April 2008

Either they got me, ...

…or they picked the wrong day to announce this:

From: PizzaHut@getmore.emailpizzahut.com
Subject: Pizza Hut is now Pasta Hut!

Our new Tuscani Pastas are so good, we decided to change our name to Pasta Hut. Try both delicious flavors - Meaty Marinara or Creamy Chicken Alfredo.

Finally, restaurant quality pasta delivered right to your door! Feeds 4 and comes with 5 breadsticks for only $11.99. Dinner’s done!

They updated the web site, too, but I’ve seen that trick before!

[Update: their web site is still Pasta Hut, so it was just their total lack of awareness that “April 1” means something other than “beginning of new fiscal quarter”, especially on the Internet]

Context is everything, lesson #23

The word for the day is “fungai”. If you search a dictionary, you’ll find it written as 憤慨 = resent + lament = “indignation or resentment”. My shiny new copy of Kenkyusha’s Bilingual Dictionary of Japanese Cultural Terms has another: 糞害 = feces + harm = “problems with damage caused by bird droppings”.

In our parking lot at work, there are several spaces that Spring has rendered unusable due to fungai over fungai.

R+V: in case you still cared, ...

[Update: holy crap, they’re doing a second season. WTF?

… Okay, having followed the scavenger-hunt instructions on ANN, the only verifiable fact in their story is this line on the next-to-last page of the just-released chapter of the manga: 「TVアニメ2S制作決定!!」, which does in fact say “tv anime #2S production decision!!”. Their “announcement” link just goes to the publisher’s flash-based home page, which doesn’t seem to mention this. I’m wondering if it’s just obsolete news based on the publishing cycle of a monthly magazine.]

[Update: nothing on the anime’s staff blog, but there’s a similar one-liner on their news page. Also, a lot more merchandise, including an original novel, a school uniform, and a special edition of the DS game that comes with an original comic. Again, WTF?]

Out of morbid curiosity, I downloaded episode 13. Pretty thorough spoilers follow:


Random notes

  1. Pizza Hut's new meat pasta is pretty good. I'll be eating it for another two days, since they only deliver a family-size portion with breadsticks, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
  2. I always thought the name "Rune Soldier" was an invention of the team who translated the anime for the US market, since "Magic Soldier Louie" sounded too similar to "Magic Knight Rayearth" and similar series. Nope, page six of the first novel glosses 魔法戦士 as ルーンソルジャー. Pity, really, since the change ruined a decent joke in episode 18.
  3. Constructs of the form AたるB, where both A and B are nouns, are a bit of grammar that's hard to find a good explanation for in English. Historically, there were three different conjugations for adjectives, but for the most part only the -i and -na types still exist; there are only a handful of true -taru adjectives in modern Japanese. This does not stop people from occasionally attaching -taru to a noun to make an "A-looking B" or "A-like B" expression.
  4. Speaking of -taru adjectives, I find this one charming: 死屍累々. Shishiruirui, it's like the "que sera sera" of carnage. I don't think I'll ever be able to sing the correct lyrics to that song again.
  5. Speaking of songs we'll never be able to sing correctly again...
  6. Nobody ever told me that Pixel Maritan had a webcomic.
  7. On a vaguely related note, the trading figures for Moe yo! Tank School are, um, interesting.
  8. And while we're following dirty links at Amazon Japan, I can see where the artist was going with this covergirl from MC Akushizu ("the hyper bishoujo military magazine"), but, anatomically speaking, he made a wrong turn.

Safari Cookies

Safari now uses a completely different method of storing cookies, which unfortunately means that the only decent management tool I ever found, Cocoa Cookies, doesn’t work any more.

So I rolled my own:

(/usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c print
~/Library/Cookies/Cookies.plist |
awk '/Domain = / {x++;print x-1,$0}' |
awk '!/mee.nu|amazon/{print $1}' |
sort -rn | sed -e 's/^/delete :/';
echo save;echo quit) |

Note that you really don’t want to run this as-is, and probably want something more robust than a shell one-liner anyway. The bits that matter are:

  1. run "/usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c print" to dump all your cookies in an easily-parsed format.
  2. The array of cookies is zero-based.
  3. The array shrinks as you delete things from it with "delete :N", so you want to start at the end and work forward.
  4. The original file isn't altered until you send a "save".
  5. Safari seems to write this file out whenever you get a cookie, and notices when it's changed on disk.

Still got some life in her...

Ai Kago returns

After the second time she was caught behaving like a typical girl her age, Hello!Project broke Ai Kago’s contract, and she dropped out of sight. Apart from an alleged sighting in New York City and the claim that her mother would pose nude for a photobook, she’s managed to stay invisible for the past year.

