is actually passi…

gone gray

Spalding Gray is missing? This is less weird than worrisome. Spalding is one of the most interesting spoken word performers of our time. He appeared to overcome a tremendously colorful background. He performed at UCSC in 1990 or '91, and I was lucky enough to see him in one of the small theaters in the arts area. He told a story about how he lost his faith; his parents were Christian Scientists, and he initially defaulted to that belief system. One time, as a small child, he was accidently burned by a hot surface, like a radiator. Due to their faith, his parents did not take him for treatment, but instead wrapped the wound and prayed for removal of the "error." In time, the wound became badly infected, and (i think) his teacher took him to see the school nurse. When they unwrapped the wound, the nurse screamed. In that moment, Spalding was overwhelmed with the emotional reaction of a health professional. He realized his parents were going about it all wrong... (via mike)


DPH has a bit on Luis Vuitton bag design by Takashi Murakami. I'm familiar with his work, but haven't put a name to the pieces I'd seen. Check this interview with Murakami for one artist's struggle with the public perception of his obsession.

There was a piece in a model show in Tokyo about 10 years ago, of a robot that looked like a young girl. She was nude, and broken into pieces, obviously having been forcibly destroyed by some malevolent force. Lying there in the snow, dead/deactivated, I read the title: "This is why otaku are hated."

The term is a perjorative here in Japan, with none of the "reclamation" that has occurred for "geek" or "nerd" in the United States. It can only conjure the image of the smeagol-like unwashed, the terminally obsessed. It's a stereotype, and like many stereotypes, it has manifested based on consensual perception of a subgroup. Like any stereotype, it also gracelessly fails to address portio…

a string of unconnected tech pearls (not "pearl tea")

RSS is going to be the next big thing. If you think I'm "so 2003" for making note of this, ask your Mom if she's using it. Nobody outside of the early adopters (in this case, primarily primarily bloggers), knows what it is yet. But they will. All this preamble by way of promoting my current s/w happiness, which is the freeware app (alpha) FeedReader. I'm still hammering away at a couple mid-level UI issues, but so far I like it. Previously NewsMonster was my aggregator of choice, as it is integrated directly into Mozilla.

Wired is running a string of Macintosh articles right now, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Macintosh. They point out that Microsoft has always been a s/w producing ally to Macintosh computers. Of course they're interested in keeping Macs around; who else is going to show them how a GUI should work?

Lastly: Hotmail just sent me this note, letting me know that my account is in danger:Don't let your Hotmail account freeze up!
As a …

cafe: so what?

Just one small example of quiet, charming, high-minded design, combined with reckless abandon for language that makes Japan so charming. Alive in Kyoto also provided some convenient kanji learning tools in a recent post ( and hiragana megane). (via alive in kyoto)

terminator: 2,000,000,000 - teachers: 0

The Governator has lifted US$2,000,000,000from California's education budget in a bid to make sure that young people can only elocute at his level. It may also shore up part of the budget. Good grief; aren't CA schools already in 50th place in the nation? Can they slide any further into Dis?Schwarzenegger's budget plan, set for release Friday, calls for an overall increase of $200 in per-pupil funding but falls far short of the $4 billion that schools could claim under voter-approved funding mandates.Voters say, "Yeah, we're screwed for education; drop another US$4b on them." Governator says, "Try half." Great...To close the remaining gap, Schwarzenegger aides have said, he might propose a number of one-time savings -- such as selling surplus state land and curtailing transportation programs."Surplus state land"? What does that even mean? State land is held in trust for the citizenry, right? Or is this some other use of the term, not refer…

estamos perdadores

When I think of exotic, foreign lands, I tend to think that everyone over there is cooler than where I'm from. Stupid to have the lurking "grass is always greener" syndrome lurking behind something so large. But it's there, and it gets me when I'm not careful.

