Archive for August, 2004

Date: August 31st, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
3 msgs

– Wa2 – Doll

– Wa2 Wa5 – Baby, Doll

Another of the songs Jenny sometimes randomly sings is 泥娃娃 – Ni3 Wa2 Wa5 – Clay Doll. I’ve always found the tune and lyrics (once she told me what they meant) to be somehow sad. Here are the lyrics:

Chinese:

泥娃娃 泥娃娃 一個泥娃娃
她有那眉毛 也有那眼睛
眼睛不會眨

泥娃娃 泥娃娃 一個泥娃娃
她有那鼻子 也有那嘴巴
嘴巴不說話

她是個假娃娃 不是個真娃娃
她沒有親愛的爸爸 也沒有媽媽

泥娃娃 泥娃娃 一個泥娃娃
我作她爸爸 我作她媽媽
永遠愛著她

And translated to English:

Clay doll, clay doll, a clay doll
She has eyebrows, and eyes
The eyes cannot wink

Clay doll, clay doll, a clay doll
She has a nose, and a mouth
The mouth cannot speak

She is a fake doll, she is not a real baby
She has no loving Papa, and no Mama

Clay doll, clay doll, a clay doll
I’ll be her Papa, I’ll be her Mama
And love her forever

And here’s an MP3 of the song.

Date: August 31st, 2004
Cate: Regular
1 msg

All Hail Queen Kitty

Being virtually given away for just ¥10,500,000.

(are you getting tired of these yet?)

Date: August 31st, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Yang2 – Sun, Bright, Light

And this is the Yang2 of – Yin1 and – Yang2. Perfect, because today we saw Yin Yang Master 2! (not as good as the first, kind of long and boring.)

I don’t know what I’m going to do if they make a Yin Yang Master 3.

Date: August 30th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Tai4 – Peaceful

泰國 – Tai4 Guo2 – Peaceful Country — Thailand

Tonight we finally watched a Thai movie that Walde has been bringing over for ages: Last Life in the Universe. It was interesting, pretty good. But my favorite recent movie was 2LDK (2 bedrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen). 2LDK is the best movie you’ll ever see that was made on a bet.

Date: August 29th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
4 msgs

– Se4 – Rough, Grating

This word describes a certain texture of food that is unknown in English. Chinese seems to have lots of these, words for tastes and textures that just don’t translate. Certain numb sensations, itchy feelings on the sides of your tongue, food that gets stuck in your throat and makes your voice crack, all have words to describe them. It would be a fun project to catalog them all. is used to describe food that makes your mouth feel sort of rough and not as slippery as usual. Foods that are known to cause this: spinach! guava! cranberry juice! and according to Yvonne, Coca-Cola! (but not Diet Coke!) Can you think of the texture of all of those foods and pick out the common feeling of ? I can pretend I can.

Coming up with word-of-the-days is easy when Yvonne is around. Just listen to her and Jenny talk and pick out words you don’t understand. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel when you know as little Chinese as I do. Unfortunately, she goes back to New York, and back to school, tomorrow.

Date: August 28th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Ruan3 – Soft, Weak, Gentle

Today: the mystery of staleness! Jenny was telling Yvonne to wrap some cookies back up tight so they don’t “Yang2 Diao4″. Yvonne said “What?” Jenny said “you know, Yang2 Diao4. Go stale!” Yvonne decided Jenny was crazy. Apparently in Yvonne’s family food left out never goes “Yang2 Diao4″, it only ever 軟掉 – Ruan3 Diao4 – Goes Soft (cookies or crackers), or 硬掉 – Ying4 Diao4 – Goes Hard (bread or cake). She had never heard of “Yang2 Diao4″ before and didn’t think it was Chinese! Jenny is pretty sure that’s how her mother always said it, but doesn’t know how to write it. None of the online dictionaries have anything close.

TODO: solve this mystery.

