And now, an inspirational moment

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Legumez

beanzIf you ain’t down with the fibrous protein, best take it up with my boyz in blue, yo.

(Taken at a store in Ikebukuro, proving that I-Town is still keepin’ it real…)

Waste not, want not

“Oh, man” The Plain mutters.

The Plain often mutters to himself. Usually it’s about things IT related — in your short time with the firm, you’ve never seen anyone more prone to software crashing, computer rebooting or hunt-and-peck typing than The Plain.

“Oh, man” he mutters again. You hear the mutter from behind you; your attention is face-forward on your work.

“What is it?” you ask, still not turning around.

“It would seem,” begins The Plain — who, while being completely fluent in English, speaks it for some reason with a Christopher Walken-like delivery — “that I’ve gotten myself into a predicament.”

koraYou turn around. The Plain is standing behind you, looking distressed. In his hand is a stack of printouts. At a guess, you’d say around 400 pages of printouts. You immediately burst into laughter.

“Dude, what did you do?” you ask, still laughing.

“I merely intended,” The Plain responds, his face unflinchingly stoic, “to print a single paragraph of this legal document, which I had highlighted. Unfortunately, I printed the whole section.”

Your gaze flashes from The Plain’s intimidatingly large frame to the childlike look of discomfort on his face back to the stack of papers in his hands. You’re unable to control yourself and you burst into an even louder bout of laughter. The Plain eyes you a moment, and then his usually stony features melt and he’s laughing as hard as you.

“Man,” you begin, finally coming up for air, “what are you going to do with all that?”

“I’m not sure.” He eyes his bookshelf. “Put it here, perhaps?” He places the stack of papers on his shelf; it is by far larger than any of the specialized dictionaries he keeps on his shelf, which sets off a fresh round of laughter.

“Nice phone book you’ve got there,” you quip, which gives The Plain a hearty laugh.

You turn back to your work. It is a completely uninteresting piece, and you find yourself resenting the fact that you have to work overtime to proofread it. You’re vaguely aware of The Plain getting up from his desk, walking somewhere and then returning.

“Oh, man,” you hear from behind you.

“What now?” you ask, eyes still on your work.

“This is something else. Could you come here please?”

You get up from your desk, follow The Plain toward the copier. When you get there, suddenly you’re laughing so hard that you’re clutching your sides and trying not to fall over.

“Apparently,” begins The Plain, already beginning to chuckle, “I printed not just a section of the document, but the entire document.”

You eye the massive stack of printouts, completely weighing down the printout tray and threatening to start spilling onto the floor, and break into another peal of laughter.

“How many pages is this?” you ask, wiping a tear from your eye.

“1,600.”

More laughter.

“But … this looks like more than 1,600 pages.”

“Yes. It would seem I printed it twice.”

The Plain hoists the stack of papers, dropping it onto his desk with a massive THUD that echoes through the office. The two of you giggle like schoolkids again.

“Seriously, what are you going to do with all that?” you ask when you can finally catch your breath.

“I think,” comes the thoughtful reply, “that for some time, my children will have no shortage of scratch paper.”

The passing of MJ and other weird shit

Yes, the demise of Michael Jackson is by now old news and has already been blogged into the ground. But I mention it here for the following reasons:

iThriller-I have been watching the original Thriller video pretty much every day for the past week, and it still rocks. I mean, it has dancing zombies in it for chrissake.

-Given how much the people here dig MJ, I started wondering if there was a Japanese- language subbed version of the Thriller video out there. Finally found this one here, but it’s like trying to watch a movie when no one in the theater will SHUT THE HELL UP, in that there’s a constant scrawl of “witty” comments that has been added to the vid by the uploader. I’ll say it for the record: Japanese internet culture sucks.

-I subsequently got to wondering if there were separate, Japanese-language lyrics for Thriller posted somewhere online. And I finally found these, which educate as well as entertain; gotta love it when “I’m gonna thrill ya tonight, ooh baby” is translated as 私は今夜、オーッ!赤ちゃん屋スリルつもり. That’s just nutty.

-In looking for the original Thriller video, I stumbled across the so-called “Indian Thriller,” a ripoff scene starring the suave gentleman in the picture above. The video itself is embedded below for your viewing displeasure.

p/s – Sorry for the dropoff in posting, folks. The workload has been taking its toll…

Really, REALLY juvenile ways of employing new technology

Inbetween doing a bit of overtime, drinking too much and watching a couple Tony Jaa movies this past weekend, I decided to try out the recently launched “computational knowledge engine” WolframAlpha and see what it was all about.

faggetPredictably, it didn’t take long for me to sink down to the level of a 14-year old.

I had no business giggling as much as I did over this screenshot, but there’s just something about seeing this word — which has meant everything from a bundle of sticks to weird English meatballs to a homosexual to someone embarrassingly lame — being used as a unit of measurement that I apparently find pretty amusing.

Sigh.

I’m an idiot.

Novel ways of fighting organized crime

I passed by this poster in the station for a week or so before taking a good look at what it had to say … and then I was pulling out my cell phone and snapping a photo.

crimeIt’s a poster released by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police concerning 暴力団 (boryokudan), or the organized crime syndicate. It specifically concerns how best to 追放 (tsuiho), or drive them out. Three helpful suggestions are offered there on the bottom right:

Do not fear them
Hell, yeah! Stand your ground!

Do not give them money
Show those bastards who’s boss!

Do not employ their services
Uh…

Your police department at work, folks.
Feeling safer yet?

To surf, perchance to Google

I do a lot of bitching about life here, dear Reader. Frankly, it’s quite easy to rant about the zombie-like freakwads that seem to make up most of Tokyo’s populace.

But today, an uncharacteristic bit of praise.

hamMy internets have been giving me some trouble recently. Today, the connection was so slow that webpages simply refused to load. So I called my ISP’s tech support, with the following results. (Anyone who’s dealt with tech support in your home country, feel free to compare.)

-After selecting the appropriate category from the automated recording, my phone call was picked up by a live operator on the third ring
-The operator ran a few diagnostics and determined it would take a technician to repair the problem
-A technician was at my door in less than two hours
-Said technician was already aware of my problem, and telling me how he could fix it while still walking inside my house
-My connection was up and running in about 15 minutes
-Total cost to me: nothing whatsoever

People of Tokyo, you’re on your way to redeeming yourselves.

As a counterpoint to this anecdote, however, I had earlier run into a guy that, at 9:30 am, was so drunk as he stumbled out of a 24-hour karaoke bar that he was being literally propped up by one of the bar’s employees, lurching madly down the street and crying out “Do you know me?!” in English upon seeing me, and then suddenly rolling his r’s and threatening to kick the ass of some random passerby.

This place is weird.

Nice tech support, though.