Category: Tom

Entries by Tom

I Pay for This?

Because it’s the only thing in the bathroom, and I’m a captive audience, I started flipping through the March 2008 issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine. I flipped 8 pages before I found any content. So, for giggles, a started counting the advertisements.

Of the 236 pages that make up the issue, 112 pages are full page advertisements. Of the 124 pages of actual content, 14 of those pages have half page ads on them. That leaves 110 pages of unadulterated content.

Starting on page 115, there are 44 consecutive pages of beautiful content and photography, but it really does seem like a needle in a haystack.

Currently Reading

Sarah tagged me, so I’m therefore obligated to let you all know what I’m currently reading.

I’m in the middle of a couple books right now… I started out reading Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, which has succeeded in stoking my hatred for people. In order to cheer me up, I took a break from that and read through Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, which is much less of a downer than Rand.

Sadly, I don’t know five bloggers to tag them, but I’ll try to make an effort to find a few.

Update: Apparently, I don’t know how to follow simple directions. I was supposed to “open the book you’re currently reading on page 161 and read the fifth sentence on the page, then think of 5 bloggers to tag with”

Here we go… Atlas Shrugged.

“Next time you give a party,” he said, “stick to your own crowd. Don’t invite what you think are my friends. I don’t care to meet them socially.”

I’m not sure if I’m supposed to give an explanation, but the “he” refers to Henry Reardon, the steel industrialist, and one of the protagonists in the book. It’s the end of chapter seven, after Henry’s wife had just thrown a birthday party for him, and purposefully (and spitefully) invited the exact sort of people that she thought Henry should be socializing with, but chose not to. The crowd was made up of people who thought themselves important in society, but (in the eyes of the industrialists) really didn’t amount to anything, i.e. the authors, journalists, philosophers and politicians.

Brave New World is much more mundane.

“Do you have many twins here?”, the Savage asked rather apprehensively, as they set out on the tour of their inspection

“The Savage” is John, and the tour is of a school in this brave new world. John was born in an Indian reservation, and although he was the son of “civilized” people, he spent his life among the savages. He received special permission to leave the reservation and tour the society outside the reservation, and at every turn in thoroughly disgusted by every aspect of it. In this chapter, he is touring the education/indoctrination facilities in the new world, and his question was due to his experience of seeing identical faces on all the lower class workers (gammas, delta, and epsilons), brought about the new technology of Bokanovsky’s Process, where a fertilized egg can be split into different identical people, with the world record being 16,500 identical twins. The identical twins unnerved John, hence his question. However, since they were touring a school for alpha-pluses, there were no twins to be found.

One side note… page 161 is about two-thirds of the way through Brave New World, and a little over one-tenth of the way through Atlas Shrugged.

Chinese Food and the Destruction of the United States

I’m going to lay out a couple of facts here, and then let you in on my latest theory. If true, this dire situation could lead to the destruction of the United States!

  1. Chinese restaurants exist around the United States.
  2. Chinese restaurants have different “formats”, including take out, delivery, and the all-mighty buffet style.
  3. Chinese food tends to be extremely inexpensive, to the point where it defines reason that they could ever make any money.
  4. Chinese food is delicious.
  5. Chinese food is identical around the country. While there are some slight variances on the tastes of different food types, egg foo yong, mu shu pork, General Tso’s chicken, and mu gu gai pan all taste the same whether you’re in New York, California, or anywhere in between.
  6. Despite the previous fact, the Chinese food we have in America does not exist in China. Go over there, and ask for shrimp fried rice and an egg roll, and they’ll look at you like you’re crazy.

Add up all these facts, and the answer, I believe, is both terrifying and obvious.

Chinese restaurants in the United States are subsidized by officials in the Chinese government and the Chinese military in order to make Americans overweight and complacent. It is part of their first strike strategy, so when they do decide to invade the United States, the Americans will be less likely and less able to defend themselves.

Their assault has been ongoing for some time, but with the advent of the cheap Chinese buffet, their plan has gone into full production. It is now only a matter of time before the citizens of the United States will be so fat that we will simply change the channel when we hear about the invasion.

