Out of the Closet: The Joy of Ear Picking

Dating a Vietnamese woman has been an exercise in cultural exploration, punctuated by the occasional insight that there are way better ways to do some things than I previously knew.  One example is the cutting (and frequent consumption) of fruit.  I love mango, but I’d have eaten a lot more of it growing up if I knew how to easily cut it into a manageable snack without completely coating my hands and forearms in mango juice.   Another way my life has been enriched, though I now realize I took it for granted until I was reminded by this recent Boingboing post, is the discovery of a tool the Vietnamese call a ‘danh từ’ and the Japanese call a ‘mimikaki‘.

A mimikaki is an ear pick.  It’s basically a very tiny spoon with the bowl bent inwards, ideal for scooping and scraping the dredge off the sides of your ear canal.  In Japan, it is considered an act of intimacy to pick someone else’s ears for them.  Parents do it for their kids, wives do it for their husbands.  I’m not sure the Vietnamese share the experience with each other, but they certainly have the tools as standard equipment in their bathrooms and travel kits.  I’ve been given two of these things as gifts from thoughtful people who realized that as a barbaric American, I might not own one. 

 
Tools of the trade

Until you have this tool, you just don’t realize how inadequate a Q-tip really is.  It’s tough to go back.  Q-tips start to feel like they’re just mashing the contents of your ear, compressing those contents to the sides of the ear canal.  Using a real ear pick feels like you are scratching a hard to reach place, i.e., very good.    I’ve been looking to see if I can find reasonably priced mimikakis for sale on the web, and the only one I’ve found is this Sanrio one. Be warned, however, that the practice can be extremely addictive.  Purchase this at your own risk.

Humongous Update

As you can see, there have been some big changes around here.

…see that’s sort of a joke and it sort of isn’t. I updated JesusH’s backend from WordPress 1.2 to WordPress 2.0.2 this evening, so some of the junk on this site may be a bit iffy until I get a chance to check everything out. Current casualties appear to be:

  • it looks like a whole bunch of this site’s punctuation may have been replaced by question marks for some reason – some sort of unhappy encoding issue when the database was updated. Not sure how widespread this is yet, but its an aggravation.
  • The links area on the left is formatted in a somewhat borked fashion.

At the moment, that appears to be it as far as issues. As you can probably see, our template made it through the upgrade without too many problems. I have rehacked the new code so that our anti spam comment system should still work fine.

My main purpose for the upgrade was to get the main codebase up to ‘stock’ (we had a fair number of ugly hacks in the old one) and to benefit from some of the platform updates that WordPress has added along the way (namely the new presentation and plugin schemes). I’m interested in going through and polishing up some of the rough edges of this site, but I wanted everything to be current before messing with that.

As an aside, I’ve turned on search engine friendly links for the page articles (which has been a pretty longstanding irritation). This should help peoples’ articles find better placements on search engines once everything percolates through Google.

Please send me an e-mail if something appears to be broken. Word up.

Heat Vision and Jack

Via Digg. Heat Vision and Jack was a pilot directed by Ben Stiller in 1999 (unless the description is somehow lying – which it could be). Anyway, it truly does star Jack Black as an astronaut who has flown too close to the sun (and is therefore bestowed superhuman intelligence), Owen Wilson as the brain of his former roommate (which has somehow been transferred into a motorcycle), and Ron Silver as himself (actor slash psychotic NASA agent). It’s 30 minutes of complete madness.

Watch it, playa

This is what Wankel had in mind when he invented Web 2.0.

Bold Immigration Reform

Quoth George Bush:

Comprehensive immigration reform begins with securing our borders. Since I took office, we’ve increased funding for border security by 66 percent, and the Department of Homeland Security has caught and sent home nearly 6 million illegal immigrants. To improve security at the border, we’re hiring thousands more Border Patrol agents. We’re deploying new technology, like infrared cameras and unmanned aerial vehicles, to help our agents do their job. And we’re installing physical barriers to entry, like fences in urban areas.

