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A Fast Food Public Service Announcement [Mar. 1st, 2008|09:54 pm]
Fun fact about the menu at Wendy's: the Baconator hamburger sandwich is made of a bun, two quarter pound beef patties, two slices of American cheese, six strips of bacon, mayonnaise, and ketchup. It could easily be called by the alias of "Heart Attack in a Bun." In fact, I think the healthiest thing in that sandwich would have to be the ketchup, because it sure isn't the mayonnaise or the bacon (the beef and the cheese hold marginal positions, and the bun is omitted because it probably has next to no nutritional value anyway).

Another fun fact: the next time you're at Wendy's and short on cash (or at Wendy's in general), instead of ordering a double or triple patty burger, order several burgers off the dollar menu. It's cheaper, and you end up getting more food in the end. For the amount of money it takes to buy a 3/4 pounder hamburger at Wendy's, you can get four double stacks at 99 cents each, and you can get all the usual fixings on the double stacks that you could get on a regular burger. So unless you've got a real hankering for chicken burgers (or even if you do, I think they're on the dollar menu somewhere), the dollar menu is the way to go.

That's about it for the moment. Just thought I'd share all that. I imagine a lot of the people on my f-list don't always have a lot of money (or would rather spend their money on something besides food), so I figured you'd all appreciate a money-saving device for the next time you're at a burger joint.
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漢字 [Mar. 1st, 2008|01:08 am]



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politics [Feb. 11th, 2008|02:44 pm]
So, this last Saturday I went to the Washington state Democratic party caucuses held up at Western's campus and cast my vote for the delegates who will elect other delegates who will elect other delegates still, who will finally, eventually elect the Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States. It was a confusing process, frought with madness and rules lawyering. Ultimately, it was a rather interesting and gratifying process, even if it did take a very long time.

And yet, I feel nervous and introspective, and as I reflect on the events of last Saturday (and the preceding year and a half, or for that matter, the last three years, since I and many others started thinking about the 2008 presidential election as soon as the 2004 election was over)... as I reflect on the events of the foregoing period, I wonder if I cast my vote wisely.

This kind of introspection and second-guessing is nothing new for me, really. It's pretty much standard procedure in everything I do, whether it's taking a trip to Seattle or doing something extremely important. In this case, though, I think a little introspection would not be a bad idea, given that voting is one of the few times people in this country can make their opinions known directly and relatively accurately. Certainly this presidential election is at least as if not more important than the last two.

In a nutshell, my dilemma is, which Democratic candidate do I want to be president? It is not such a clear question as it seems. Both candidates have some degree of merit to them, and both of them have traits that make me want to never have anything to do with them. Barack Obama, as my friend Justin pointed out, hsa been rather vague on specifics, arguably in the same way that Woodrow Wilson was in 1912. He is probably the only person in the Senate who has appeared on a stage with both Bernie Sanders (an independent socialist) and Joe Lieberman (an I-can't-believe-he's-not-Republican Democrat). Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing I am not sure. One of Obama's greatest traits is that, more than anyone else in politics today, he seems to be a conciliator, the type of man who can get a bunch of people who don't like him to actually listen to him, and the type of man who can get a bunch of people who disagree to come up with something they can agree on. As much as people say he is inexperienced, he really isn't, no more than anyone else. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has served eight years in the US Senate (you can argue that her years as Bill Clinton's wife count, but her role was entirely informal then). John Edwards served only one term in the Senate. Obama, by contrast, has served four years in the US Senate and eight years prior in the Illinois State Legislature. In any event, it matters little; all of them have spent less time in public office than John McCain, the presumed Republican nominee.

Then we have Hillary Clinton. My impressions of Clinton have not been favorable, for someone who grew up in the 90s. My perception of her is that she is an equivocator, something of a coward, and someone who is willing to renegotiate everything she supposedly stands for. The clincher, for me, was the fact that she not only voted to invade Iraq (which even at the time was a sketchy premise) but has never apologized for making that mistake. And a mistake it was. Clinton can talk all she likes about establishing a universal health care system (ha ha), but that system could have been built and funded many times over with the money the US has pissed away in Iraq. Personally, I would rather be $9 trillion in debt and have socialized medicine than be $9 trillion in debt, stuck occupying a distant country, with the consequence of everybody hating your guts. And yet, somehow, in spite of all this, Hillary Clinton is perceived in some quarters as more reliable than Obama. For some reason which I do not entirely understand, she is getting the blue collar vote and the Hispanic vote and the women's vote in droves.