Warn your friends… warn your neighbors… and don’t go back for thirds at the buffet!

The Decline of Western Civilization

Found an editorial in Crisis Magazine, linked off reddit, by Mark Shea called “Insensitivity Training: Facing the Crybaby Culture“. After spending a good amount of time describing some inane, and often unbelievable examples of people whom you would think are getting paid to be offended, he ends with this advice for these whiners.

Consider the possibility that you just need to get a life. Signs of this need include spending all day in a sweat of irritation because religious people exist, hallucinations that you are being raped by classical music, constant convulsive outrage over words like “history” and “master/slave” or “outing,” and a gasping sense of oppression at the thought of urinals. Wigging out over leprechauns and tomahawk chops is another “get a life” indicator. Still other signs include loss of sleep and anger-management issues over presidential greeting cards, cartoons, ice cream lids, and books with pigs in them.

While he does touch on crybabies in the religious world, I think an entire article could have been written about overly sensitive people the church. For a group of people who have been saved by Grace, we tend to be the least gracious people to our fellow wretches.

Different in Japan – An Evolving List

  • Shoes are removed at the front door
  • Windshield wipers both go in the same direction
  • Electric operated shower toilets – plugs into the wall, complete with button panel on the side of the toilet and on the wall. (Statistically, how many people get electrocuted on their shower toilets each year? Inquiring minds want to know…)
  • Japanese style toilets – on the floor – are really common (and not fun IMHO… have used them while 7 months pregnant before!) … but if you look hard in enough in public restrooms, there’s often a western-style toilet way in the back stall.
  • Everything is recycled – even fast food restaurants and subway trashcans have recycling slots (Or, at the bare minimum, “Combustible” and “Non-Combustible” (burnable/not burnable) (So easy to do – why don’t we have this in America?)
  • Vending machines everywhere, for all sorts of items; Hot and Cold beverages from the same machine
  • Driving on the left side – or all over the road and squeezing into little spaces to go around parked vehicles, as there is NO shoulder – also, drivers get really close to people, strollers, etc., and other cars – while traveling pretty fast. I’ll never get used to this!
  • Hot washcloths served just before dinner to wash hands
  • Washer/dryer in one machine (When installed, like the shower toilets, these too are sprinkled with dust from fairies wearing firemen hats – again, can we say “electrocution hazard?” )
  • Many women don’t wear makeup – even business women
  • Women wear stelleto heels like they’re sneakers, and there are shoe repair places at just about every subway stop!
  • I haven’t noticed many low-cut shirts (it’s noticeable when you’re used to western style clothes… don’t realize how normal it is to see cleavage in the US – but I have seen a lot of really short skirts… with knee-high boots, of course)
  • Cost is 2-3x for things compared to the US
  • Diapers are tri-folded in the bags vs. folded in half
  • Scrub first then bathe
  • Auto-fill tub from the kitchen
  • Hot water managed from the kitchen – on demand
  • All the cereal here seems to be some form of muesli or cornflakes
  • Peanut butter is hard to find – and costs about $5 for a tiny jar
  • Shrines and temples everywhere – Americans have to stretch their imaginations to understand the word “idol” or “false god” – not here!
  • Walk on the left side
  • The first day of spring is a holiday
  • Stores have several floors – Elevators in grocery stores help get your and your cart from one floor to the next! Some stores, you pay per floor, others you pay at the end. You have to keep your eyes peeled for a register, just in case it’s a floor with a cashier!
  • Shopping carts are interesting – it’s a cart with a hole for a handy-basket. You fill the basket and then bag at a separate counter after paying.
  • I see more people paying with cash vs. credit/debit cards
  • Little hidden beauty – like pretty man-hole covers on the streets and sidewalks
  • All the shops have flower arrangements out front – little mini gardens
  • Toilets are in a separate room from the bath – so there’s the toilet room and the bathroom. If you tell someone you have to use the bathroom, it’s confusing. That means you have to take a bath. You say, “I need to use the toilet”.
  • To count, you fold your fingers down instead of extend them. I held up four fingers to get four ginger ales and got one drink – only one finger was folded down.
  • People here are night-owls! I love it! A friend from Mitaka Evangelical Church called at like 10pm the other night. We were up, of course! Nothing’s open until 10am around here and church doesn’t start till 10:30am. Boo early birds!
  • The average family has 1.3 children – not only do we stick out because we look different, Tom and I have quite the entourage.
  • Milk is unpasteurized – very creamy in flavor, no matter what percentage of milkfat
  • People believe in spirits of the dead – hence the number of shrines – yet they’re not obviously not afraid of them – manifested in the fact that graveyards, while solemn and quiet, and seen as “spooky” in the US, are a place for picnics, drinking parties, cherry blossom viewing, and events here. There are even food vendors and streets going right through them.
  • Upgrading Ubuntu to Edgy

