Archive for February, 2008


Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

I was just about to subscribe to a magazine on-line when Marty asked me to check and see if there was anything he would like. I couldn’t find a way to browse their technical magazines so I ran a search for “linux”. The only result was for a magazine called “Windows IT Pro”. We won’t be buying that.

Nothing To Talk About

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

The deadline for talk submissions for YAPC::Asia is tomorrow. I won’t be submitting a talk. Usually at a YAPC I talk about communication or management – things I don’t have any experience of in an Asian context. I did think that Marty would submit a talk but he doesn’t use Perl much anymore and doesn’t think he has anything to talk about.

I am considering not speaking at any conference this year. Part of me loves to speak but the part that hates it is stronger tonight.

Too Much Scrabulous

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

You can tell you’ve played too many games of scrabble when … you receive an email from your lawyer and your first thought is, “his surname would be worth a lot of points”.

Japanese Pick-up School

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Norwin drew my attention to this Wired article:

Fujita’s Pickup School for Men Who Can’t Get Any teaches geeky, insecure men of all ages how to gain confidence, score dates and get laid — all based, he says, on a proprietary “science” he discovered after a decade of careful research.

I know the Japanese like to learn new things but I wasn’t quite expecting that.

Japanese Idiom: uchiwa no nori

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

I was trying to translate one of Mint’s blog posts when I came across the following idiom, “内輪のノリ”. Google translate usually gives amusing translations and this one was no exception: “noli private”. “Noli” should really be “nori”. Nori usually refers to food that is wrapped in nori seaweed – like balls of rice or rolls of sushi. The phrase talks about the private part that is inside the nori, which seems a strange thing to put in a sentence about the organisers of My dictionaries don’t help with idiomatic phrases but I assume that this idiom actually means a clique and is much more colourful than that English word.

Food Additives

Friday, February 15th, 2008

When I had the flu I wanted to eat something other than toast at lunch time. I liked the idea of having a large pot of home made chicken soup but I wasn’t well enough to make it. As a compromise Marty went out and bought me tins of Campbell’s soup. Growing up I always preferred Heinz’s soups. Campbell’s soups are concentrated and I find the concept of adding water to canned soup a little odd. (I’m not sure why I think this since water is one of the main ingredients of every home made soup that I make).

I was thrilled that one of the flavours he bought was tomato. I love tomato soup. The labels on the back of the can had mostly been covered with a new Japanese label. But one thing wasn’t. It stated “contains 2 x the Lycopene of a fresh tomato”. Is that really a good thing? I have no idea what lycopene is (even though I spent three years studying biochemistry). Marty didn’t know either but decided that it would be cool if it was something that helped turn you into a wolf…

I had a look on Wikipedia and discovered that processed tomatoes are a better source of lycopene than fresh ones:

Lycopene in tomato paste is four times more bioavailable than in fresh tomatoes. This is because lycopene is so insoluble in water and is so tightly bound to vegetable fiber. Thus processed tomato products such as pasteurized tomato juice, soup, sauce, and ketchup contain the highest concentrations of bioavailable lycopene.

Perfect Valentine?

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

I like to plan things and today I planned our Valentine. I wanted it to be perfect. I planned to look good, have great food, watch a romantic film, and cuddle.

Looking Good

I was going to wear a dress and I knew that things weren’t going well when I couldn’t work out how to put it on. After three attempts just to get the stupid thing over my head, I kept getting confused with the net and petticoats, I realised that it’s one of those dresses you can’t put on by yourself. It crosses over strangely and has a zip that I can’t reach.

Then I thought that I would put on the jeans I wore on Tuesday night. They fitted perfectly only two nights ago but today they were really uncomfortable – the joys of being female and hormonal. I gave up and put on a pair of Marty’s baggy trousers and a t-shirt.

Good Food

Marty arrived home late. I was chatting to my sister on the phone when I heard someone thump the front door. I realised it was Marty when he started to yell. I had accidentally locked him out. I must have bolted the door without thinking after I got the shopping. It rather spoiled his entrance with a bouquet of roses as I dashed out and opened the door and then rushed back to finish the call with my sister.

As it was already after 8 we were both very hungry. I imagine that during a romantic dinner you don’t normally stand and eat starters in the kitchen while you cook the steak. But then you probably aren’t supposed to eat it whilst balancing a plate on your knee and sitting on the sofa either.

Romantic Film

We watched Love Actually. Not all of it though as the DVD broke just over half way through.


Now that the romantic film is over I am blogging, as Marty has a conference call with New York in 20 minutes.

Thankfully the only thing I actually need for a perfect Valentine is Marty.