We’re also working to end the unwise practice of catch-and-release. For decades, many illegal immigrants were released back into society soon after they were caught, because we did not have enough detention space. So we’re adding more beds so we can hold the people we catch, and we’re reducing the time it takes to send them back home. When illegal immigrants know they will be caught and sent home, they will be less likely to break the rules, and our immigration system will be more orderly and secure. We’re making good progress, but we have much more work ahead, and we will not be satisfied until we have control of our border.

More money, more fences, more agents, more robot planes: that’s a bold, unprecendented solution to the issue of illegal immigration. I especially like the part about adding more beds at our detention facilities so that our illegal immigrants don’t have to keep spending the night in snake-infested canyons. Those new beds will no doubt serve as a powerful deterrant for illegal immigrants in coming months.

I fully expect that this insightful new blueprint for immigration reform will solve the problem of illegal immigration by Christmas. Thank you, US Government.

TGJHSSF Submission 3: Packing For The Trip Ahead

He’d left his Torino parked carefully in the garage, windshield just kissing the tennis ball on a string he’d measured twice and hung from the termite-gnawed ceiling. The black polyester suit, purchased from Sears, Roebuck, hung back in the closet, next to the red leather jacket he never wore and one of her kimonos. There was cold meatloaf in the fridge, but he didn’t want it.

Water knocked around a kettle, heating, rattling. If the kettle broke, as they sometimes did, Carroll had another two still in their boxes in the garage. Wal-Mart had had a sale. It usually took two minutes for the water to boil, if he started from the hot tap, a little more if he did two cups for tea. Some said it was better to start from cold, but he didn’t see the point. If it was going to end up hot, it could start hot, he liked to say. There was no great art to fixing Sanka, but he had his routine.

Routine, he thought, bending to rest his arms on his knees, head in his hands, as he sat and watched the clock tick around. Things will be different now. The water boiled. Mixing powder with water, stirring, pouring a bit of milk and a little sweetener, he took his mug back to the table, beneath the glow of the double incandescent bulb. Bill had asked if he’d want company, what with his situation and all, but Carroll had waved his old friend away.

No, he’d said, I’ll be fine. Just need a little time to get things in order, but we’ll have lunch next week, like always.
Continue reading “TGJHSSF Submission 3: Packing For The Trip Ahead”

Attention Sacks!

Dear friend of JesusH: you will note that some fool has put one of those flashy Flickr things on the sidebar of this site. You can very easily add your own junk to this sidebar for all to admire by creating your own Flickr account and signing up to the JesusH group which has been conveniently created by the enigmatic lad Andres. Imagine! This is sort of like the JesusH Short Story Festival (which is still commencing, praise be unto it) only you don’t have to rely on some jerkoff to actually post your junk.

There aren’t any rules or anything yet as far as what you should post and what you shouldn’t. Please feel free to post whatever you want and we’ll figure out how to make it cooler later.

KT Tunstall

Hi. Have you heard of KT Tunstall? Phet has been listening to her a lot recently. She has pretty good songs and stuff. Phet has been telling me a bunch of stuff about how Mrs. Tunstall plays her concerts in a one-woman band sort of configuration, using “a guitar and a foot pedal”. When I responded that I didn’t have any concept of what that meant, Phet showed me this video from Mrs. Tunstall’s website (it’s MySpace, so you know it has to be off the hook). I have to say, this is all sort of intriguing.

KT Tunstall

In any case, KT Tunstall is touring and is going to be playing a show on 5/11 at House of Blues in lovely San Diego. I think we’re going to get us some tickets, since, you know: guitar and foot pedal.

PS. Please let me know if this video doesn’t work in whatever browser you use. I turned the autostart off, since autostart is bootywhack.

PPS. Sometimes I have to “jiggle my browser window” to get this to work. Sort of like… you know. Anyway, you might give that a try if you are having issues.

Vegetales

I’ve noticed that when I ask questions of our dear readers they tend to be a little geek-specific and go unanswered. For a change of pace, here’s a totally non-nerdy question.