Date: August 27th, 2004
Cate: Regular
1 msg

Bush, Mao

part of a continuing series

Date: August 26th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Peng2 – Friend

朋友 – Peng2 you3 – Friend

One of those questions from Yvonne I don’t quite know how to answer: “Are Americans hard to make friends with?”

Date: August 26th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
1 msg

– Feng1 – Wind, Custom, Fashion, Manner, Style

I wanted to watch My Tutor Friend, as recommended by James, but Walde didn’t have it with him. Instead we saw Windstruck, Jun Ji-Hyun’s latest. It sucked! Completely weak! Quite similar to My Sassy Girl (same director, same lead actress, same themes) but nowhere near as funny or interesting.

I’m also disappointed with the Chinese title for this one. My Sassy Girl was called 我的野蠻女友 – Wo3 De5 Ye3 Man2 Nu3 You3 – My Barbarian Girlfriend, and this movie is 野蠻師姐 – Ye3 Man2 Shi1 Jie3 – Barbarian Classmate. It’s like they’re advertising the fact that it’s just like My Sassy Girl right in the title. One of the number one giveaways that a movie stinks is when it is advertised as “if you liked X, you’ll LOVE Y!” or, even worse, “it’s like X mixed with Y!”

(by the way 師姐 is actually more specific: it means an older, female classmate.)

Date: August 25th, 2004
Cate: Regular
3 msgs

Kerry on the Daily

Katie has prepared, just for you, a transcript of John Kerry on the Daily Show last night. She also has some comments on the appearance which are interesting to me because I had the exact opposite impression! I thought Kerry came across as totally phony, he didn’t say anything substantive, and his attempts at humor were nails-on-the-chalkboard painful. I thought it was a huge missed opportunity for him.

Date: August 24th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
2 msgs

– Da2 – Reach, Attain, Convey, Express

山達基 – Shan1 Da2 Ji1 – Moutain Attain Foundation — Scientology

We went to a restaurant in New Haven and were rewarded with a windshield full of Scientology propoganda! Including two FREE tickets to a movie, shown at the New Haven Church of Scientology! “ORIENTATION: A SCIENTOLOGY® INFORMATION FILM” I’m not even kidding with the ® symbol. The bottom of the “ticket” has this disclaimer: “SCIENTOLOGY and the SCIENTOLOGY symbol are tradmarks and service marks owned by Religious Technology Center and are used with permission.”

(By the way, I’d like to congratulate Daniela Minutillo, who I don’t know, for making the Scientology enemies list. She used to always be the second hit in the early days of computer networks when I did vanity searches for ‘minutillo’. The first hit was always my uncle.)

I should also mention that the restaurant Yvonne took us to, Roomba, was SUPER GOOD! Expensive ($20+ entrees) but worth it.

Date: August 24th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
3 msgs

– Bi4 – Arm

I liked the second 獨臂刀 – Du2 Bi4 Dao1 – One Arm Sword — One Armed Swordsman way better than the first. I also like the way the two titles work in Chinese better than in English: we get “One Armed Swordsman” and “Return of the One Armed Swordsman”. Boring. They get 獨臂刀 – Du2 Bi4 Dao1 – One Arm Sword and 獨臂刀王 – Du2 Bi4 Dao1 Wang2 – One Arm Sword King!

But I’m still trying to figure out how a kung fu book can be burned so that only the instructions for the left hand remain.

Date: August 23rd, 2004
Cate: Meta

Spam-buster rewired by spammers to become spam-buster-buster

I just deleted a spam comment where the spammy words (the name of a drug and links to sites where you can buy it) had some of the characters encoded as entities, to foil simple keyword-based spam filters.

It’s funny because this exact technique has been used as a counter-measure to spam for quite some time to “safely” publish email addresses, on the theory that an automated email address harvester won’t be smart enough to resolve the entities.

(sounds like the same guy hit Dougal’s site too)

Date: August 22nd, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Sai1 – Block, Clog, Stuff, Squeeze In

塞車 – Sai1 Che1 – Clog Car — Traffic Jam (in Taiwan!)