And then there is the matter of the process of the nomination. Paul Krugman, a man whose opinion I generally respect, wrote today in the New York Times op-ed page that he preferred Clinton to Obama, but that he nonetheless thought both would be fine candidates. However, what he was disturbed by was the tendency of supporters of one candidate to not wish to support the other should the other be nominated. He observes this mostly among Obama supporters. I must admit this is true to some extent in my case. While I would probably vote for Clinton were she nominated, it would feel like swallowing medicine, and I do not particularly trust her. Krugman also feels that the Obama "movement" is becoming a cult of personality. He is not the first person to make this charge, and I wonder at times if there is some truth to it. For myself, I will say that I am hungry for a hero, a person who will rule justly and wisely. I feel that this country has not had such a person in a very long time, and that it needs such people, not only in the presidency, but in as many positions in the government as possible.

And yet, a part of me also feels that politicians shouldn't have to be heroes. The age of heroes, for good or ill, seems to be over. They're the kind of people you read about in novels and history books or play as in videogames and tabletop RPGs. They're not the kind of people that get elected to public office, or if they are, it seems to be very rare.

I will probably be going through this back-and-forth with myself for the next several months. I will say that Mr. Krugman is right on one point: the Clinton hating should drop down. Obama, if he wins, should win on his own merits. He should win he was truly better, not because Clinton was worse.

Treat others as you would wish to be treated... it's an old adage, but I'd say it's still true.

For the record, I have been and for the foreseeable future will be supporting Obama, on the grounds that he actually seems to think instead of following prepackaged policy scripts, and on the related note that he seems far more genuine. This is not to say I still do not have my doubts, but for now, he's my candidate. And, if push comes to shove, I would almost certainly vote for Clinton in the general election.
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Now for something fun! [Jan. 25th, 2008|11:51 pm]
So here's a variation on a meme I've seen floating around on LJ. I'm going to list the first few lines of my favorite ten or so songs, instead of the ten that show up on a random selection off of my iTunes. See if you can guess what they are!

01. "I never really feel quite right / I don't know why, all I know is something's wrong / every time I look at you you seem so alive / tell me how do you do it / walk me through it / I'm following every footstep."
02. "As I was going over the far-famed Kerry mountains / I met with Captain Farrell and his money he was counting / I first produced my pistol and I then produced my rapier / said 'stand and deliver, for you are a bold deceiver!'"
03. "Yozora o miage hitori / houkiboshi o mita no / isshun de hajikete wa / kiete shimatta kedo / anata no koto omou to / mune ga itaku naru no / ima sugu aitai yo / dakedo sora wa tobenai kara"
04. "I like big butts and I cannot lie / you other brothers can't deny / that when a girl walks in with a itty-bitty waist / and a ROUND thing in your face / I get sprung!"
05. "Goku tama ni, boku tama ni / yume ni yabureru hito no kakera ga / yama no you ni mieru / kami-sama ni, hotoke-sama ni / sugari naiteru hito no kakera ga / yama no you ni mieru"
06. "Akaku nijimu taiyou wa subete o / terashitekita ima mo mukashi mo / kono yuuyami ni egaiteru souzou wa / hatashite kono te ni oenai mono na no ka"
07. "So one two three take my hand and come with me because you look so fine that I really wanna make you mine / I said you look so fine that I really wanna make you mine / oh four five six come on and get your kicks now you don't need the money when you look like that do ya honey?"
08. "Cultivate your hunger before you idealize. Motivate your anger to make them all realize. Climbing the mountain, never coming down. Break into the contents, never falling down.
09. "Kirameite yurameite aoki yume maihanatsu Hana moeyuku"
10. "I'm lying in bed, I'm in room 26, thinking on things that I've done Like drinking with squadies and bulling my boots, I'm counting the medals I've won."

There, I actually came up with ten of them! Guess names and artists. Have fun!
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Snatch [Jan. 22nd, 2008|12:28 am]
*in British accent* "I fucking hate Pikeys!"

