Showing posts from March, 2004

Lost in Translation

Just got back from a trip, where I stopped over in Tokyo. In some ways, to my admittedly naive mind, Narita Airport seems quintessentially Japanese - you're greeted by a flood of brand names: Hermes, Coach, Burberry... the thing about Narita though is, it's really neat and clean but some of the more basic things seem omitted. For one, it would be nice to have carts to push carry-on luggage in. I know, it's supposed to be light since it's carry-on luggage, but a laptop bag strapped onto a shoulder can weigh you down like a mofo when you're walking around. And I know it's a tiny thing, but it would be nice if the screens showing arrivals and departures also showed Tokyo time, because Lord knows it's really discombobulating to land and not know what time it is and how much time one has to mill. Is it right to judge places and read into their character by their airports? Because I've got a really good impression of Minneapolis...

Supersized? Me?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favour of McDonald's removing super-sized meals. But really, why was anyone surprised by the creeping increase in portion size in the first place? This is a chain whose signature burger is called a Big Mac. (Incidentally, the Big Mac's the worst of their burgers.) And Burger King's is the Whopper. Are people surprised that the fries and Coke expanded accordingly? Now that they're downsizing portions, does that mean we'll see the Adequate Mac and the Whoppling? (Whoppling? Whippet? Whopplet?)

The Rainbow clip

This clip from Rainbow - or more specifically, an insiders' tape of Rainbow , not an episode that was actually broadcast - is hilarious!
What does it mean that 52% of people want Kerry over 44% for Bush, but 52% think that Bush will win ? That American voters all think, we like this guy, but others probably don't? An irrational belief in the strength of Bush's campaign?

Funniest URL

And the funniest website name goes to: for PowerGen Italia , a (no doubt) redoubtable power firm.
A story about a woman who got Chris Rock's old cellphone number . Great stuff.
Janet and Justin half-time dolls !
The Man Who Would Be Tree So today, an old thought kept nagging me: when I was young, I used to go to the National Library on Stamford Road, and I once read a book about a boy who turned into a plant and started photosynthesising. And for the life of me I couldn't remember the title, even though the book obviously made some sort of impression on me. Well, for an 8-year-old, being able to photosynthesise is cool. Some Internet sleuthing has now made me conclude that it's probably Top Secret , by a man named John Reynolds Gardiner. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. Relief. The Internet: always wonderful at answering nagging trivia questions! There's this cute page where a whole 4th grade class writes about the book.
Margin of Error The weird thing about the poll saying that Nader would take 6% - well, besides its inherent unlikely finding; I don't think Nader would really take 6% of all votes when in 2000 he scraped 4% - is that it seems to suggest he's taking the vote from the GOP. Of course, that's more likely a sign of Bush slipping / Kerry rising, but there are other reasons to take the poll with a grain of salt .

Coiffed is such a funny word

Martha Stewart, guilty . I've been tempted to attribute the bad quality of a set of Martha Stewart Living dishes - one of the dishes came out of the box completely smashed - bought at K-Mart to her trial, a sign that something is rotten in the state of Martha Stewart Omnimedia, but rationally I think it's more likely the dishes got bounced badly in the truck or something. The funny thing, incidentally, is that typing "Martha Stewart guilty" on Google brings you a porn site as one of its top choices. (It's the one that's ostensibly - there's no way I'm linking to it and increasing its PageRank) Why? In what way is that what people are searching for when they're looking for news on Martha Stewart? Or is that another giant prank, much like " miserable failure "?

Feet don't fail me now

Caught this piece about Walking to Vermont , the new book by Christopher Wren, the former New York Times foreign correspondent. (Aside: I always liked the name Christopher Wren - besides being the name of one of the great architects of all time , it always sounded like a companion to Christopher Robin of Winnie the Pooh .) Now I'm intrigued. Walking from Point A to Point B is seriously - and I'll play the "I was a travel writer" card here - the best way to see anywhere, even a place you think you know like your home country. I remember the first time I was in New York, I walked up Broadway from Canal Street, where I was staying, past a whole changing world - Union Square, Koreatown, Times Square - to 57th and then across 57th to Madison and up Madison to 96th. It was late at night walking up Madison, the grand stores were all closed but you could still make out their goods in the windows and the Upper East Side had acquired that weird quiet hush it gets - nowhere nea
More Site News So this site is back up and way more active now that it's been converted wholesale into a blog. That, and the Rerun videos are heckuva popular. He's a Cairn terrier, for those of you who were asking. Tech geeks will note that this site actually has an RSS site feed , courtesy of Blogger's deal with Atom, and you can now comment on posts, thanks to Blogkomm . Hey - we were RSS before Slate and Amazon ... or at least that's the impression I get from this Slate article .

