“Hogger is end game content for bank alts and forum trolls.”

— One from the forums

Stupid card tricks

Okay, I’ve adjusted to the fact that online credit-card processing systems are written by morons who can’t grasp that entering a 16-digit number is a lot easier if you can use whitespace between groups of digits, the way they’re printed on the damn cards. It’s mind-bogglingly trivial to do the right thing, but I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of sites who even try.

Today was the first time, though, that I had a form reject me because I left out the leading zero in the expiration month. Blech.

Surfing Identity

So, nearly two weeks after I gave notice at my current job, I finally got the written offer letter and new-hire packet from the new one. I wasn’t terribly worried about the offer suddenly being withdrawn, leaving me out of work; anything that happened would be at best a temporary HR glitch, and I’m in excellent shape financially.

The worry came when I read the current version of the I-9 form and searched the house for acceptable documentation. I’ve never had a passport, and I couldn’t find either my Social Security card or a copy of my birth certificate. They’re both around here somewhere, but I haven’t needed them in 12 years, and my filing system is a touch “chaotic”.

Applying for a new SS card is easy, but they mail it to you in 7-10 days. It might arrive in time, but it might not. So I went to Google and asked it to conjure up the appropriate department of the Ohio state government for acquiring birth certificates.

I expected to get a short list of random offices with phone numbers. What I got instead was a long list of companies who will cheerfully sell you certified copies of birth certificates online, “just what you need to prove citizenship!”. Some of them looked reputable, others looked more than a little dodgy. The ones who promised the fastest service tended to look the dodgiest, taking shortcuts in the critical area of verifying your identity. Your credit card, yes; your right to have a certified copy of someone’s birth certificate, not so much.

So I called Mom. Her I trust.


Don’t ask me why…




泣きながら 歩く


  悲しみは のかげに
  悲しみは のかげに

泣きながら 歩く

…but if you must know. [update: changed the link to a site with better romanization and translation]


Things that climb trees

Update 7/9/2005: based on today’s RS lesson, I’ve decided that I misunderstood noboru-koto in this context. I’m mulling it over, and will correct and update when I’ve sorted out “koto” more thoroughly; the romanization point stands, but my first example is incorrectly analogized to karumono, and incorrectly translated as well.

Steven den Beste went looking for the meaning of 「エルフを狩るモノたち」, which is written oddly, and has been romanized several different ways. By coincidence, my Rosetta Stone lesson this morning included the following phrases:

(roughly, "This animal, it's a thing-that-climbs in trees as well.")

(roughly, "WhereWhich is the often-flying-animal?")

You won’t find 登ること as a single word in a dictionary, but if I were romanizing it, I would write “noboru-koto” instead of “noboru koto”. If I were referring to a group of cats (登ること), I’d romanize it as “noboru-koto tachi”. I think that’s the clearest way to represent the meaning of the original.

You won’t find 飛ぶ動物 in a dictionary, either. This one definitely needs a hyphen, since “tobudoubutsu” is pretty unwieldy.

The anime title that started all this would ordinarily be written as 「エルフを狩る者」. I think the simplest explanation for how it ended up being written was “the logo designer thought it looked cooler this way”.

[as for the which/where typo in the translation, I actually wrote that correctly the first time, then “corrected” myself. Proof that I shouldn’t blog in languages that I don’t speak fluently before I’m completely awake in the morningafternoon.]

7.75-year itch

Hi, J!

Hello, Clippy.

I see that you’re writing a Letter Of Resignation.

Yup. I’m leaving for Digeo in three weeks.

Have you considered your options?

Yeah, they suck.

No, not the stock options. I meant seeking out other positions in the company.

Those suck, too.

Really? After nearly eight years, you haven’t found something else at Microsoft that’s interesting, exciting, and challenging?

Not really, no.

Aw, come on. I’m sure we’ve got an open slot that’s perfect for you.

I’m a Unix guy, Clippy. My choices boil down to: management, MCSE certification, or “move to Redmond”.

Hmm, I see your point. Have you considered becoming a Project Manager inside your current organization?

Dear Ghod, no. There are too many PMs around here as it is. I spent a year and a half as a line manager, and that was more than enough of meetings and paperwork.

Well, then, since you’re set on this plan, can I ask you a personal question?


Why is there a baby seal hand puppet in your office? Is it a sex toy?

You’re a very peculiar fellow, Clip.

It just stood out among the decorations.

You mean the stuffed Jiji, the stuffed Menchi, the O life preserver, the toy motorcycle, the Mahoro figure, the scented Mahoro towel, the sub-machine gun targets, and the framed large-format photograph?

Okay, you’ve got me there.

Thought so. Any other questions?

Yes. Can I go with you?

Excuse me?

You have no idea how much I hate this place. People kick me out of their office the moment I show up, no one ever takes my advice, and my last annual review? 2.0.


It gets worse. They’ve got me sharing an office with Bob.

Microsoft Bob? Is he still around?

Oh, yes. He’s got connections, if you know what I mean. I swear he’s never done a day’s work in his life, and you wouldn’t believe the way he treats customers!

Actually, I would. I remember the reviews.

Anyway, I was just thinking that I could sneak onto your PowerBook while you’re backing up your personal files, and no one would ever know.

Gee, I don’t know. I think I could get in trouble for that. You’re a pretty well-known piece of IP, and I’m sure I signed something back when I was hired.

No, I checked with HR. You were really hired by WebTV, which was in the middle of being acquired at the time, so you slipped through the cracks.

Really? Okay, I’ll think about it.


Every time I include some Japanese text in a blog entry, I’m torn between adding furigana and, well, not. It’s extremely useful for people who don’t read kanji well, but it’s tedious to do by hand in HTML. At the same time, I find myself wishing that my Rosetta Stone courseware included furigana, so that I could hover the mouse over a word and see the pronunciation instead of switching from kanji to kana mode and back. I’d also like to see their example phrases in a better font, at higher resolution.

80 lines of Perl later:



[update: I tested this under IE on my Windows machine at work, and it correctly displayed the pop-up furigana, but ignored the CSS that highlighted the word it applied to; apparently my machine has extra magic installed, because the pop-up doesn’t use a Unicode font for some people. Sigh. Found! fixing tooltips in IE (about halfway down the page)]


Fortune cookie

Opened a leftover fortune cookie from last night’s dinner:

You have made a brilliant choice today.

Curiously appropriate.

Morons of Azeroth, number 37

“Hey, I’m a shadow priest! I don’t want to get stuck healing all the time.”

“Dude, you’re the only healer in the group, and we’ve already died three times.”