January 2009

More fun with Anaconda

After I thought I had a decent script for figuring out what packages Anaconda would install from a Fedora 10 DVD, I decided to test it against reality. Reality made the script cry like a little girl, so it was back to the drawing board.

The problem, simply put, was that I had over-estimated the internal consistency of the data. Here’s what I learned in the process of producing a 100% match between my script and an actual default install of Fedora 10:

  1. Packages listed in comps.xml don't necessarily exist, even if they're marked mandatory (like iprutils).
  2. Conditional packages in comps.xml often depend on packages that are not themselves listed, but get included during dependency resolution (all of the OpenOffice language packs, for instance).
  3. Packages often require themselves (more than two-thirds of perl's requirements are met by... perl).
  4. Some packages specify a requirement for files installed by a package rather than features provided by that package (such as /usr/bin/perl; in an amusing note, this file is required by, but not a feature provided by, perl).
  5. A few packages require files that are not installed by any package, and that's not considered an error.
  6. It's not unusual for multiple packages to satisfy the same requirement, and when they do, Anaconda chooses the one with the shortest name. Seriously.
  7. ...unless it's obsoleted by the other one, as in the case of the synaptics driver.
  8. RPM doesn't actually care about all this nonsense; when it wants to know what libraries a package depends on, it opens it up and runs ldd on the contents.
  9. This is required exactly once during a default Fedora 10 install, to discover the fact that totem-mozplugin requires mozplugger. I had to fake that one.

At some point, this knowledge will be put to use upgrading my EEE PC from Fedora 9, but now that I can declare victory and stop tinkering with the script for a while, I’m going to go finish the Japanese novel I’m currently working my way through (60 pages down, 200 to go).

Phony Japan-blogging

There exists a blog called “Japan for the uninvited”. I found one of its articles linked from a fairly reliable group blog. That particular entry was a rehash of claims from other English-language sites about Japan, and was relatively accurate.

The next three entries that I read were complete nonsense. This short-lived blog was created by someone looking for ad impressions, who didn’t pay any attention to accuracy.

[note for the blogger: when the members of a band range in age from 14 to 24, describing them all as “pre-pubescent” is a slight categorization error. Also, when the high point of your site is the unintentional hilarity of the phrase “discrete sex”, find a new hobby.]

Just for Pete...

Fedora 10 correctly handles FA19 in various applications, including OpenOffice.


Dear Gizmodo,

Virtually every use of “teed off by” on the web is in reference to someone becoming annoyed by golfers. Given that, perhaps you should reconsider this bit of release-euphemizing:

"Lenovo's IdeaPad Y-series consumer notebooks are all going 16:9 widescreen, teed off by the 16-inch Y650, ..."

I suppose I’d get a bit teed-off if my sibling had 16 inches, too…

The patience of Japanese stories

Something that I’ve noticed repeatedly over the years is a tendency for Japanese entertainment products to require a great deal of patience on the part of the consumer.

An obvious example is games with lengthy intros and cut-scenes that can’t be skipped. This sometimes happens in non-Japanese games, but not to the same degree. For instance, the one and only time I attempted to play a hentai “dating sim” game, I gave up before even reaching a nude scene, worn out by more than twenty minutes of introductory dialogue that offered the player no interaction whatsoever. And it’s not like it was relevant background material: “I am the main character in a porn game. I have banged many women under circumstances you will not believe. I will do so again, if your multiple-choice input is acceptable. Be sure to take notes.”

Anime is often like this as well. It’s not unusual for a series to spend most of a season meandering towards the plot, with a sudden burst of (usually rushed, over-compressed) activity towards the end. In many cases, there’s an obvious production or financial reason, but my point is that the target audience doesn’t seem to mind.

There are plenty of others I could bring up (I’m amazed The Prince hasn’t gagged his father with a katamari), but the specific example that brought this to mind was the novel I’m reading, 魔女館へようこそ, “Welcome To The Witch’s Mansion”.


the joy of hubbing

Here’s my progress report from DHL:

DHL in progress, please stand by

(naturally, the dollar jumped back up 4 yen after my order was processed…)

[Update: and… there it was on my desk waiting for me today. I think I’ve got enough light novels, music, concerts, and bikini DVDs to last me for a few months now. Still one more item on the way, but Amazon will be shipping it free since it got delayed for so long.]

Defining the genre

I can’t think of a better summary of a major genre of anime and manga than this:

She is a princess of loving mischief!
He is a dull boy who is not at all lucky!
They are really close couple
though they have a lot of problems.

