July 2012

Dear Amazon,

I’m a bit puzzled at the moment. Usually CD releases in Japan are even more overpriced when they’re imports.

New Younha album on Amazon Japan: 1,013 yen (~$12.75), labeled as “import from US”, release date July 10.

New Younha album on Amazon US: $21.11, labeled as “import”, release date July 10, free shipping.

New Younha album on Yesasia.com: $14.99, import, release date July 6, free international shipping.

Oh, wait:

iTunes US: $10.99, release date July 3.

“never mind, I’m good”

Latest spam slang: sapoari (サポ有り)

My Japanese spam email has shifted tone again. The eager runaways have apparently all been rescued from their Internet cafés, and now we’ve moved on to lonely wives who’d like to run away. She thinks her husband doesn’t want her any more and she’s lonely. Sure, he’s busy at work, but her body just aches… She wouldn’t mind making a clean break with him, so will I play with her? Of course this obasan will be quite grateful for a partner. If I’m interested, please send her mail from this (thoroughly-randomized) site.

But, what exactly does “sapo-ari” mean? The only common use of the katakana サポ is as an abbreviation of サポート, “support”. And 有り means “existence”. Which means that this lonely wife’s gratitude doesn’t come for free…

Subject: サポ有りで私と遊びませんか?

(url deleted)

Erotic fanfic I will never write

Dune: Melange à trois

Another kanji-tattoo victim

Hopefully this nonsense was just painted on for the photo, and she doesn’t really have this tattoo. It’s classic Hanzismatter material. I can’t see them all clearly, but the fifth and sixth look like the top and bottom of “老”.

I’d like to credit the original artist, since the content of the “tattoo” is only a minor part of the composition, but of course it arrived through Tumblr, a system that goes out of its way to hide sources. My search dead-ended at the ironically-named Cool Tattoos tumblr.

[Update: the model’s name is Salleh Sparrow, and sadly, it is indeed a tattoo. She’s also a photographer, so it may be a self-portrait; I eventually traced it back to a defunct DeviantArt page under her name. The slightly larger version of the image that I found didn’t make the characters any clearer, and her Facebook portfolio doesn’t have anything that shows them off, either.]

Let's scribble on a naked chick! It's art!

Speaking of Hanzismatter, I think this is my new favorite bad tattoo. At least the tattoo artist used a real character, and the result is only a bit absurd, not obscene or gibberish.

I summon the Sylpheed!

General-purpose android for lab work. They named it Mahoro. No word on the lifespan.

Long-winded naughty novel titles

Not spam, but a challenge: ツンツンしてた小悪魔妹が嫁になるまでデレた理由

Breaking that down:

(((tsuntsun shite-ta) koakuma-imouto) ga
((yome ni naru) made) dereta) wake

(Note: the last word is the kanji for riyuu, but as you can see on Amazon, it’s glossed wake; both mean “reason/explanation”, but at the moment I can’t really explain what difference in nuance they’re playing with here)

Stripped to essentials, the base sentence is imouto ga dereta, “younger sister was ‘lovestruck’” . This complete sentence modifies wake (as what’s often called an attributive verb; your textbook may vary), making it “the reason younger sister was lovestruck”.

Now for the rest: koakuma “little devil” modifies imouto, or, more precisely, I think it should be read as a compound noun koakumamai, “little-devil younger sister”. Tsuntsun shite ita, “(someone) had been ‘aloof’” is another attributive verb, modifying our complex little sister. That leaves us with the particle made, “until”, which provides the condition that ended her tsuntsun nature: yome ni naru, “(she) becomes a bride”.

The base sentence is past tense, so the awkwardly-precise result is: “The reason my used-to-be-aloof-until-she-married little-devil younger sister became lovestruck.”

In more natural English, perhaps “How marriage made my bitchy little sister sweet”.

[Update: I read a bit of the back cover blurb, and the protagonist says his ideal bride is a not-related-by-blood little sister, so given the genre and the cover art, perhaps that should be “How marrying me made my bitchy little pricktease of a step-sister put out”.]

To-the-point naughty novel titles...

As a contrast to the previous grammatical mouthful, I offer this novel: 妹!妹!!妹!!!, read as “Mai! Mai!! Mai!!!”, neatly stripping the genre to its essential truth: “Little Sister! Little Sister!! Little Sister!!!”.