…until yesterday, when a six-part interview started appearing on a Japanese news site, which was promptly pounded into the ground by the traffic. Her new publicist has also created a stub of a fan club site, promising real content soon.

Naturally, Hello!Online is all over this one.

Dear Microsoft,

When I turn on Japanese support in Word, that means that I want to enable features like vertical text and kanji grid spacing. It does not mean that I want to format all new documents for A4 paper.

While we’re on that subject, thank you for changing the Language Register application into something that you run in Office 2008, and no longer something that you drag other Office apps onto, as in previous versions. Also, thanks for no longer switching the input method from English to Kotoeri every time I launch Word; that was always a real pain in the ass.

"...in a 200km radius"

In today’s Megatokyo strip, the Tokyo Police Cataclysm Division learns of a previously-unknown Magical Girl (whose power level and mood are identified with the coolest Fluke meter in the known universe). She’s powerful, and she’s near meltdown, so Inspector Sonoda gives the order to evacuate every building in a 200 kilometer radius.

Just for amusement, I drew that out in Google Earth, and that covers the entire Kantō region of Japan, with room to spare. So, unless it’s a typo and he meant meters, this MG is an imminent threat to over 40 million people.

I suspect her first move will involve Tokyo Tower…

Dear Apple,

Why does plugging in an external drive that’s explicitly marked “do not index” cause the indexing service to take over the CPU for more than a minute?

Konno's Proudest Moment

Asami Konno joined Morning Musume as a baby-faced 14-year-old, and after five years, put her career on hold to go to college. She later decided that she could balance the two, performing occasionally while giving priority to her studies, but in the interim, she had the chance to do something that must have been the envy of all her friends:


Passing the torch...

After being passed the Olympic flame, Majora Carter pulled out a small Tibetan flag that she had hidden in her shirt sleeve.

"The Chinese security and cops were on me like white on rice"

(via ESPN)

Not Safe For Work Engrish

This quote comes from the cover of an adult magazine, so I’m not kidding about the lack of worksafeness.


Best. Supermegatopia. Ever


Tools Customize Remove Menu Shortcut

In Microsoft Word 2008, there’s a menu called “Work”. At first, it contains only one item, “Add to Work Menu”. If you select this, the location of the current document is permanently added to this menu. There is no obvious way to rearrange or delete items on this list, or inform Word that they’ve moved to a different folder.

The only way to modify this list is to open the “Customize Toolbars and Menus” screen and bind a key or menu item to “ToolsCustomizeRemoveMenuShortcut”. When you run that command, the next menu item you click on will be deleted. Any menu item, in any menu, and the only indication that you’re in this mode is a different cursor that reverts to normal when you open a menu…

The work menu was apparently in Office 2004, too, but I never noticed it. Apparently the only difference was that there was a default keybinding for the magic command, which was removed for 2008 because people sometimes typed it by mistake and had no idea what had happened to their menus.

How does Microsoft feel about this? Read this thread. Short version: “stupid things only get fixed if more than 1000 people use the Send Feedback form and describe the problem precisely enough for the automated system to collate them together”.

Dear Google,

I like Google Earth. I even pay for the faster performance and enhanced features. A few things, though:

  • Why can't I keep North at the top of the screen? I hate constantly double-clicking the "N" in the gaudy navigation scroll-wheel.
  • Why do you auto-enable new layers in my view, so that, for instance, I suddenly see every golf course on the planet, even though I had that entire category disabled?
  • Why can't I switch between different sets of enabled layers?
  • Why is the "Google Earth Community" layer such a dumping ground of unsorted crap? For instance, what value does this have to anyone who's not an airline pilot? Or this, where points scattered around the globe are all labeled, "here's my collection of 4,728 placemarks".

I’m sure I can come up with more if I think about it for a bit…

[update: ah, press ‘n’ for north, ‘r’ for a total view reset, and then figure out how to fix all of the KMZ files that were broken by the upgrade]

More fun with furigana and jQuery

When I first started playing with pop-up furigana, I was aware of the official method of specifying them in HTML, using the RUBY, RB, and RT tags. They’re only supported in IE, though, and the standard half-size presentation simply doesn’t make sense for the low resolution of displays, even with good anti-aliasing.

Some folks are using them anyway, like the University of Virginia Library Japanese Text Initiative, which is another good source of free literature. If you’re not running IE (or the Firefox extension that they say works), the furigana degrade relatively gracefully into full-sized kana in parentheses following the glossed word, with no indication of how many of the preceding kanji are being glossed.