This comes from the front cover of the groundbreaking new manga series きつねのよめいり, featuring the fresh imagination and original story-telling of newcomer Sato Takagi.

Naaah, just kidding. I’m sure it delivers exactly what it promised on the cover (seen here on Amazon). The title, and perhaps a few tiny nuggets of the story, are based on classic folk tales about trickster-fox brides, but I’d be stunned if it rose above genre clichés.

How do you turn it on?

Announced at CES: The 3GSpot. It’s open to negotiation, anytime, anywhere. All it wants is a little power, and it guarantees you a good networking experience. Use it alone, or share with your friends. Perfect for when you’re on the road and you need to make a personal connection in your hotel room.

West Going Life! Literature West Friend!

Stolen Pixels takes a very gentle look at fighting games. I’m pleased that the deep meaning of the dialogue was faithfully translated.


Over on slashdot, someone quotes:

"The study also found that over a third have suffered from sleepless nights or headaches as a result of IT problems at work, while 59 per cent spend between one and 10 hours a week working on IT systems outside normal hours...."

In the modern vernacular, I say “It’s fine, learn to play, noob”.

“Why, when I was a boy, we had to walk to the server room through three feet of snow, uphill both ways! Now get off my lawn!”

Satan strikes again...

Morning Musume’s least talented singer gets her sixth solo single (video here). And people wonder why I call her Satan.

Dear Hello!Project Costume Designers,

I think I know how this outfit came about:

[recklessly navigating past the pallets of feathers and tulle in the H!P wardrobe dungeon, two Apprentice Bedazzler Technicians collide]

A: “You got your cheerleader outfit in my candy-striper uniform!”

B: “No, you got your candy-striper uniform in my cheerleader outfit.”

Together: “Heeeeeeeey!”


Dear Baen Books,

Please do not give Clyde Calwell any future cover-art work. Or, at the very least, give him a description of the main character beyond “lives in cool-looking city, female, long dark hair, spends time on rooftops”.

I say this because I’ve been reading PC Hodgell’s novels since 1982, and the chick on the cover of The God Stalker Chronicles ain’t Jame.

I’ll have to scan in the cover of my battered old first-edition paperback, because that is Jame.

Cheernurse: The Revenge

Horrified by the sight of an under-Bedazzled idol, a Senior Fashion Eliminator rushes to the scene, determined to show these two yokels How It’s Done.


The Deserted Seaside

[note: the song is depressing, but this is not an indication of my life or mood, simply the fact that I liked the song enough to prep it for my reading class. I have a DVD with an excellent live performance, but this one has escaped collection on the various video sites. I suppose there’s a torrent out there of the Folk Songs 3 concert, but it’s probably unseeded, and I wouldn’t link to it anyway. Here is the only performance youtube has, which is probably closer to the original arrangement than the one I like.]

[I’ll add pop-up furigana for the kanji later.]


作詞:山口洋子 作曲:内藤法美


It’s already autumn, at the deserted seaside. Although he walks past like I’m not there, I will not forget, because I made a promise to the sea, “Even if it’s heart-breaking, even if it’s heart-breaking, I will not die.”


It’s already autumn, at the deserted seaside. Although my only dream is torn apart, I will not forget, because I made a promise to the sand, “Even if I’m lonely, even if I’m lonely, I will not die.”


It’s already autumn, at the deserted seaside. Although that beloved face will not return, I will not forget, because I made a promise to the sky, “Even if I’m alone, even if I’m alone, I will not die.”


“Even if I’m alone, even if I’m alone, I will not die.”

J-Spam: no thanks, I'm good

For once, my Japanese spam isn’t about how to find beautiful younger women who’ll pay you for sex:


[update: oh, good grief:




[Update: …and two more today, with completely different subject lines. The thing I find interesting is that this is all of the Japanese spam I’m getting right now. Nothing about getting laid, finding women, male enhancement, just “improve your English”. It’s a worrying economic sign when the bottom-feeders of the ad world think that Japanese men are more likely to spend money on career skills than on mercenary schoolgirls and horny housewives.]

[Update: Ah, that’s better; it took a few days, but now I’m getting things that start off with phrases like 「女をマインドコントロールして自由に…」. I guess there’s hope for the Japanese economy after all.]

Dear Apple,

Design note: do not assemble laptops with screws that are precisely the correct size to fall into the DVI adapter’s screw holes.

…on the bright side, once I found a strong magnet, I was able to finish installing my new 7200rpm 320GB drive (Amazon, free shipping, $90), giving me the delicious luxury of 200GB of (briefly-)free space.

