Hold Me If I’m Dying, And Vice Versa, Okay?

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A collection of some marvelously horrible video game voice acting. I “L.O.L.”ed.


On an unrelated note, I get a ton of spam comments that I have to moderate. Most are just a bunch of links to elicit sites, but sometimes they make an effort to disguise them as legitimate comments. Here’s one that came in recently for some loan site:

I had a dream to start my own company, but I did not have got enough amount of cash to do this. Thank goodness my close dude suggested to use the loan. Therefore I took the auto loan and realized my dream.

None of my close dudes ever offer me financial advice. Damn jerks.

Simple Things Confuse Me.


Sometimes I run across things that most people understand instantly & intuitively that I just can’t keep straight.

You know those faucets that just have one big handle in the middle? The left half is red to indicate hot, and the right half is blue to indicate cold. I’m guessing most people intuitively “get” which way to turn the handle to get the desired temperature. But not me. I always just turn it at random, and if I get the wrong temperature, turn it the other way.

If I took a second I could figure it out without resorting to trial and error. I get the design theory behind single handle faucets. Since the left side is red/hot, turning towards the left side means you’ll get hot water.

I think the reason it doesn’t click for me on an intuitive level is because by turning the handle towards the left, you move the red side out of your line of vision, and the blue side in. So to get hot water, you need to position the faucet so all you see is blue. It just doesn’t feel right to me, dammit!

Another simple concept I can’t intuitively get relates to blogs. Most blogs show the newest 10-20 entries on the front page, and you can click a link to see older ones. When you get to the bottom of the second page, you can either continue on and read even older entries, or return to the front page.

Now: when the links say “newer entries” and “older entries” or something like that, I’m fine. But oftentimes, it just says “Next” and “Previous”, and I can never keep them straight. “Next” takes you to a new page (which has older entries), and the “Previous” takes you to the page you were on before (which has newer entries). So if you want to see previously written stuff, you don’t click “Previous”, you click “Next”. I always click the wrong one, and end up on the wrong page. I’m dumb.

The Bearers of Meaning


Whenever we meet someone from, say, Thailand, we do our best to simulate the native pronunciation of their name. The Thai way of saying it is considered to be “correct”, and when our English-speaking tongues are unable to faithfully recreate the sounds, we sheepishly apologize for our substandard approximation.

I was surprised to learn recently that this idea, that people’s names have an absolute “correct” pronunciation, isn’t universal. I was talking to a Japanese grad student named Ms. Kawai, who had recently returned from a year abroad in China. During the course of our conversation, she mentioned that her Chinese friends and colleagues called her Chuan-He. When I asked why, she told me that Chuan-He is the way the characters that make up her name are pronounced in Chinese.

Apparently, “translating” Japanese names into the Chinese pronunciation is not at all uncommon. This speaks to underlying differences between English and Chinese.

The English written language is tied to sounds. The letter “M” doesn’t mean anything, it simply represents an “mmm” sound. Only by stringing letters together do we get words that have meaning.

The Chinese written language, on the other hand, is tied to meaning. Each Chinese character intrinsically represents a concept.

Pronunciation in Chinese can vary wildly depending on what dialect you’re speaking. Someone who grew up speaking Mandarin Chinese wouldn’t understand a word of Cantonese Chinese. In fact Mandarin and Cantonese are different enough that they would probably be called different languages (rather than just dialects of the same language) if it weren’t for the common writing system. Pronunciation isn’t absolute in written Chinese, meaning is. So rather than struggle with the Japanese pronunciation of a Japanese name, they just say it the Chinese way.

Isn’t that interesting?

Insightful Youngsters

Didn’t have time to write a proper blog entry this week, so instead I’ll just link to an article about irritating film clichés.

They’re all pretty good examples, but the last one particularly drives me nuts when I see it in movies. That being the cliché of “children being avatars for insight into the human condition”.

Years ago I saw the movie S1m0ne during its theatrical release (don’t ask). It’s a terrible movie, and probably one I would have completely forgotten except for one quote that bothered me so much that I still remember it to this day. The junior high school aged daughter of the main character is concerned about her father, and says to him “I want the old Viktor Taransky back.”

What kind of kid talks like that? Can you imagine when you were in junior high saying to your dad “I want the old [your father’s full name] back.”?? I know it’s totally nothing, but for whatever reason that quote still drives me nuts.

Via The Onion’s A.V. Club

Postmodern Food


Lawson, the Japanese convenience store chain, sells chicken nuggets in three flavors: “Regular”, “Spicy” and “Cheese”. Occasionally they’ll introduce a forth flavor which they offer for a limited time.

The other day I went into Lawson and noticed they had a new flavor called “Pizza Potato”. “What the hell does that mean?” I thought. Was it supposed to taste like pizza topped with potatoes or something? I was intrigued, so I bought some.

As it turned out, the flavor was modeled after a brand of popular pizza-flavored potato chips.


So basically, they were pizza-flavored potato chip-flavored chicken nuggets. I can imagine the critique session when they were trying to get the taste just right: “Well, this does taste like pizza, but it doesn’t taste like pizza-flavored potato chips. Keep at it!”

It reminded me of a time a few months ago, when I went to a different Japanese convenience store and bought some “European-style” curry. It occurred to me later that I, an American, was eating the Japanese version of the European version of an Indian food. That’s the world we live in, I guess.