堵車 – Du3 Che1 – Stop Up Car — Traffic Jam (in China!)

This is one of those things that is said differently in China and Taiwan. I don’t think I know enough to characterize how different Mandarin as spoken in China and Taiwan is. I get the sense that they’re pretty different, maybe even as different as British English and American English.

Date: August 21st, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Hui4 – Can, Possible, Assemble, Meet, Gather, Association, Group

奧林匹克 – Ao4 Lin2 Pi3 Ke4 – Olympic

運動 – Yun4 Dong4 – Move Action — Sports

奧運會 – Ao4 Yun4 Hui4 – Olympic Sport Meet — Olympic Games

Today was all tennis all the time! We got up around noon, and have been watching live tennis ever since. It was supposed to be over at 5 PM (midnight, Athens time) but it’s still going now, 7:40 PM here, 2:40 AM Athens time.

Gold medal point…
…and it’s all over! I’m not going to tell you who won, in case you want to watch on tape. (I only spoil bad movies.)

Date: August 21st, 2004
Cate: Regular
3 msgs

Dark Tower!

Very authentic flash version of Dark Tower! About the only thing it’s missing is the sound of the wheels inside the tower turning.

Posting this reminded me or the urban legend surrounding this game: Some random guy invented it, and sent the idea along with artwork and schematics to Milton Bradley who said “Thanks, but no thanks”. A while later the guy was horrified to find that MB had released his exact game! Various versions of this legend have the guy suing MB and either winning or losing. A few searches reveal that it really did happen! The original game was called “Triumph” and the two inventors, who had demonstrated it to MB, did sue MB for copying their idea (although it’s not clear how similar Dark Tower was to Triumph from the article) and won $737,058.10.

Date: August 21st, 2004
Cate: Geekism
4 msgs

Safari v1.2.5: faster, better, still no undo

I finally ran Software Update and got the latest Safari, v1.2.5. It seems much faster! The lag I used to have switching between tabs, and the slowness typing and scrolling are completely gone. Nice. But… THERE’S STILL NO UNDO! Typing in a textarea is absolutely treacherous. One accidental ⌘-A and all your text is irretrievably gone, reducing the usability of my 2004 Mac to that of a 1984 DOS-based word processor. Didn’t that lady throw that hammer through the scary guy on that big screen so I don’t have to deal with this?

And while you’re at it, make it so I can undo the closing of a tab, too.

Date: August 21st, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
2 msgs

– Dian4 – Shop, Store

I’m confused. My Chinese CDs say that 酒店 – Jiu3 Dian4 – Wine Shop means Hotel and 飯店 – Fan4 Dian4 – Rice Shop means Restaurant. But Jenny and all my dictionaries agree that 酒店 actually means Bar (which makes a lot more sense), and Jenny and Google say that 飯店 means Hotel. What gives?

Date: August 20th, 2004
Cate: Regular

WMD × √-1

My brain just exploded. (via)

Having failed to find banned weapons in Iraq, the CIA is preparing a final report on its search that will speculate on what the deposed regime’s capabilities might have looked like years from now if left unchecked, according to congressional and intelligence officials.

[...]

A U.S. intelligence official denied that political pressure was playing a role in shaping Duelfer’s report. “That’s nonsense,” the official said.

Date: August 19th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Wei1 – Danger

危險 – Wei1 Xian3 – Dangerous

情人 – Qing2 Ren2 – Passion Person — Lover

危險情人 – Wei1 Xian3 Qing2 Ren2 – Dangerous Lover — Stalker

Date: August 19th, 2004
Cate: Meta
7 msgs

jwz is blog-stalking me

I have determined that jwz, ex-hacker and now seller of beer, is stalking me, by posting things to his weblog that are eerily, alarmingly, intimidatingly similar to things I’ve posted on mine. The best advice on dealing with stalkers available says to keep a record of every incident, in detail, and to notify everybody you can, so I submit this evidence:

THE FIRST INCIDENT occured all the way back on January 5th, 2003. A week earlier, I posted this story, titled “I’d cry too”. Then on that day, jwz posted the same thing, except his was titled “you’d cry too”. Secret message? No, that’s ridiculous. It must be a simple, if unnerving, coincidence.