…and I’m apparently better at putting MacBook Pros back together than the folks at the Apple Store, since the locking mechanism actually works properly again.


As a general rule, one does not expect to find that replacing a single server with several significantly faster ones has reduced performance by a factor of four. On reflection, however, perhaps it is inevitable that the word “cluster” must be followed by the word “fuck”.

Don't Throw Me Away

[Another depressing song, this time performed by Yuuko Nakazawa on her debut album. It wasn’t released as a single, so there’s no complete performance on video, but a trimmed version can be found here. The translation is mostly literal, and I’ve tried to preserve the original line breaks rather than rewrite it as smooth English.]


“Don’t throw me away”

作詞:つんく 作曲:つんく 編曲:川口 真

(lyrics and music by Tsunku, arrangement by Makoto Kawaguchi)

知らないふり いつもしてる

I’m always pretending I don’t know about your other women.

ダメな女 苦しいのに

I’m a hopeless woman. Even though it’s painful, I’m forgiving you again.

今日は帰るの 明日は来るの
ねぇ ひとこと 「ごめん」と

Are you going home tonight? Will you come back tomorrow? Oh, one single thing, “I’m sorry”, I wish I could make you say it, but…

でも 待ってるばかり
でも 泣いてるの見せない
でも 待ってるばかり
でも 愚痴なんて言わない

Instead, I’m just waiting. Instead, I won’t show you that I’m crying. Instead, I’m just waiting. Instead, I won’t even grumble.

いつかはあなた 好きな女性できても

Even if someday you fall in love with someone else, don’t throw me away.

知らないふり いつもしてる

I’m always pretending I don’t know, even with the lingering scent of their perfume.

いい女よ 全てそうよ

I’m a good woman, I won’t intrude on everything you do.

明日は来ない 電話もかけない
ねぇ ひとこと「好きだ」と

You won’t come over tomorrow, and you won’t call. Oh, one single thing, “I love you”, is all I try to make you say.

でも 待ってるばかり
でも 淋しいと言わない
でも 待ってるばかり
でも 待ってると淋しい

Instead, I’m just waiting. Instead, I won’t say I’m lonely. Instead, I’m just waiting. Instead, when I’m waiting, I’m lonely.

いつかはあなた 好きな女性できても

Even if someday you fall in love with someone else, don’t throw me away.

でも 待ってるばかり
でも 泣いてるの見せない
でも 待ってるばかり
でも 愚痴なんて言わない

Instead, I’m just waiting. Instead, I won’t show you that I’m crying. Instead, I’m just waiting. Instead, I won’t even grumble.

いつかはあなた 好きな女性できても

Even if someday you fall in love with someone else, don’t throw me away. Don’t throw me away.

"Oh, by the way..."

Ordinarily, if someone said, “there’s a grill in your office”, I’d consider it a feature.

Cube clutter

"Don't bend your belly-button!"

Tuesday night, I managed to scrape together enough time to finish the novel I’ve been reading in Japanese. I was a bit disappointed in the ending, not so much in how the kids defeated the evil witch as in why it worked. But that’s a blog entry for another day.

Tonight, I’m going back through it, looking for the words and phrases that I didn’t find in my pocket dictionary (aka, “DS Lite running Kanji Sonomama”). Some of it I still can’t find (particularly mimetic expressions), but there are some fun ones.

First up, 「へそを曲げる」, which JMdict translates as “to get angry; to become perverse”, but it literally means “to bend your belly-button”. The impudent young warlock who says “heso o mageru na yo, baachan” to the cranky old witch clearly means “calm down, granny”, but since the thing she’s upset about is his lack of respect, it doesn’t really work.

Dear Hello!Project Costume Designers,

I realize that Ayumi Shibata and the rest of Melon Kinenbi are being kicked out of the agency along with all of the other adults, but do you really think this is a viable option for her post-H!P career, or did you do it to satisfy certain personal needs?


Honestly, I think it's some of their best work...

Oh, sure, I make fun of the people who design stage costumes for Hello!Project. It’s the least I can do, given the insane amount of effort they expend to overdecorate their helpless victims.

So when they do something simple, with just two colors and no feathers or tulle or ruffles or rhinestones, I think it’s only fair to say something nice. I mean, it’s even age-appropriate!


Fun with loanwords

In the children’s novel 魔女へようこそ (“Welcome to the Witch’s Mansion”), casting spells involves cooking. There’s a particular recipe that’s very important to the story, and is printed in full at the end of the book. It took me forty minutes to figure out what it was called.


