spew - what is it?
more spew
This is where I go to get things off my chest every now and then. For those of you familiar with my old rantings, this is basically the same thing, 'cept maybe a tad more risqué since I won't mince on cussing. ;-p But don't worry, I won't spit out shit for no reason. For those of you who've never been to my pages before, this section is here for me to make comments (mostly educated, sometimes not) about things that I've observed in my life and also just to keep my friends up to date with what I've been doing. Keep in mind that anything you read on here is pure opinion which might not jive with your own view of the world. If that's the case, friendly messages espousing your own views are welcome but flames will be cruelly mocked. So, without further ado.... > Current Spew
> A newcomer...
> Life goes on...
> Bend in the road...
> Life in slow mo...
> Strange times...
> Unemployment Blues...
> Slowing down...
> Time Flies...
> Frivolous Thoughts
> Catching Up...
> Life as Usual...
> Changes in the Air
> Words Cannot Convey
> Almost a Revelation
> A Whole New World
> Beginning of a New Era
> Millenium Revisited
> Sticks & Stones
> New Millenium!
> Karaoke Madness!
> Conspiracy Theory

web hitokiri.com
Feb. 14, 2003 - Who reads anymore?

Hey all, just a weekly update this time around. Boring stuff first, the road to my Sun Certified Programmer for Java 2 Platform certification is proceeding slowly but surely. Four more chapters left in this kickass study guide. Hopefully I'll be certified by the end of this month or in early March. Then it's either a sidetrack to a quick Microsoft Certified Professional exam or forging on to the Sun Certified Web Component Developer for J2EE Platform. Of course, all of this ('cept for maybe the Prog Cert) will be derailed if I actually land a job. Otherwise it's just busy work to pass the time. But at least the results will be worthwhile (hopefully ;-p).

On the entertainment side of things, Fe and Suzanne were kind enough to let me borrow two books: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami and Stupid White Men ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation by Michael Moore. Norwegian Wood was _fan-tastic_. Plus it's possibly the easiest of all Murakami books to read so for those of you who haven't read any Murakami before, Wood is a good place to start. Although you won't get the full warped reality effect that is so Murakami. But the other trademarks are there, like his incessant fascination with death, frustrating character relationships, and never actually giving us a conclusive ending to his story. I even went and downloaded the Beatles song that the book was named for. The female lead in the book thought it was an incredibly sad song (melody-wise at least). I dunno, I guess I got the wrong mix cause it didn't sound _that_ depressing to me. But anyways, the book was great, highly recommended. Currently I'm looking for the Alfred Birnbaum translation of it because apparently the "people in the know" believe that the current Jay Rubin translation is a travesty of justice. =p Unfortunately the Birnbaum books were printed in 1989 for sale only in Japan cause it was used as student textbooks. So I'm having the fine people at JList keeping an eye out for me.

While Norwegian Wood was great in a melancholy way, Stupid White Men was great in an instigating way. I can't understand how _anyone_ can read the first 1 or 2 chapters and not be offended by the way Bushie Jr. got to where he is today. Absolutely mindboggling. But Moore isn't just a partisan Republican basher. He slams the Democrats just as much so of course it shouldn't surprise anyone that he voted for the Green Party during the last elections. And after reading this book he almost has me convinced that I should have too. Or at least I should from now on. Basically his point is that there fundamentally is no difference between the 2 major political parties in the US today. This is probably not news to some people out there and to a degree it wasn't news to me either but after the details in this book, I've become more pessimistic that the current batch of Dems can get their act together. Neither party has the country's best interest at heart, both owe too much to big business. The only difference is that the Democrats still pay lip service to the liberal values that _used_ to be their core while obviously the Republicans don't even do that. So as Moore succinctly puts it, "Do you want to get fucked by someone who tells you they're going to fuck you, or do you want to get fucked by someone who lies to you, and then fucks you?" Of course, I don't think anyone would really want to get fucked at all but apparently most people think that's not an option in politics. Anyways, political analyst I am not so I'll leave it at that. But if you happen to ever find yourself perusing through the local B&N or Borders or whatnot, pick up this book and just read the first chapter. It's about 28 pages. Easy reading. Read it, come back and tell me you don't care a wit about what happened. You cold-hearted bastard. ;-p

Anyways, to complete this entry, the weird movie title and phrase of the week belongs to the Indian movie poster I saw prominently displayed in an Indian movie rental storefront (while I was making my way through the Indian section of Jersey City). Sensual poster of a man and a woman: "Jism - The Dark Side of Desire." For once I can say, "Those wacky Indians." And for those of you who are computer science people (moreso if you're open source), please, _please_ tell me that THIS is a joke! ;-)

Feb. 2, 2003 - This and that...