THE SECOND INCIDENT occured on August 16th, 2003. The day before I posted a story about radioactive wasps. I mentioned that “I, for one, welcome our new RADIOACTIVE WASP MASTERS”, and made a comment that jwz must be busy because he hadn’t posted it yet (by this time I had already noticed the stalking but was trying to laugh it off). Within 12 hours, my suspicions were confirmed, with a post by jwz called “yes yes, our new nuclear wasp masters, etc etc…”. I knew it.

THE THIRD INCIDENT occured on October 13th, 2003. My sumo-robot post. His sumo-robot post. Same image. Chilling! (note that my post came first: I post in EST, he in PST)

THE FOURTH INCIDENT occured on March 4th, 2004. My combat exoskeleton post, his combat exoskeleton post. Same story, same picture, AGAIN. The stalking had now entered its second year.

THE FIFTH INCIDENT occured on April 7th, 2004. My jewel-eye post, his jewel-eye post. My mind is still saying “just a coincidence, just a coincidence” but my gut is saying “RUN FOR YOUR LIFE”.

THE SIXTH INCIDENT occured on June 16th, 2004. My nine million angry bees post, the next day his nine million angry bees post, with the EXACT SAME LINK TEXT and EXACT SAME CHOICE OF BLOCKQUOTE!!!! It gets worse…

THE SEVENTH INCIDENT occured on July 19th, 2004. Four months earlier, I had found a gallery of photos of Japanese kids in Harajuku. Nothing happened until July, then to my horror jwz blogged it too. Nothing to worry about? That photo gallery, now shut down, contained hundreds of photos. How can you explain the fact that jwz chose two of the EXACT SAME PICTURES TO POST AS I? On that day, I seriously considered shutting down my weblog and going into hiding. It was especially ominous because I had just returned from San Francisco, where he lives. Was this his message to me? “I’ve been watching you…”

THE EIGHTH INCIDENT, and hopefully the final one, occured yesterday. My CirculaFloor post, his CirculaFloor post. Same picture. I’m really not even surprised any more. My fear has turned into a steadfast resolve.

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this is no coincidence, it MUST be intentional, and I think you can feel the malicious intention just as I can. So what’s a good way to deal with a stalker? Confront him in public, in his own space, turning the tables? jwz thought of that, a long time ago, disabling “anonymous” (non-LJ clique) comments on his site.

So instead, I have to post here, and call on my fellow bloggers to stand with me and say “jwz! The interweb does not tolerate your macho head-games. THIS WILL NOT STAND!!”

Date: August 19th, 2004
Cate: Otherwhere

Condensed China

Paul Frankenstein’s Condensed China: Chinese History for Beginners is good. That is all. (via)

Date: August 19th, 2004
Cate: Regular

GOOGoogajoob

Google suddenly is worth about 27 billion dollars — close to the size of General Motors, about a tenth the size of Microsoft. But does this mean their crazy auction failed? Their IPO price was $85, but the stock immediately rose to around $100. Did they leave lots of money on the table, consumed by middlemen?

Date: August 19th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
2 msgs

– Guo4 – Cross, Pass

I’m listening to these Chinese CDs to try to improve my speaking and especially my tones before we go to China. The thing is, they teach you how to speak like you’re from the mainland, which is a little different than how Jenny and her family speak, since they’re from Taiwan. If I speak the way the CDs teach, I sound really funny to them.

Today the CD taught me a new strange way to say later: 過一會兒 – Guo4 Yi1 Hui3 Er2 – Pass One Moment – Later. I’ve always said 等一下 – Deng3 Yi1 Xia4 to mean Wait A Moment or Later. A lot of the things they’re teaching me on these CDs have this “r” sound on the end, which I wrote above as . It’s apparently meaningless. Some dictionaries list it as “diminutive suffix”, and I remember finding some pretty good explanations before on why it’s there in mainland-Chinese but not Taiwan-Chinese. But right now I can’t find them! Next time.

