Monthly Archives: January 2009


Mustard and hamsters – describing airline food

This is an excerpt taken from what is one of the funniest complaint letters I have ever read:

…I’ll try and explain how this felt. Imagine being a twelve year old boy Richard. Now imagine it’s Christmas morning and you’re sat their with your final present to open. It’s a big one, and you know what it is. It’s that Goodmans stereo you picked out the catalogue and wrote to Santa about.

Only you open the present and it’s not in there. It’s your hamster Richard. It’s your hamster in the box and it’s not breathing…

To read the rest of what a less-than-satisfied passenger of a Virgin Atlantic flight had to say about the inflight food, and to see pictures of the offending food itself, click HERE.   🙂

And, if you’re feeling curious about more airline meals in general, check out THIS site.

Sights & Sounds

Youtube video on creation of Katana blades

I came across this while reading about Katana on Wikipedia and thought it was really amazing – I hope I can see a real katana one of these days!


Knife hunting in Kappabashi (2008)

Around September of last year, I took Josh and Sir Niles to Kappabashi in search of a knife.  Not just any knife, but rather the mythical 777 times-folded legendary Kusanagi blade.  Well… not quite.  Actually Josh’s grandfather had asked him to get a good quality sushi knife.  After asking around, I was told that Kappabashi (otherwise known as the Kitchen Town) would be the place to check and so off we went.

Kappabashi certainly deserves its reputation as a “Kitchen Town” as you can probably find any kitchen-related item  you could need in one of the many shops that line the street.  As it happens, we also found a really exquisite knife.  The shop owner assured us it had at least 100 layers (if I recall correctly), and it was one of the last blades they sold that had a handle made out of deer horn (apparently such practices are now outlawed?)

It was a beautiful item, and below are some of the pictures Josh took of it.

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Oh, and by the way – kappa statues are just weird… see the rest of the Kappabashi pictures below!

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Humor Sights & Sounds

Fear the Bucktoothed Pink Rabbit!

Came across these pictures I took of Josh (the friend, not brother) at Tokyu Hands and knew I had to put them up!

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I had accompanied him there whilst he was doing some shopping for his family (ended up getting some Star Wars noren for my family as well!) and we came across this display of costumes (I think these were in preparation of Halloween).  He tried them on, I took pictures – and here they are for all to enjoy! 😛 I think they came out well!

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For anyone interested, this was at the Tokyu Hands store beside Takashimaya in Shinjuku.  Tokyu Hands is pretty good at having a nice assortment of items, ranging from craft materials, to halloween costumes, to racing bicycles.  Not always the cheapest of places (especially for any brand name items) but their wide assortment of items usually makes up for that.



Pretty handle!

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Just a random picture I took (sneakily) on the train of an umbrella someone was holding – just thought the rose handle was pretty 🙂


Jeremy, Janine, Jericho, Jennifer, J… oh forget it.

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Just read about a woman giving birth to octuplets – EIGHT babies – yesterday.  That is just amazing – but I have to say I hope that doesn’t happen when I decide to have kids!  2 kids… 3 kids… 4 at absolute most is ok, but no more.

I love children, but the thought of having 8 of my own would drive me bonkers.  My mom already confuses the names of me and my brothers – and there’s “only” 4 of us!  Plus, the costs involved – worrying about putting them through school, feeding, clothing, housing… 🙁

I can’t imagine what life for the new family is going to be like, going from a family of 2 to a family of 10, but I do wish them all the best – certainly don’t think there’s going to be much of a dull moment for all concerned 🙂


Good Luck, Mr. Obama

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As I type this, there are about 2 hours left before President-elect Obama steps up to take the oath office, becoming the 44th president of the United States.

I’ve never been one for politics, but the infectious excitement present on the internet (don’t own a TV 😉 ) is catching. It is indeed a momentous occasion – the first Africa-American president of the US.  However, the progress of racial equality almost takes second stage to the the tasks that Obama will need to take on as soon as he steps into the Oval Office.