Tonight, I had the sudden urge to adapt my system to work with the will-eventually-work-in-other-browsers RUBY tags. This turned out to be pretty easy, for the simple case. I just added this code right before my gloss script:

	var rb=$(this).children("rb").eq(0).text();
	var rt=$(this).children("rt").eq(0).text();
	var gloss=$('' + rb + '');

Ruined for life

After far too many years online, I was initially unable to parse the following photograph correctly:


Dear Hello!Project Costume Designers,

Die in a fire. Exhibits A through D. I refuse to copy these to my site. Once was enough for this fabric.

These deserve a double unicorn chaser.

[hmmm, looks like they have some unreliable hotlink-prevention code, and no supported way to link to a specific image outside of their forums. Feh. … Ah, you can create a blog and embed thumbnails; that’ll work.]

The benefits of a classical education

Not my education, you understand. I merely quote. More here.

J: My pardon; did I break thy concentration?
Continue! Ah, but now thy tongue is still.
Allow me then to offer a response.
Describe Marsellus Wallace to me, pray.

B: What?

J: What country dost thou hail from?

B: What?

J: How passing strange, for I have traveled far,
And never have I heard tell of this What.
What language speak they in the land of What?

B: What?

J: The Queen’s own English, base knave, dost thou speak it?

B: Aye!

J: Then hearken to my words and answer them!
Describe to me Marsellus Wallace!

B: What?

JULES presses his knife to BRETT’s throat

J: Speak ‘What’ again! Thou cur, cry ‘What’ again!
I dare thee utter ‘What’ again but once!
I dare thee twice and spit upon thy name!
Now, paint for me a portraiture in words,
If thou hast any in thy head but ‘What’,
Of Marsellus Wallace!

B: He is dark.

J: Aye, and what more?

B: His head is shaven bald.

J: Has he the semblance of a harlot?

B: What?

JULES strikes and BRETT cries out

J: Has he the semblance of a harlot?

B: Nay!

J: Then why didst thou attempt to bed him thus?

B: I did not!

J: Aye, thou didst! O, aye, thou didst!
Thou hoped to rape him like a chattel whore,
And sooth, Lord Wallace is displeased to bed
With anyone but she to whom he wed.


I just finished chapter one of the first 魔法戦士リウイ novels, in Japanese.

[Pardon my shouting: I just read thirty pages of Japanese prose written for a native audience!! Ahem.]

The anime adaptation opened with the experienced adventuring team of Genie (amazon warrior), Melissa (priestess of the war god Mylee), and Merrill (thief) finding a magically-sealed door in a ruin. They headed to town to recruit a mage, preferably female, but the only one that seemed interested was Louie, a brawny goofball who had already “rescued” Genie from a fight and pantsed Merrill while being chased by a mob of angry women. Later, he accidentally blew up a bar trying to prove himself to them, and then while being chased by a mob of angry priestesses, destroyed the roof of Mylee’s temple with his magic, inadvertently revealing himself to the (naked) Melissa as the hero her god had chosen for her to serve. By the end of the first episode, Louie was firmly established as a drunk, a womanizer, a careless street brawler, and a terrible student, with no real interest in or aptitude for magic.

The novel starts out a bit differently. Louie is being congratulated by his classmates for finally mastering enough magic to earn his mage staff, making him the fifth to succeed out of the hundred apprentices that their class had started with ten years earlier. The next day, the others are all nursing a hangover from the party, but Louie cheerfully heads off to the entertainment district in pursuit of wine, women, and trouble. The sound of a tavern brawl draws him in from a distance, and he pushes through a crowd of onlookers to find two apprentice knights fighting three women (guess who?), and the women are wiping the floor with them.



[Update: Ah, almost none of them (besides the obvious) are loanwords; the drawn-out vowels and -ra ending are apparently Edokko slang]

[Update: I feel a little better, after getting email back from my Japanese teacher that read, “I don’t know what they’re saying, either.”]

Lyrics to the b-side from the latest single release by Melon Kinenbi. I didn’t have much trouble with the Japanese part, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out half of the loanwords they’ve worked in.

顔がダメ 会話がダメ
タイプじゃない ピンと来ない



パスよ パス チェンジ あり得ない
ハスッパ ゲロンパ バレテーラ それが何?
パスよ パス チェンジ 聞こえたの?
ペロっと ガンターれ オンナザカリ

あれもダメ これもダメって

流した涙の数は 未来の幸せの数


パスよ パス チェンジ 繰り返す
サラッと スリット しけテーラ 現実は
パスよ パス チェンジ ごめんなさい
チュチュッと バローレ オンナザカリ


パスよ パス チェンジ あり得ない
ハスッパ ゲロンパ バレテーラ それが何?
パスよ パス チェンジ 聞こえたの?
ペロっと ガンターれ オンナザカリ
ペロっと ガンターれ オンナザカリ

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”