Happy New Year (again) all! 'tis the year of the sheep. Hope everyone has been doing well. Went out to Flushing on Saturday cause my mom wanted to do some oldies DVD shopping at the Flushing Mall. They had the full Chinese New Year festivities going on with performances and such. And I swear, if I see another martial arts performance using the Wong Fei Hong theme from the Once Upon a Time in China series again, I will destroy their sound system. It's been over a decade already man, FIND ANOTHER THEME SONG!!! Egads. But I was able to find a pirated, region-free DVD of "My Sassy Girl" that had English subtitles so I'm happy. =)

Since I was basically net-less from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening, I missed the whole Columbia story until late. Was wondering what the radio announcer was talking about on the drive home when he said that flags were at half mast for the space shuttle. Such a tragedy. Of course, one of the first article titles I had to see on Yahoo was Iraqis Call Shuttle Disaster God's Vengeance which just bothered me to no end. Obviously they're not gonna be winning any more sympathizers to their cause with that one. I just dislike it when people invoke God for any ol' asinine reason. Makes me just want to travel to Iraq, kick the shit out of the government employee quoted in that article and say, "Allah told me to come here and beat the hell out of you. How do you like Allah now? Beeee-atch!" Clearly I need to work out some issues. ;-p But anyways, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the militant Muslims saw this as a sign from whoever that their cause is just. Since who did you have as the crew of the Columbia? A bunch of stinkin' Americans, an Israeli and an Indian; all current mortal enemies. I mean c'mon, how much clearer of a sign do you really need? Throw in a couple of pigs and they'd practically be invading us. =p

But I do hope that the space program doesn't get kiboshed because of this. Frankly I'm surprised that NASA has only had these 2 disasters in the past what, 17 years? It's a tough field they're in especially with their budget being slashed every year so it's unfortunate that when something goes wrong, no one cares about all the things that have gone right in the past and the inherent dangers in the field and just focuses on finding something or someone to blame. I mean when you're dealing with speeds 16 times the speed of sound, there's really not too much anyone can do about it when something goes FUBAR no matter how well-thought out the plan. Besides, how many of us have really given a rats ass about the space program until yesterday anyway? I remember when the first space shuttle launched those many years ago. Huge news. Glued to the tv, no one had seen anything much like it. But as the years went by, the space shuttle missions became rather routine and the public didn't really care anymore. Until the Challenger blew up. That was a first. But then nothing again for the next almost 2 decades. The space shuttle fleet needs a revamp anyway. I mean I don't think there's been any major modifications to the thing since it first came out. Besides, space really is the "final frontier." Since Earth's going to hell in a handbasket anyway we might as well try to find a way off it asap. ;-p Of course that's never gonna happen while ol' Bushie Jr's giving the country a record deficit and defense budget. Yay!

On the other side of the Pacific, China's getting ready to send their first man into orbit. You can rest assured that if that thing blows up it's not gonna faze them one bit. Manpower is the one thing China's got going for it. Sure there'll be finger-pointing and someone fired but they're not gonna waste too much time on it. Plus they're getting what could amount to be a pretty significant jump in the biomed field. While the US and the Europeans are hemming and hawing and banning stem cell research, the apparently morally and spiritually disadvantaged Chinese have jumped all over that wagon. Chinese-American scientists are moving back to China to further their research since the Chinese universities there are building entire buildings for them and supplying them with a limitless supply of graduate students, among other things. Ever the pragmatists, they find such questions as "aren't you afraid that people will clone themselves? Or Hitler? Or the New Kids on the Block?" hilarious. For people who have been struggling with an overpopulation problem for decades, they have trouble grasping the rationale of why anyone would _want_ to clone themselves. So the next few decades'll be quite interesting to see how the US government runs the economy and any existing technical advantage the US has into the ground while China struggles to catch up and overtake.

Hmmm, bureaucracy and the Bush administration never cease to amaze me. Yesterday, Paul brought to my attention a peculiar revision contained in Bush's current "economic stimulus" package where basically if you buy a top-of-the-line Hummer for "business purposes" at a little over $100k, you get to deduct almost $90k from your taxes. Hmmm.... this could explain why I've seen a ton of these things around Morris County lately. Republican bastion of North Jersey and all.