Valentine’s Day

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Marty wanted to follow the Japanese traditions for Valentine’s Day. He finds it stressful buying me a present and prefers a tradition where only the women give gifts. I agreed to go with part of this tradition – the part that involves me buying him chocolate. But I still want to receive a small gift.

I was told that the shops would be busy but I wasn’t expecting to have to take a number to queue for chocolate. Nor was I expecting to be pushed out of the way by an elderly woman in her haste to get to the chocolate counter.

I wanted to buy something special and bought some expensive Godiva truffles. And then I thought that maybe I should buy some British chocolates. And then I was worried that he would have expected both these choices so I went and bought some French chocolate. At one point I ended up in a supermarket staring at the chocolate counter thinking that maybe I should buy him a different type of chocolate for every year we’ve been married! It was at that point I realised that I was getting carried away…

Lack of Low-cost Carriers in Japan

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

I have been trying to find cheap flights from Tokyo to Taipei – but I’m getting nowhere. When searching for airlines failed I thought I had come up with a great way to discover who flies between these two places: I went to Narita airport’s web-site and checked the departures list. This shows quite a few airlines that fly to Taipei. But when I then went and searched the web sites of Eva Airlines, Delta, and China Airlines I got a variety of different error messages. I assume that they are operating code share flights with either ANA or JAL.

Going to the OSDC in Taiwan may be quite expensive.

Wrestle Mania?

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

I asked Marty what I should wear to the WWE Royal Rumble tour. I don’t watch WWE on television – though Marty tries to change that – and I didn’t know what to expect. He suggested tight jeans with either a low cut top or one of his WWE t-shirts. I opted for the low-cut top. And then decided I would need to wear my hair down and full make-up. I think I did fit in. The audience was male dominated, most of them wearing jeans or some sort of droopy trousers. Some were dressed as their favourite WWE Superstar (I called them wrestlers but Marty was quick to correct me) and some women were even wearing kimonos.

The venue was impressive. It’s an aspect of living in a big city that I love – great venues to hold great events. We had seats on the arena floor putting us really close to the action. The seats weren’t tiered and when the crowd jumped to its feet, which happened a lot, I couldn’t see anything but the backs of all the tall people who stood in front of me.

I still don’t know what to make of the whole thing. It’s obviously staged – yet the crowd screamed and yelled with every fake punch. I was close enough to see a lot of the missed punches and kicks. However, they still throw huge men out of the ring and the acrobatics are amazing. It felt like a rock concert crossed with pantomime only the audience was more excited. I assume it’s because they have villains as well as heroes. Imagine how much fun a rock concert could be if the bands you thought sucked got hit over the head with chairs by the bands you thought rocked. O.K. some people would love that – I’m still not sure about the violence part.

Marty seemed to know in advance who would win every match. This puzzled me – why is it still fun if you know? He told me that no titles would change hands because the event wasn’t being televised. For the non-title events he could tell who would win by how the crowd reacted to the performers – apparently there was no way that Umaga was beating Triple H tonight. Or that Ric Flair would be beaten (something about a plot). The crowd went mad when Ric Flair came on. He is nearly 60 years old and he still was able to throw his competitor out of the ring and allow himself to be tossed about.

The crowd was fascinating. There was a little boy sitting close behind me. He yelled and yelled until he couldn’t yell any more. My favourite yell had to be, “you suck, forever and ever and ever … and when I die and I’m in heaven you will still suck”. He was also very cute when he realised that in his excitement he yelled that one of his favourites sucked. He would scream, “Jericho sucks – em no he doesn’t really suck, Y2J, Y2J…”.

I noticed that the losers get cheered as much as the winners. Even when the loser was someone the crowd was booing just minutes before. When I mentioned this to Marty he told me that this might be peculiar to Japan.

I didn’t enjoy watching the two female wrestlers. They were acrobatic and the crowd loved Mickie J but it didn’t have the energy or power that the men had. Some of the male wrestlers, like Jeff Hardy and Chris Jericho, have great charisma and had the audience hanging on every move they made. I really wanted to see a woman that made me think “warrior” and not “playboy bunny”. There is nothing wrong with woman looking like playboy bunnies but I felt that the emphasis on sex appeal stripped away some of their power in this forum. And I’m not saying that the men didn’t look good – Randy Orton was gorgeous – but the emphasis was very much on his skill and not on his beautiful body. Nor did I get the feeling that conventional beauty was a prerequisite for the men.

I can’t imagine this becoming my favourite sport or pastime but I am considering taking Marty to see one of the big American televised events – at least then he wouldn’t be sure who would win.