For the kanji/kana-challenged, that’s “Warui Mahou o Fuuji-komeru U A Ra Neeju”. The first half is a straightforward prenominal phrase, “…which confines evil magic”, but what is it?

First clue: it’s a dessert recipe.

Second clue: the ingredient list consists of eggs, sugar, cornstarch, milk, and vanilla extract.

Third clue: the recipe requires separating the eggs to make メリンゲ (Meringe) and カスタードソース (Casutaadosoosu).

Fourth clue: the end result involves placing the poached meringe on top of the casutaadosoosu.

Answer below the fold…


Dear Japan Airlines,

Do you really think that this is the right time to send out a mailing for a 7-night, $3,375 (plus $90 misc fees, plus $580 extra if you’re not sharing a room with someone) vacation tour package?

Protection Money

Social conservatives are expressing (possibly-authentic) surprise that the Democrats’ current stimulus bill includes funding for contraception. I’m not sure why they didn’t expect it. After all, Congress has been spending our money like drunken whores for decades, so of course they associate condoms with cash payouts.

No Sympathy For The Devil

Sorry, Satan, you earned this one.


Dilemma's Horns

The most difficult part of trying to get a few decent screen captures from the Aya The Witch DVD is summoning the willpower to stop staring at her.


Dear Page 3,

You. Do. Not. Understand.



Fun with loanwords

Another fun one from the “Snow Eggs” recipe in 魔女館へようこそ:


For the kana-challenged, that’s “arumi no batto”. The context is retrieving the poached meringue from the water with a skimmer, and placing it either onto a plate or an “arumi no batto”.

Answer below the fold…


Blame the duck

[Update: Corrected translation. According to my professor, I was right the first time about the girls, but wrong about the grammatical inversion in the first verse. It’s “wine, women, and song”, not “wine, women, then song”…]

[Update: Now with romanized karaoke lyrics and translation!]

[Update: New! Improved! Now with extra Blue Man! This clip claims the group is Tokiwazu, so perhaps the other name only refers to their work with the full orchestra.]

He started it with Oo-Edo no Hikeshi (大江戸の火消し = “Firemen of Edo”). This led me to track down their versions of two other classics (1, 2), as well as the people responsible (題名のない音楽会 = “Orchestra Without A Name”), and the occasion (350th anniversary of the Great Fire of Meireki).

But there’s more. I found a higher-resolution video, and transcribed lyrics. My reading class will be amusing next week…


たちゃ琵琶湖に行った 弁財天詣で
夜詰め当番済まして 湯治兼ねて
たまには上美女揃えて 重ねて
木遣りの声にも磨きを あてて帰ろうか

大江戸の火消し 空もはればれ

琵琶湖じゃ小屋で 芝居をやっていた
ちょいと覗いて行こうか 急ぎの旅でなし
江戸からの旅役者が はるばる来ていた
はだか火使って火が出て 俺たちの出番

火事場にゃ火消し 空には火の粉

And for the kana-challenged who want to sing along:

Oo-Edo no Hikeshi

Ore-tacha Biwako ni itta, Benzaiten moude sa
Yozume no touban sumashite, touji mo kanete
Tama ni wa jou-sama soroete, sakazuki kasanete
Kiyari no koe ni mo migaki o, atete kaerou ka

Oo-Edo no hikeshi, sora mo harebare
Oo-Edo no hikeshi

Biwako ja hotori no koya de, shibai o yatte ita
Choito nozoite ikou ka, isogi no tabi de nashi
Edo kara no tabi-yakusha ga, harubaru kite ita
Hadaka-bi-zukatte hi ga dete, Ore tachi no debaru sa

Kajiba nya hikeshi, sora ni wa hinoko da
Kajiba nya hikeshi

Oh, what the hell, let’s try for English (loose where necessary to fit the tune):

Fire Brigade of Edo

We went up to Lake Biwa, a pilgrimage to Benzaiten,
after standing watch all night long. At the hot springs there,
we arranged for hot young women, and plenty of hot sake,
and practiced our hard-labor chant. Now shall we head straight for home?

Fire-brigade of Edo, the sky begins to brighten.
Fire-brigade of Edo.

In a hut on Biwa's shore, they were putting on a play.
Let's stop in and take a little peek, we're not in a hurry.
Troupe of Edo actors, had come up all the way from town.
Open flame turned into fire, our turn now to do our duty.

Fire-brigade on the scene, the sparks are in the sky.
Fire-brigade on the scene.

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