Friday, November 30, 2007

We will, we will shoot you.

I had been looking for this image for a while before I found it on Indrani Soemardjan's fLIckr page (in July). It is considered a Stick Figure in Peril as well as a Sign. It is one of my favorite signs of all time, along with the oversized hangman's noose poster that once welcomed people to Malaysia by reminding them of the local death penalty for carrying drugs. I guess I like it because of the multilingualism, the naked threat of state aggression, and incongruity of the juxtaposition of the two. It is nice of Indrani to make it a less restrictive (CC) license, since it is a photo of a public sign, after all. I might have my own copy on film somewhere.

It's been a good long while since I saw this sign in Singapore. I remember this sign as black or red on a white background, with the unarmed stick man being shot in the back and raising his arms as if startled to be shot without warning. That could have been an earlier version of this sign, or the original brain cells that held the memory may have been replaced and passed the memory on in altered form. Did my memory morph, or did the sign?

The Indrani family blog got a spate of hits during a moment of fame when Rani posted her failed attempts to create a (surplus) breast-milk-based cheese. That's probably been attempted before if not blogged. Actually, since that time, I have heard of an organization in California that donates mothers' milk. I think I may have seen it on cbs news. I wonder if it is Laughing Mothers' Milk. It sounds like Concerned Citizens's Milk to me, probably sour.

"Protected Place" might be translated better as "Secure Area". Of course, if you are being threatened with being shot, either in the back or in the chest, you don't really feel either secure or protected.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nezushiki photos

I'm enjoying over 1000 pictures singlemindedly taken of Nezu by Nezushiki. These are scenes and places that I often see and walk by (like the VW!), as I walk in Nezu one to three mornings every week. Nezushiki has a great eye for the place.
I often walk up S-zaka in front of Nezu Jinja and always see this door. The great old house has holes in the windows and walls. The owner usually has communist party posters on the wall outside, a nice old commie, I guess. I've taken this shot of Nezu Jinja's inner gate over the wall many times until the foliage got too high this year. I like the stationmaster's aquarium in Nezu station. Gonna start counting and naming those fish.
Other ones I like (but sometimes don't recognize the location):
oMatsuri masks
old warning signs on an old wall regarding Earthquake, fires, and other safety measures.
Jan 21 2006 snowfall
funky sidestreets and alleyways
baikinman in stone in front of a…temple?
Most of these pictures have been viewed once??? That's a shame. Mottainai! Thank you, Nezushiki!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blogger's Template

I found that the (not-so-)new non-standard drag-and-droppable Blogger template is not as unfriendly as I thought. The only really unfriendly thing it does is drop most of the stuff in your sidebar when you upgrade, but not because it is a straightjacket format with incomprehensible code. Just to be mean and force you to think about cleaning up as a default setting, I guess. Everything is pretty straightforward, even the code. They just added the drag-and-droppable layer for ease-of-use and that complicated the underlying code a little, but they let you get in to tweak it.

Right now I want to do something about the font(s). I have a thing about ones, lower-case els, and upper-case Is being distinguishable. They should not all look the same, in fact, they should look different as if the reader were Mr OCR himself. The badly-designed grapheme sets reminds me of a typewriter that my grandmother had where the l also functioned as the 1. (111Ill lIl1s this is a test)

Update: I thought it was going to be Courier, but it looks like I should stick to Georgia or Verdana with the occasional resort to Trebuchet for the purposes of distinguishing I, l, & 1 as in the admittedly highly hypothetical and unlikely case of publishing and interview with a musician called 1Ill1 of a band called the KimJongIl1s. Those are just the fonts Blogger lets you choose now, but I assume it should be possible to change it to Lucida Sans Typewriter – a champion at this particular task despite some strangeness – by editing the html directly. Later. I'd like to meet Lucida-san and thank her personally for designing it right, maybe find out where I can buy her typewriter.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Blog-Ger Temp-late

I took some inspiration from a hexagonal lined paper at Incompetech and made a new header banner. That was one of the things holding me back from upgrading my template. The weatherpixies, clocks, counters, and anything else I can scrape out of the ruins of the old html will be back if and when possible.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Do no evil. We have server farms for that. (GoogleWatch'07)

I was shocked last month to find out that when I clicked the "Share this calendar" button in Google Calendar, a personal e-mail, in the first person, appearing to come from me, was written to the person I designated without any dialog box or confirmation of any sort by me.

I just received a similar notification and it seems that the poorly worded and implemented old message may have been retired; Google Calendar has changed their old obnoxious first-person impersonation notification e-mail to one less offensive. Either that, or their invitation e-mail from members to non-members is written by a moron, (engineer;-), or cyborg, and their letters from members to members are written by a human or more sophisticated cyborg. Either interpretation could be correct, and I wouldn't know for sure unless I sent a test invitation to someone to find out.

Note also the abrupt change from first person to third person, as if the google microchip implanted in my brain wasn't satisfied with just forcing me to write and send the mail, but had to override and repeat in its own voice that the being formerly known as "I" was recommending this service.

The old message:

Subject: XYZ recommends that you use Google Calendar
Date: October 11, 2007 6:53 PM JST

I've been using Google Calendar to organize my calendar, find interesting events, and share my schedule with friends and family members. I thought you might like to use Google Calendar, too.
XYZ recommends that you use Google Calendar.

To accept this invitation and register for an account, please visit:


Google Calendar helps you keep track of everything going on in your life and those of the important people around you, and also help you discover interesting things to do with your time.
Here's the newer style message:
Subject: J has shared a calendar with you
November 10, 2007 10:10 PM JST


We are writing to let you know that J has given you access to view events on the Google Calendar called "J's… ".

We have automatically added this calendar to your Google Calendar account. You can hide or completely remove this calendar at any time.

- The Google Calendar Team
View Your Calendar .

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Manhole Covers

I stumbled across the links to manhole covers at Pink Tentacle the other day. I was happy to see the fLickR photo pool. I have taken a few such photos myself, but I always felt a little stupid doing it, like a tourist who photographs all the post boxes, fire hydrants, telephone poles, and so on.

Two photos I had taken were at Tokyo University, where the waterworks bear the imprint of the Imperial University, or Tei(koku)Dai(gaku). That runs top to bottom, and Ge-Sui (Under-Water) runs right to left, imperialist style.

The one that follows that says Tokyo Imperial University, fully spelled out, with the character Den, for electron, 'lecticity, lightning, etc in the middle.

I thought that it was interesting how the waterworks of empires always survive the empires. That may hold for some electrical systems, too. Not sure how PVC piping will affect that equation.

I see that Pink Tentacle's post was picked up by BoingBoing. My two ¥en: search google images for the Japanese expression (mannho-ru no futa), マンホールの蓋, instead, to get away from the derivative links and get closer to Japanese sources of such photographs.

I am uploading two other contributions here.