    Ubuntu 6.10* (a.k.a. Edgy) was released yesterday to great fanfare.

    Edgy is a “minor release”, while their last release, 6.06 (a.k.a. Dapper) is known as a Long Term Support (LTS) release. The LTS releases are “supported for 3 years on the desktop and 5 years on servers.” However, for those of us who like the cutting edge, and the slight pain that goes along with upgrades every new months instead of every few years, Edgy seems to be worth it.

    The biggest additions to Edgy are the release of Firefox 2 (I highly recommend you Windows users download this now.), Gnome 2.16, and OpenOffice 2.0.4.

    Depending on how you look at it, the upgrade was easy, but the only problem I had would have been disastrous for the average user. After running the upgrade steps, for some reason Xorg, the Windows Manager, never loaded. So, I was stuck with a system with no Windows. Thankfully, the fix was a simple command to add to the Xorg package (“aptitude install xserver-xorg”), but I’m sure this would have panicked any home user.

    Oh, well… in their defense, I’ve never seen an easy OS upgrade, even with Windows. So, for anyone in my vicinity, my offer still stands. I will come over and convert your system from Windows to Ubuntu, and support your transition. You have nothing to lose but all the spyware, adware, and viruses that are part of the Windows world.

    * A quick note about version numbers. The pre-dot number is the year the version was released minus 2000 (in the case of Edgy, it’s 2006 – 2000 = 6). The post-dot number is the release month, in this case November. Ubuntu has so far been very committed to their release dates.

    Google Earth on Ubuntu

    GoogleEarthYES!!! Google has released a version of Google Earth for Linux, and it’s currently running on my desktop. So far, it has all the features from the Windows version. Just one less reason to cling to that Windows box. Thanks Google!!!

    BTW, that is a picture of Mt. Fuji. As it’s scheduled right now, Lord willing, I’m planning to see the sunrise from the top of the mountain on August 30, 2006.

    Asides

    By the way, this is what an “aside” looks like. These are where I can put random little musings like the following: During my upcoming trip to Japan in August, I’m planning to hike to the top of Mt. Fuji. Now, I’m a bit worried about trying to get my 300 lb frame to the top of the mountain, but how bad could it be?

    Back in the Game

    I’ve realized that I’ve let my website lie fallow for too long, and it was starting to looking aged. I changed the theme, updated my photo software, and cleaned up some of the other odds and ends.

    While I don’t want to use it as an excuse, work has been extremely busy. I got back from a Tokyo trip this past Tuesday, and I’m scheduling at least two, maybe three more trips by the end of the year. That schedule is, of course, all revolving around the new baby girl that’s scheduled to arrive at the end of September. I’m glad to say that the reason I haven’t been writing is because of the many blessings that God has been giving.

    Yes, hard work is a blessing. The office environment has been difficult, since work has been a bit slow over the last few months. I’m very blessed to have lots of work to do well into next year.

    Anyway, one change I’ve made to this blog is the ability to add minor little additions called “asides” without having to think up grandiose headers for them. Honestly, this feature is perfect for most of the miscellanious links I find around the Internet that I like to share. So, expect more updates with less content. (Who cares what I actually think anyway?)