Date: August 17th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
2 msgs

– Dui4 – Correct, Right, Proper, Face, Oppose, Treat

This is a powerful word. You need it to say 對不起 – Dui4 Bu4 Qi4 – Sorry, Excuse Me and to ask 對不對 – Dui4 Bu4 Dui4 – Right? and to say 對阿 – Dui4 A5 – Right, which is a really common interjection, at least for Taiwanese speakers of Mandarin, kind of like the way you might say a quick “yeah” over the phone to let the person on the other end know you’re still listening.

You also need it to say 對手 – Dui4 Shou3 – Oppose Hand — Adversary, Rival which is what Sun-Mi and Young-Mi from All About Eve are. I couldn’t believe yesterday that the internet didn’t contain a shot of them facing off, which they do like 18 times an episode, so I captured one myself. I had to circumvent Apple’s stupid disabling of the Grab utility when playing a DVD (simply by installing MPlayer) to do it.

Date: August 17th, 2004
Cate: Regular

Atomic Batteries!

Really! Atomic Batteries. I can’t wait! Recharge every few decades! (via)

Using radioactive isotopes as fuel, a tiny battery developed at Cornell University here could turn out to be an ideal power source for remote sensors or other small-scale systems. Cornell professor Amit Lal used microelectromechanical-systems (MEMS) technology to create a millimeter-size battery that can run for decades. The research team plans to scale the prototype to even smaller dimensions so that it could become a power source for MEMS.

[...]

The MEMS battery translates the stored energy in the radioactive isotope directly into the physical motion of a microscopic cantilever, enabling it to move MEMS components directly or to generate electricity for circuitry. Lal argues that atomic batteries are the best solution for “always on” sensors and other devices for long-term monitoring. His atomic battery was designed under a Darpa contract.

Date: August 17th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
7 msgs

– Ban4 – Half

We have now watched 一半 – Yi1 Ban4 – One Half — Half of All About Eve. 10 episodes down, 10 to go. It’s pretty good, but not great. My all time favorite is still Rooftop Room Cat (which you can download here, but only on weekends).

Date: August 16th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Kuo4 – Wide, Broad

My two favorite features of this house are the 廣闊Guang3 Kuo4 – Vast backyard, and the 小貓 – Xiao3 Mao1 – Little Cat — Kittens.

Date: August 15th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Luo3 – Naked

裸體 – Luo3 Ti3 – Naked Body — Naked

Date: August 14th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
8 msgs

– Gui3 – Ghost

吸血鬼 – Xi1 Xie3 Gui3 – Suck Blood Ghost — Vampire

Are you like me? Have you seen Wild Zero and liked it? Does your video store now carry Moon Child, and are you thinking you might like it too? STOP!

Starring the self-proclaimed “Norwegian vampire” Gackt and the slightly less strange Hyde, those two “post Visual-Kei” Japanese singers that you’ve heard so much about (at least if you’ve been reading Diluendo’s LiveJournal (that is, until she closed it down to non-LJ members)), it turns out to be a painfully lame and boring vampire buddy/love movie with fairly weak Matrix-style action scenes thrown in every once in a while in an attempt to keep you awake. Since you are going to take my advice and not watch it, I’ll give away the whole movie in this plot summary: It’s your standard boy meets vampire, boy is fatally wounded, vampire bites boy saving his life (un-life?) and making him a vampire too, boy and vampire get tired of life (death?) and incinerate themselves on a beach watching a sunrise story. Dime a dozen.

Oh, while I’m here, I should mention that is the character that the “ghost fighter” has on his head and cape in Invincible Obsessed Fighter.

Date: August 12th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Quan2 – Perfect, Complete, Whole

全像 – Quan2 Xiang4 – Complete Image — Hologram

Date: August 12th, 2004
Cate: Regular
1 msg

One step closer to the Holodeck

This item is a few days old, but today is the first time I came across a video demonstration, in the comments on the Slashdot story.