But people are the same the world over. Not the details, but in broad strokes, we are all very similar, and have the same drives, in the same order: food, shelter, health, leisure. So it shouldn't be as surprising to me as it was to find that clubgoing, quasi-indie youths in Argentina look just as lame as they do in the U.S. I think the kids in the last 2 pix are throwing the Vampire: The Masquerade LARP sign for "I'm invisible!" (Dood, you're so not!) I guess what worries me most is that these kids, as well as the ones in the U.S. have bought into the "alternative" scene as packaged and sold by the RIAA. Slipknot, Korn, Marylin Manson, t-shirts in fantastic representation: …

neuboxen (indrema 2: electric boogaloo?)

Apex has shown its hand in the console wars. Well, not a console. It's a PC... kinda. An MP3-and-CD-and-DVD(-r,-rw,-+)-playing, set-top box that will be aple to play PC games with a feature called "drop-and-play." Patches and such will be handled automagically if the box is recognizes the title. Console companies make their money on the per-game moneys they receive, not the narrow, nearly non-existent margins of the console itself. Where is the profit on this thing? (via gamespot) Note: They Might Be Giants' live album, Extreme Tire Damage is teh awesome.

baby, on board

A set of "baby-on-board" style placards for cars, dealing humorously with the paranoid, terror-riddled, fear-based world that the Bush regime would have us believe it's become:


This is how i usually feel about it.

katharien's dagon

(via DPH)

Fungal Issues Retrospective

(more from K.D. about the stealthtribe-born imaginary band)
Rolling Stone Vidizine Issue #15

"Serious Issues"
- K. D. Bryan shares his thoughts with us on the newly reissued "Use Ointment - The Best of the Fungal Issues"
by Mariannar Trent

I am sitting on a wicker chair, beside a calico kitty, in the middle of a tropical bungalow, across from a legend, below a thatched ceiling, over a river and through some smoke, as I stare openly at the infamously reclusive K.D. Bryan.

My jaw hangs agape and a trickle of drool falls unnoticed as Bryan, now aged 67, prepares for the installation of a SubCue receiver.

His famous intensity does not seem to have been dulled by age. His pupils still stare with the fevered passion seen on the album covers of the mid 00's, his hands seem as powerful as when they beat a man to death with drumsticks for booking the FI's on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, his eyebrow is raised in the same manner it was raised when his famous wedding…



Sometimes when I watch Japanese TV advertisements, I feel like I'm seeing other people's dreams. The moviestars that lend their presence here (though one would be hard pressed to find them on US advertisements, last time I checked), have been a source of amusement back in the U.S. There's Arnie's longish foray into vitamin drink pimping. Sofia Coppola's movie, Lost in Translation uses the gimmick of Four Roses bourbon to get Murray's character to Japan. When I was in Japan in 1993-4, Christopher Lambert and (pre-comeback) Sean Connery were hawking that then. I'm reminded daily that this is a different country, with different values than the U.S. Many times, that's a good thing. Other times, it's not. It's just disturbing to see action stars Jean Reno and Timothy Dalton hawk cigarettes over here. Hey, speak Lark.

other perspectives

Blogwise features a number of blogs (currently 74!) in their Japan category. There are a lot of interesting sites to check; more than I would have predicted. I don't know how I would have ever found Alive in Kyoto without it. Sadly there are a couple double-entry'd, and some that have lapsed into unused. In this latter category, I offer the ass-hattery of Why Japan Sucks, because it used the same blogger template I do, while maintaining a nearly exact-opposite of my attitude. (via I stumbled into, and like Hunkabutta, and though it's not a blog, the vaguely-Japanese-themed Copper has one me over with it's Little Nemo in Slumberland qualities.

never call her name

I feel lucky that I came upon this: "Unlucky people are generally more tense than lucky people, and this anxiety disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected." It seems to confirm what I've held for years, and was nicely quoted in the comments: "Chance favors the prepared mind. -- Pasteur" (Article at BBC via metafilter)

kanashii toki~!

(sad moments)Just as the best evar Lego Pirate Ship is returned to availability, it is lost to sold-outedness.When other sites find coolstuff from the country where I live (and I didn't know about it). (via boingboing and blogger goes south just as I hit the Post&Publish button.Getting MycoplasmicPneumonia before the 2nd crunch project in a row is done, and infecting half my office.Clicking a link, only to find that my dialup connection isn't.Mozilla crashes. These are so few and far between that I feel really... betrayed when it happens.