I like most types of vegetables, but I’m not much of a cook. Generally I’ll dump some frozen vegetables in a microwave-safe bowl, add some sort of spice and salt, cover them up, and nuke them for 10 minutes or so. I was never all that excited about the results of this process taste-wise, and I’m now actively tired of it.


Cooked.

How should I be preparing vegetables? Crunchy’s good as long as it isn’t innundated with fat and calories and whatnot, and I’ll buy fresh or otherwise change my existing methods if I have to. Anyone have any good recipes they’d like to share?

Tossers

While looking at other photos tagged with PeaseJay’s NikonD70, I ran across an interesting and large Flickr group. The Camera Toss group is, apparently, a bunch of crazy folk who throw their oft expensive camera equipment into the air to see what pictures come back. I imagine these are the same people who had the Bunsen Burner taken away from them in Chem.

tossing a camera
I’m going to regret this later.

Hey Party People (in the house)

Hi JesusH. I recently got a new camera, but I don’t really want to talk about that now. What I did want to ask is if if you good folks who tend to follow JesusHish stuff use any of the photo sharing sites? I’ve been dorking around some with flickr (account name peasejay), and was curious if some of you other fellas want to somehow group your online pictures with ours so we can all share them via this site? Is anyone else interested in this? Are you people already members of flickr or some competing site? Please share.

KIT! Have a great summer!

TGJHSSF Submission 2: Hizoku’s Last Ride

Jemifus stood facing the parking lot of Ma and Pa Pease’s Rockin River Lodge for what seemed like an eternity. Inside, his destiny awaited. Actually, his destiny had awaited him for 18 months, and would have to await a bit longer. Jemifus stood frozen by the sight of Hizoku, his 1999 Honda Rebel, the identifying decals long obscured by thick dust muddied by occasional mists from the nearby Columbia river.

Not his Rebel, Jemifus sternly corrected himself. He’d never leave that magnificent machine sitting in a dusty lot if he had any say in it. He longed to ride her once more, to feel the wind in his hair, to fulfill her purpose in *being*. He couldnt bear to imagine leaving without her again. So he stood, arms akimbo, inhaling the exhaust of the retreating Greyhound bus.

His chest heaved as his breathing came in hard bursts, his lungs seemingly weighed on by an invisible force. Perhaps it was the memory of what had happened here. Or it could have been the envelope containing $460 his life savings folded into his front jeans pocket. Or, yeah, he supposed it could be the cloud that the bus had just spewed onto him. Whatever it was, Jemifus knew he had to get control of his bodily functions if he were to have any hope to succeed at what he had come to do.
Continue reading “TGJHSSF Submission 2: Hizoku’s Last Ride”

Hug your cable modem

My internet connection has been whack all week. I started writing up a detailed technical how-to that would demonstrate a.) the symptoms and a suggested fix and b.) my extreme cleverness at deftly troubleshooting my system. However, my desire to go eat some cake (like right now, man) precludes my ability to finish such an involved article. Thus, I will dispense with b.) and just commence with a.).

Symptoms: Your internet connection through your cable modem is erratic when connecting to sites and very slow loading images on web pages. You are very frustrated. When you call Cox customer support, they have you run a ping test through your cable modem and tell you that your computer is connecting to the network just fine. The problem is a system misconfiguration with your computer and that you can, should you choose to do so, go straight to hell.

Suggested resolution: Congratulations! Your gray-market cable modem rental from Cox is broken. Do the following: go to your friendly neighborhood Fry’s and buy a cheapass Best Data cable modem for $70. Also buy some new ethernet cables since yours are old and have been chewed up by rats (don’t be a jackass – replace your stupid cables even if you don’t think you need to). I got Cat 6 cables since they are one Cat higher than Cat 5. Take all your junk home and hook it up. Your cable modem totally won’t work since the Cox network doesn’t recognize your new cable modem. Call Cox. Laugh while the stupid computer operator tries repeatedly (and apologetically) for your new cable modem to be magically recognized. When you are transferred to the operator, give them the mac address and the serial number of your new cable modem. Wait two seconds while they input this information. Your network now sort of works. Go ahead and tell the Cox operator that you don’t want their stupid rental any more (and they, if they choose to do so, can eat a fatty). If you have further problems, restart your cable modem, router and computer a bunch of times until everything works. Enjoy.