Did you ever wonder how Captain Jean-Luc Picard could walk and walk and walk inside that tiny Holodeck and never bump into the walls? The Star Trek writers, if pressed, muttered some explanation involving tractor beams and replicators. (Just like the Heisenberg Compensator: How does it work? “They work just fine, thank you.”) But the researchers at the VR Lab at the University of Tsukuba in Japan solved the problem, for real, with only 21st century technology. Stone knives and bear skins? No! Moving tiles! They skitter around on the floor, shadowing the movements of your feet. As you walk, they move into place just in time for your feet to land, and then slide across the floor, matching your pace. It’s a very early implementation, the speed is limited, but I think they’re on the right track.

Date: August 12th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Zhang1 – Stretch, Spread, (a surname)

You are cute dinosaur. I am cute dinosaur. 張善為 – Zhang1 Shan4 Wei2 – Zhang Shan Wei is cute dinosaur.

We are all cute dinosaur!

Date: August 12th, 2004
Cate: Otherwhere

We are all cute dinosaur!

For some reason I really get a kick out of this Chinese version of “Walk the Dinosaur” (you know, that old song, “open the door, get on the floor, everybody walk the dinosaur”) by 張善為 (Zhang Shan Wei): Listen (real media)Lyrics (Chinese)Listen to the rest of the album, he also has a version of “Kung Fu Fighting” – Buy the whole album

Here’s a rough translation of the chorus, words in italics are sung in English:

1 2 3 4 first turn, turn head! 5 6 7 8 start to dinosaur!
Relax your butt, get ready to twist! Pretend you have the tail of dinosaur!
Clear your throat, stand up straight! Breathe fire to the sky dinosaur!
One more two more, the whole world together! We are all cute dinosaur!

Date: August 11th, 2004
Cate: Geekism

Value Added (and subtracted… just a little)

Like your JavaDocs with community annotations? And with advertising? Then JDocs.com is for you!

(combined with the super bionic searching capability of javadocs.org this would be even cooler)

Date: August 11th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– La4 – 12th Month (Lunar Year)

臘腸 – La4 Chang2 – 12th Month Intestine — Sausage

臘腸狗 – La4 Chang2 Gou3 – Sausage Dog — Dachshund

We finally got to see Toto and Effie’s dog “Frank” today. It’s cute! About kitten sized, runs around a lot, too small to cause any real mischief, even too small to jump up on the couch. But that doesn’t stop him from trying, all night if you let him.

Tomorrow: Coming soon: We are all cute dinosaur. (the site I was going to link to is down!)

Date: August 10th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
1 msg

– Yi4 – Remember

記憶 – Ji4 Yi4 – Memory

From the end of a hypnotic commercial for some sort of memory improvement course, on KISSRADIO:

Ling Ba Ling, Chi Yi, Chi Yi Chi Yi (080 717171)
“Trust me, you can remember” (spoken in English)
Ling Ba Ling, Ji Yi, Ji Yi Ji Yi (080, memory memory memory)

I think I’ll remember that phone number forever.

Tomorrow: We are all cute dinosaur.

Date: August 9th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Lu4 – Heron

蒼鷺 – Cang1 Lu4 – Blue Heron

We went for a bike ride today and we think we saw a Great Blue Heron in the old canal next to the path. He was standing very still on a log that was right in the middle of the water, waiting, I suppose, for fish. We watched him for a while. He was very still and every once in a while glanced at the bikers and roller bladers passing by, but mostly ignored us. We hoped he might catch a fish or something while we were there, but the most interesting thing he did was scratch himself.

Date: August 8th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Xian4 – Current, Present, Emerge

現代 – Xian4 Dai4 – Current Era — Modern

But if you’re talking about art, or style, or the kind of stuff they sell here, you can call it 摩登 – Mo2 Deng1 – Modern.