Anyways, that's enough of that for now. Time for dinner! =) Mmm, manicotti....

Jan. 24, 2003 - Tired of bummin' around...

Ugh, as I feared, the job market in the tri-state area's pretty much shot to hell these days. Unless you're a senior programmer with years of experience in the financial industry. Then you pretty much can do what you will. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those and there aren't any opportunities out there to even _help_ me become one of those so things are starting to look grim. I am pretty pissed that I had to turn down an interview offer at Pepsi though cause it was just too freakin' far away. Having to commute 100 miles a day would not have been a fun experience especially since part of my commute would be going up and down the West Side Highway. But Pepsi man. Shit, why the hell do they have to have their offices up near the NY/CT border? Then I turned down another interview cause it was only a 3-4 month contract with no option to hire. Plus the pay was a tad on the low side. Wasn't worth meandering to the NJ/NY border every day for. I have a feeling though that I'm going to have to stop being so picky. But at least for the next few weeks I can still afford to be. ;-p

So with all this free time I have, I've been watching a bunch of romantic comedy anime and movies. Not really by choice, just kinda happened. First off, June was nice enough to get me the His and Her Circumstances Vol. 1 DVD. Been out of the anime scene for quite awhile but I routinely get updates from Erick and HHC was pretty hyped. And it definitely does not disappoint. Despite being kinda corny on the surface level, them guys at Gainax sure know how to work them themes. They did a great job of making you feel the thrills and chills of being in a new relationship. Waxing nostalgic is something I have plenty of time to do these days. =p And they crammed 6 half-hour episodes onto 1 DVD which is almost unheard of in this day and age so you do get your money's worth with this disc. But if you liked Marmalade Boy and Fushigi and all that shoujo nonsense, you're guaranteed to love this.

Next, I had Erin bring back the unofficial Hong Kong DVDs of the entire Maison Ikkoku set. 96 episodes crammed onto 10 DVDs. For $63 I can now get rid of those MI VHS fansubs that have been collecting dust on my shelves at home. Or can I.....? The packaging is actually quite nice. The silkscreens on the discs themselves are great. The video quality is acceptable. I don't think it's exactly regular DVD quality but it's not horrendous either. Sound is fine as well. Unfortunately, everything else is kinda iffy. The subbing is a little strange cause I recognize some lines from my fansubs but others are different. They do miss some lines here and there. Plus they don't sub the OP/EP songs _or_ each episode title which is a pain (moreso the episode title). The worst thing though is that the timing slips for some reason. As far as I can tell, the timing is fine for the first half of each episode but after you hit the middle break, the subtitles start showing up like 1 line too soon. It's ok if you've already seen the show but I can see how newbies can get really confused. So maybe I'll keep my fansubs around a little longer. At least until I need more shelf space. ;-p

And finally, Erin also brought back a VCD of a Korean romantic comedy that came out in 2001 called "My Sassy Girl." Unfortunately it was in Korean with Chinese subtitles so she had to verbally translate any long sentences that I couldn't quite understand for me. Fortunately you can get a DVD version of it with English subtitles here. Unfortunately, it's Region 3 so you'll need a region free DVD player. Of course, if you understand Korean or Chinese, then you can just go and pick up a VCD from your local Koreatown or Chinatown. But it's a pretty funny movie although it does kinda drag a bit towards the end. And the main actress is pretty hot. Except for when you first see her in the film where she's shit-faced. Plus apparently it's based off of a series of true stories that were posted on the Internet (in Korean obviously). But it's worth checking out if you happen to come across it.

Few days back I was notified at Adam Tow's site of an upcoming appearance on the Letterman Show by Vienna Teng. Vienna's a Bay Area musician who Adam and Eric Cheng have been praising for quite a while now. So to see what the hype was all about, I decided to tune in. She's actually quite good, especially if you're into mellow music with nice piano accompaniment. You can check out her CD at Amazon. Hey, 25 five star reviews out of 26 ain't bad at all. Plus the CD itself is actually reasonably priced.

Oh, and I'm sad to see that one of my favorite content sites, Salon.com has apparently finally gone all subscription fee based. They were free for awhile, then they went to a subscription option for some of their articles. And now it seems like it's all fee-based. Inevitable I suppose. But at least they still have that free one-day pass that you can get as long as you sit through a Mercedes-Benz Flash commercial.

And for those of us who scoffed at the GiveBoobs site that I mentioned in my last entry, she's now up to $3067.69. Yowza. I wonder if the same people who contribute also give to charities? =p


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