Still like him better than Steinbrenner

G ave myself a minor haircut yesterday in a fit of pique and frustration at my sideburns. Shaved off the sideburns, trimmed the long strands at the back. I feel like Mr Burns in the "Homer at the Bat" episode of the Simpsons, seeing sideburns on Don Mattingly where there were none. But I also feel so much neater, and cleaner. The OCD wins, again! Here are photos of the attempt: and two close-ups No one at work commented on my hair, so presumably it's a decent enough job. But you can amuse yourself by comparing my minor cut to this guy's attempt .
Jay-Z Construction Set I really want the Grey Album!
Ooh, was tidying up my site and found my proto-blog - an online collection of thoughts that I maintained pre-Blogger . I love how I actually had to type in the date each time. Hmm. Maybe I should've take the diary idea and developed it, instead of writing a thesis, could've made some money. Speaking of ideas, maybe they should design a cellphone that's easier to use in cars.
This Great Stage of Fools How do I fight the feeling that something ineffable is slipping away, that somehow some energy inside has sapped away, an inevitable casualty to entropy, to ennui? Are there states of entropy? Are there states - nations, countries, cities, places - more entropic than others? Shall nothing come of nothing? Shall I be old before I'm wise? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I heard her pray the night Chicago died Whatever happened to Stealth Disco ? Burnt in a stack at Comiskey Park ? For a while I thought it could be another spark of Net randomness, much like flash mobs . But to keep us entertained, in the self-referential humour of Net life, there's always parodies of Nigerian e-mail scammers , and reports of attempts to bait them . 419s of the world unite.
More Oscar thoughts: Kiwi Polish As I said yesterday, what is this, Commonwealth night? Sure, a big part of that was New Zealand getting thanked, but even the non-LOTR awards fell often to the former colonies: Charlize Theron (she's really tan, no?), the Australian bloke for Master and Commander... And there were Nicole Kidman and Keisha Castle-Hughes, waiting in the wings. Jack Black and Will Ferrell's lyrics to the speech-killer song were great. I love the way "Catherine / Zeta / Jones" scanned in the song. Second-funniest part was Billy Crystal's dead-on Robin Williams impression. As for Ben Stiller's Starsky-and-Hutch sweater gag: he's got better stuff. Sweetest bit of the night was the guy who said "I wrote this to you on a piece of paper when I was 8, and now I'm saying in front of a billion people: I love you". Okay, I'm probably not getting the exact words right, but the sentiment's there. All together now: awww. And F
Site news Those who came here via will notice that this blog is now the front page of the website. It's just a quick nip-and-tuck on the PHP file thus far, so there's bound to be some teething pains. E-mail me for any suggestions. Meanwhile, I can't get that song from School of Rock ("if you wanna be the teacher's pet...") out of my mind, and it's been almost a month since I watched it. Give me 500 words on "Jack Black - why is he so infectious?"

Oscar thoughts

Ah, a clean sweep for P-Jack and the Lord of the Rings crew, with requisite big ups for their homeys in New-Z. And, despite the New York Times calling the win "extraordinary", who would expect otherwise?

The MFA is the New MBA?

A little nugget from the Harvard Business Review: one of their 20 "Breakthrough Ideas" for 2004 is "The MFA is the New MBA" i.e. MBAs are becoming a dime a dozen, while arts grad students are valued for creativity. So there is hope for us aspiring creative-writing types even if we don't write the Great (Insert Nationality Here) Novel? *** Meanwhile, the plan for this blog is that there'll be a nice overhaul of so that the blog takes centre stage and everything spins off from there, so that those of you interested in my published writing or Rerun, the family dog can jump off from this point. We'll see when that can happen.