I actually do not hate Pikeys, or the Irish Travellers as they are more commonly known. This is merely a reference to Guy Ritchie's 2000 film "Snatch." It is awesome. Everybody should see it. It is a kick in the goddamn pants. The characters in it are brilliant, like an Englishman named "Turkish" who promotes underground boxing, a sweet-talking, tattoo-sporting Irish Traveller, and a crazy goddamn Russian arms dealer.

This isn't much of a review, because I'm tired right now. I'll just say that it's an awesome movie. And I recommend it wholeheartedly. It is very funny, in a somewhat macabre sort of way. Well worth watching.
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Roleplay fun [Dec. 26th, 2007|06:54 pm]
We just played through most of the dungeon of "The Sons of Gruumsh" today. We were playing for something like seven or eight hours. It was great fun.

There were a couple of golden lines, like:

The Ghael Eladrin (an elf celestial): "Come and meet your doom, you foul pig-faced halfmen!" (referring to the orcs)

The half-elf Paladin: "May the Loyal Fury guide my hands against your orcish devilry!" (right before he used smite on the boss)

Just sharing. :D

To explain the references... the game takes place in the world of Faerun, aka the Forgotten Realms. "Pig-faced halfmen" refers to the fact that orcs in D&D are frequently described as having faces that look like somewhat like pigs. "The Loyal Fury" is a name given to Torm, god of duty, loyalty, obedience, and paladins. My character is a devotee of his.
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Street Fighter IV and Chun-li [Dec. 25th, 2007|03:39 pm]
SFIV is coming out soon... and Chun-li's thighs are still safe. They are still the same huge, thick, lovely, voluminous thighs that she had back in Street Fighter II.

As a Chun-li fan, and a fan of Chun-li's thighs, this makes me happy. Only problem now is figuring out which platform SFIV is going to be on...

Still though... Chun-li's thighs are serious business, man!

Hah, and the comments are hilarious...

"I would not be surprised if thighs are the new boobs!" Agreed! At the very least, they work on Chun-li.

Hmm... I wonder if the fact that I'm agreeing with all of this should bother me... heh, probably not. I gave up being sane a while ago.
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Merry Christmas! [Dec. 24th, 2007|10:20 pm]
As it is a little after 10 PM here on the Pacific coast, and many of you are already in/past Christmas day, I wanted to wish you all a merry Christmas. I wish you all the best of everything as the year draws to a close and the new one is about to begin. I wish you all happiness, and hope that your new beginnings go well. This is, after all, a time of renewal. The world (at least north of the equator) is at its coldest now, and the days are short, but now the days begin to grow longer again... and for those who live south of the equator, you guys have cooler weather to look forward to, though from what you've said you'll enjoy it ;)

Anyway, I wish you all a merry Christmas, and all the best in the New Year!

Fröhliche Weihnachten, und alles gut gewünscht.

メリ クリスマス! 青春の日をおめでとう!

Heh, it's probably not "omedetou," but whatever! I feel happy and sentimental! It is Christmas! Tell someone you love them and care about them! Give a gift, even if it's something little!

EDIT: It occurs to me that what I wrote wasn't the word for New Year's at all. That's 新春、 shinshuu, literally "new spring." What I wrote was 青春、seishun, Maito Gai's infamous phrase for "springtime of youth!"

Well... on second though, congratulating people on their springtime of youth is a good thing too... :D
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Win [Dec. 19th, 2007|01:36 pm]
[music |black betty by ram jam]

Well, all results are now in. I received a C in Japanese 201, a B in German 401, and an A in Professor Wright's ancient Japanese history course, as well as a passing grade in the Kanji course. This leaves me with an overall gpa for the quarter of 3.0. Not my best ever, but I am happy with it. Things could certainly have gone better in Japanese, but all things considered I think everything went well.

On another note, minako134 got me a Christmas present. It is sometimes amazing how well people understand me. Then again, in her case, I shouldn't be too surprised, since we share many of the same "vices." :D

Man's Ruin: Geek Culture by *spacecoyote on deviantART

Hmm, I do believe all of those things have a little bit of my soul. Computers, check... children's card games (XD), check, somewhat... video games, check, somewhat... gaming, major check!... caffeinated sodas (Mountain Dew and Pepsi, I'm looking at you!), uber check... catgirls in bikinis... do you honestly need to ask?
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ぼくがかつ! I win! [Dec. 14th, 2007|03:21 pm]
Well, it is done, finally. I have completed all of my final exams and projects for this quarter. I think I even did well on them, and maybe even better than well. Even after three years at this I can't really predict what I did well on and what I crashed and burned at, but I am sure I passed the Kanji class. It took retakes on several of the quizzes, but I did it. I even passed the final exam for that class, and the last two quizzes I needed to retake, on the first try. That really made me happy.