Having nothing to do with trains is 妹ChuChu, read “Mai Chu-Chu”, for “Little Sister Kiss-Kiss”.

Opening a different vein, we have ツンマゾ!. Read as “Tsun-Mazo!”, for “‘Aloof’ Masochist!”; just in case you miss the point, the theme is clearly explained in the subtitle. And the cover art.

Longer, but spelled out in phonetic Engrish for the benefit of the younger reader (or, well, not), is ミルクプリンセス ラブラブにゅ~トピア, or “Milk Princess Love-love Nyuu-topia” (nyuu being the reading for the kanji 乳, “breasts/milk”).

What do Bodacious Space Pirates and Dog Days have in common?

They’re universes where the Boy Scout virtues work. They follow the rules of Boys Adventure, not Gritty Realism. Dog Days mixes it with a healthy dose of cheesecake, but the key word is healthy; there’s shock and embarrassment when a special attack manages to destroy a female character’s clothing without harming her in any way, but there’s no fear, no leering, no dominance, nothing negative. It’s all good clean fun.

I think the closest Hollywood has come to this (the feel, not the special attacks; pity) was the 1996 version of The Phantom, featuring terrific performances by Billy Zane, Kristy Swanson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Patrick McGoohan. It tanked, of course; too wholesome for the market.

[Update: …except for poor Becky, who’s strayed into the world of Men’s Adventure.]

My non-existent Tumblr blog #3

“If I were to create a Tumblr blog…”, he says, refusing once again to enter the swirling vortex of multi-panel animated gifs, endless-scrolling memory hogs, and myspace-like design aesthetics, “I think I’d have to call it Baffled Cheesecake, in honor of a sexyfail expression that’s almost as common as Bored Porn Star, Angry Stripper, Constipated Chick, and Wannabe Realdoll.”

Two samples below, one nude.


...and so it begins

The Amazon listing for the upcoming Niven/Benford collaboration contains the following sentence:

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.


Peter da Silva posted a link on G+ to a collection of “redneck haiku”, most of them “not very good”. I commented with something I think is better:

Gently melting snow,
rusty pickup truck on blocks.
Spring revelation.

Dear Ami Tokito,

W. T. F.

Personally, I want something more like your old Twister video

I'll just leave this here...

…in case anyone needs it. Yuu Hasebe.

When you buy a 10 Terabyte desktop NAS...

…it really sucks to run out of inodes when the device is barely 40% full. I mean, it’s not like I’m adding 250,000 files a day or something goofy like that.

Oh, wait, that’s exactly what I was doing. Drat.

Things you can do more easily in Word than in InDesign...

[Update: “…without spending an extra $180 on a third-party tool that unlocks hidden, unsupported functionality”]

Layout a sentence that contains a mixture of English and Japanese.

In Word, you can say “use this font for Japanese characters only”, automatically leaving the rest of the sentence in a more-appropriate font. If you want to do this in InDesign, you must assign a character class to each string of Japanese text, or else layout the whole sentence in the same Japanese-capable font.

And that character class will not be applied if the sentence is used in a running header. Which means that you cannot use character-class-based styling in text that will be used as a header.

The workaround, which doesn’t work, is to use position-based nested styles in the header.

The workaround for the workaround, which doesn’t work, is to use regular-expression-based styling in the header. You can do something half-assed with regexps in a normal paragraph style, but the exact same regexp that works in the body text doesn’t work in a header style; the regexps are apparently applied before the variable substitution (which, come to think of it, is likely the problem with nested styles as well).

You can probably do Word-style font-mixing in the Japanese version of InDesign, along with vertical text, furigana, and all of the other things Word gives you in all versions, but I can’t buy that in the US. And, frankly, it’s far too expensive to ever consider trying to import a copy just to get potentially prettier printouts than Word.

[Update: it is claimed in a number of places that all of the Japanese functionality is present in the US version of InDesign, but that none of it is exposed in the UI. So, if someone sent you a document made in the Japanese version, you could print it, but not edit it. This suggests that it would be possible to export such a document to either the Tagged Text or XML formats and do some scripting work.]

Epoch Incantations

Calculate the offset required to convert from Mac OS X Core Data timestamps to Unix timestamps.

date -uj 010100002001 +%s

Better than just saying “add 978307200” or “add 11323 * 86400”.

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