Possibly the most pressing task he faces is that of guiding the country through what is the worst economic crisis in decades, one whose fallout is not only limited to American shores, but has spread to affect global economic market worldwide. Over 11,000,000 people are unemployed in the US (or roughly 7.2% of the population); banks, enterprises, and businesses of all kinds that haven’t already failed are struggling to stay afloat.  He also has to deal with ongoing war in Iraq (something by the way, that is being estimated to cost the United States around $3 trillion – that is 3,000,000,000,000), fixing the Social Security and Medicare systems, and much more.  Frankly, the weight of the expectations surrounding this man scares me.  The American public hope and expect so much from him that I don’t know how he can NOT be experiencing some trepidation at the work that lies before him.  

It’s a safe bet to say that most people will be glad to see the current administration on its way out.  However, it is hard for me to quantifiably judge George W. Bush’s legacy.  I don’t think that the chaos he leaves behind is entirely his fault; certainly I feel that the blame for the financial fiasco lies more on the heads of the greedy bankers and executives that chose to pursue the ever-inflating trail of dollars rather than practice common sense.  On the other hand, his constant persuit of the “War on Terror” has cost the US taxpayer trillions of dollars and thousands of lives.  As one who is not well-versed on the ins and outs of politics (at least, beyond the news bites and articles I stumble across), I feel it is not for me to pass down judgement on GWB’s actions.  I believe that he came to the office with good intentions, but likely succumbed in many ways to the arrogance that came from the power offered by his position – something I hope that Obama will better resist.  

Hindsight of course is twenty-twenty, and I recall 4 years ago how enthusiastically the American populace embraced GWB’s re-election, seeking a strong leader in the wake of the 9-11 attacks.  Today, most people are happy to see him go.  I personally think that we won’t be able to judge GWB’s legacy for a while yet – it remains to be seen what the state of Iraq is like in, say, the next 5-6 years.  Should that country be a strong, stable, and independent nation, I believe history will look a little more kindly on GWB’s decision to initiate the “War on Terror” – or not.    But back to Obama.

Barack Obama faces a long and difficult road ahead of him, and I hope that he will be able to accomplish even half of what everyone expects from him.  I worry that if Americans don’t see a “quick fix” forthcoming, that fear and uncertainty will cause further tremors in an already unstable economy, bringing about more downturns.  I worry that the enormous stimulus plan (all $775 BILLION of it) that Obama is pushing for is merely going to devalue the dollar and push the American nation further into debt.  I worry… well, I worry a lot.  I just feel that the expectations that Americans have of Obama are too high and unrealistic.

I do admire his bravery and his apparent steadiness though.  In the face of so much pressure and expectations, not only from the American people but from governments and nations around the world, he seems remarkably calm.  He will undoubtedly face many challenges, both on a professional and personal level (another thing that worries me is that there are too many crackpots out there who will try to attack him or his family simply because of race) and I sincerely hope that he is up to taking on those challenges.  

Good luck Mr. Obama – America is in your care for the next 4 years.  I hope and pray you are up to the task.




Cat Matrix! (or, really cute puppies and a cat)

Tweaks & Tech

Google Chrome tweaks – Accessing Hotmail

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  Last night while troubleshooting Meg’s computer, I learned that Hotmail does not appear to work in Chrome (as of build  You are able to log on to Windows Live, and view your inbox, but are unable to click on any of the messages.  That is rather bizarre, and I don’t know whether the fault lies with the Google or Microsoft.

Personally I like Firefox at work with the NoScript plugin for security, and like Chrome for use at home due to its speed.   Also, I don’t use hotmail (prefer GMail) so it took me a little while to figure this particular puzzle out.

The solution that seems to have solved the trick involves the following steps:

  • Close chrome, making sure no instances are running
  • Go to your desktop (or wherever your shortcut to Chrome is located), and right click on the Chrome shortcut, choosing “properties”
  • When the properties box comes up, look for the “Target” field and paste the following after \chrome.exe:

–user-agent=”Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/525.19 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1 Safari/525.19″

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Two points to be aware of:

  1. Make sure there is a space between chrome.exe and the text you paste (for example: \chrome.exe –user-agent….)
  2. Make sure there are actually TWO hyphens before the word “user” (ie [hyphenhyphen]user-agent, NOT just [hyphen]user-agent)

After you’ve pasted that line after chrome.exe, hit OK, and you should be set!  Double-clicking on the Chrome shortcut should bring up Chrome normally and you should now be able to access the site and logon to check your mail without any problems.

Hopefully this issue will be resolved fairly soon…

Source: Google Chrome Release Blog