The Japanese 201 final went well too. I smoked the kanji and dictation sections, and I think I got most of the grammar section all right. I can say with a fair degree of certainty that I can construct keigo sentences now, in both exalting and humble forms... but whether I can remember the exact circumstance in which I need to use this or that form is another matter entirely. I also know the giving and receiving verbs better than I did the first time I was tested on them... I think I got that part alright. I'll find out next Thursday at the latest... and it probably will be then too, unless Professor Deguchi was really quick about grading them. He might have been for all I know... he said something about going to Japan for a visit over break.

And then, last of all, there was Ancient Japanese History with Professor Diana Wright. Professor Wright is well known for being a hard ass, but curiously I've never had problems with her. While she can be a hard ass, it's not usually in a way that bothers me. However, her standards are very high, so I was nervous about the exam. I think I did well on it, but again, I'll know for sure sometime next week.

Slightly related piece of news: the film Eijanaika by Shohei Imamura is awesome, crazy, and made of win. It is a fun show. It's got its depressing moments, but the rest of it is so funny that it more than makes up for it. Heartily recommended.

Question to the world at large... what happened to Radioblogclub? I went to what I thought was their website today to listen to music, and I got some page that didn't look right. Have they been bought out or shut down or something? What happened? I want my free online music!


Also, what with one thing and another, I am beginning to doubt whether I'll be able to go to Japan on study abroad this spring. I still intend to go, one way or another... so in the end I will probably spend the same amount, just in different places. I dunno, it kinda bothers me that I dropped the ball on this one. I'll try and see if I can still get over there in spring, but given that the official deadline was November 1st, and that there was a lot of important stuff that needed to be turned in then that I didn't realize I needed to turn in until the 29th or so (yay for not checking e-mail accounts + e-mails from universities going into junkmail... wtf really?!)... I am just doubtful that it is still possible at this point. It really does make me sad. I had been having second thoughts about it earlier on in the quarter, but by the time I put the application in I had decided I would go for it, and I would be happy with the result whether I got in or not. It's not like I'll be suffering horribly if I just spend the month of June in Japan instead of spring quarter and June and July... it's just the idea of not getting in for such trivial reasons that rankles me. Anyway, enough whining. Time to start acting. I'll check around over the break and at the start of next quarter, before I start feeling ridiculously busy and overworked for a change. And I will tell myself that it's okay if I don't go. A lot of people who are interested in Japan don't spend a quarter of college there. It would be a good experience, but ultimately I can get that experience in other ways. Like graduate school. Hey, there's a mildly intimidating notion... if he weren't so serious my dad would laugh in my face if I said I wanted to get a Masters in history or anthropology or something like that in Japan. But anyhow, that's a decision that's still miles down the road. I cannot plan my whole life out down to a T, after all. At best I can have a general idea of what I want to be doing with my life, and go in that direction. Yeah, I know, "no kidding pal," but it's sometimes hard to make yourself believe this things, especially when you were brought up with the idea of "you work for a company for forty years, you get a gold watch and a pension, and you retire." That's rather boring, and the only way you can do that nowadays pretty much is to work in civil service.

So yeah... weird stuff happening, still enjoying the same kind of life I've been living since I started going to college. After one quarter off campus, I can say that it feels more difficult than living on campus, yet it does have its fine points.

Also, I've been feeling on the verge of some kind of change lately. What exactly it is, who knows... it's just that for a while now I feel as though I've been desperately trying to avoid change, even though I know that to not change is impossible. Hmm. It is sometimes very difficult to accept yourself as you are, to be able to be completely honest with yourself and say, "these are my good points, these are my flaws, they are both a part of me, and I accept all of them." It is very paradoxical that you first have to accept what you don't like about yourself if you want to have any chance of changing it... and, so I'm told, once you've accepted whatever it is, most of the problems associated with it go away anyway.
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