The above procedure made my computer go from a erratic, unusable connection and average ping to ns1.sd.cox.net of 44 ms to an extremely stable, badass connection with an average ping to ns1.sd.cox.net of 11 ms. Thank you for your support during this difficult time.

Lively Poker Interjections

I’ve played four or five nights in a home game that my buddy Han sets up, featuring a bunch of Asian dudes and one large white guy (when I’m there, anyway).

These guys are a lot of fun to play with. They’re pretty good players–compared to me anyway–but they don’t take the game all that seriously. One of the things I enjoy most is the catchphrases they throw around the table. In no particular order:

  • They’re always talking about how their hands are suited and connected, which of course means they’ve got cards of the same suit that can be used in a straight. Tonight, I folded 9c 5c when I only had enough $$$ left for one more hand, which was probably my biggest mistake of the night. I’ve got to get in on that suited and connected action.
  • I’ll often hear what have I done? when someone folded a hand that would have made something with the flop. I especially enjoy it when two or more people are saying it (in similarly anguished tones) at once.
  • Late in the game, anyone with a short stack is routinely and repeatedly advised to act now, before the escalating blinds eat their chips alive. People will also say this when they call. It’s like an infomercial with an accent.
  • When short stack is pushed around by someone with more money, they’ll frequently refer to their needing to live to die another day before folding. I don’t know where “fight” turned into “die”, but I really think the phrase has been improved for it.

Finally, I think Suited and Connected would make a great band name.

TGJHSSF Submission 1: The Coast Starlight

Windy’s father’s Honda Shadow was found a thousand miles from home near the Colombia River in Astoria, Oregon, in late June, 1984. According to the police report and Windy’s mother’s accounts, the motorcycle was lying abandoned on its side next to the interstate. Except for the heavily-scratched “Shadow 500” decal on its side cover and a fine coating of sludgy sap kicked up by the tires of passing lumber trucks, Mike Watanabe’s bike was in perfect condition. The sheriff who found the motorcycle even said off-hand that he had felt tempted to hose it off and take it home to keep or sell.

Though all the sheriffs and police officers in Clatsop County were alerted to the missing person report, no one saw any sign of Windy’s father again. Three years after the Shadow was found, Windy’s mother wheeled it out of the garage and sold it to a young man who wanted to take it cross-country. The young man was a college dropout and had had very little money, but Mayumi Watanabe felt compelled to purge her old life from her new and thus, exchanged her missing husband’s most prized possession for a manila envelope containing $453.00. In return for the heavily discounted price, the young man was never told of the motorcycle’s inauspicious history. In his glee, he told Mayumi he would name the bike after her. She declined the offer. “Name it after your girlfriend,” she said, and closed the screen door.
Continue reading “TGJHSSF Submission 1: The Coast Starlight”

The Great JesusH Short Story Festival: Commenced

Holy Croce, is it March already? March, 2006!1? My how time flies!

a battle of wits
Me and King Brien, in better times

First, a brief apology for not posting these sooner – see, I was engaged in a battle of wits with the mischievous King Brien of the Little People. For those who haven’t been in a battle of wits with a leprechaun king before, it basically consists of several months of drinking while improvising nonsensical limericks about drinking and gay cowboy movies. Long story short, he ended up tricking me into giving him all my gold. Then he turned me into a goat and took considerable advantage of my body. I mean, I’m not trying to make excuses here (there is, of course, no excuse), but I’m just trying to explain what I’ve been up to.

Sorry, I forgot what we were talking about… ah yes, the Great JesusH Short Story Festival. For those who don’t recall, the specifications for the Short Story Festival were as follows:

  • Any fool can participate.
  • Stories can be any length, in any style, and can be about anything.
  • Stories will not be edited prior to publication.
  • 1st Place winner of the Short Story Festival gets a magnificent prize.
  • Stories must contain all the following elements to be eligible for the fabulous prize:
    1. A red leather jacket.
    2. An envelope containing $453.00.
    3. This line: Excuse me, sir, but Ive lost my glasses. Is this the train to Denver?
    4. A wrinkled photograph of Grandma Moses.
    5. An abandoned motorcycle near the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon.

So yeah. Basically, the way that this is going to go down is that I’ll go ahead and post a submission every couple of days, so y’all have a chance to truly absorb the greatness of each. Then, after all submissions have been posted, the JesusH Elders (who have never been seen, but merely spoken of in hushed whispers) will hand down an ultimate ruling on who wins. The Elders have relayed to me via undead carrier pigeon that your reader comments may have some bearing on the eventual ruling, so please don’t be stingy about giving praise – or “big ups”, as they say on the street.

Please note that these stories have been written by esteemed JesusH readers and not, say, me. Do not be deceived…

Cold Smoked

***** Hand History for Game 3685703423 *****
0/0 Texas Hold'em Game Table (NL) - Tue Mar 07 01:25:38 EST 2006
Table Bookem (Real Money) -- Seat 1 is the button
Total number of players : 10
Seat 1: PonteRoto ( $105.25)
Seat 2: d842m126n ( $114.05)
Seat 3: dinha311wrc ( $34.45)
Seat 4: G4ATM ( $90.25)
Seat 5: katiskamaker ( $106)
Seat 6: snipper88 ( $92)
Seat 7: deefresh ( $149.70)
Seat 8: HoOkS288 ( $51.75)
Seat 9: BANKROLL100K ( $159.20)
Seat 10: davidmpease ( $28.80)
d842m126n posts small blind (0.50)
dinha311wrc posts big blind (1)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to davidmpease [ 4s, Ks ]
G4ATM folds.
katiskamaker did not respond in time.
katiskamaker folds.
snipper88 folds.
deefresh calls (1)
HoOkS288 calls (1)
BANKROLL100K folds.
davidmpease calls (1)
PonteRoto folds.
d842m126n calls (0.50)
dinha311wrc checks.
** Dealing Flop ** : [ 3s, 9c, As ]
d842m126n checks.
dinha311wrc checks.
deefresh bets (5)
HoOkS288 folds.
davidmpease calls (5)
d842m126n folds.
dinha311wrc folds.
** Dealing Turn ** : [ 9s ]
deefresh bets (9)
davidmpease raises (22.80) to 22.80
davidmpease is all-In.
deefresh calls (13.80)
** Dealing River ** : [ 8d ]
Creating Main Pot with $57.60 with davidmpease
** Summary **
Main Pot: $57.60 | | Rake: $3
Board: [ 3s 9c As 9s 8d ]

PonteRoto balance $105.25, didn't bet (folded)
d842m126n balance $113.05, lost $1 (folded)
dinha311wrc balance $33.45, lost $1 (folded)
G4ATM balance $90.25, didn't bet (folded)
katiskamaker balance $106, didn't bet (folded)
snipper88 balance $92, didn't bet (folded)
deefresh balance $178.50, bet $28.80, collected $57.60, net +$28.80 [ 9h Ah ] [ a
full house, Nines full of aces -- Ah,As,9h,9c,9s ]
HoOkS288 balance $50.75, lost $1 (folded)
BANKROLL100K balance $159.20, didn't bet (folded)
davidmpease balance $0, lost $28.80 [ 4s Ks ] [ a flush, ace high -- As,Ks,9s,4s,3s ]

Global Economy

The Internet does not kick ass because with only Google and Paypal at my disposal, I can find a long-out-of-print CD on some shady Belarusian website, purchase it, and magically have it delivered to my hot little hands.

The Internet kicks ass because I can do all that faster than vaquera can get NetFlix to send her a copy of Garden State.


Sorry, identity thieves, you’re going to have to look somewhere else to get my personal information. I’m partial to zabasearch myself.