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Cibo Matto

As you can see from this blurry photo, last night I saw my favorite Japanese Girl Duo Lounge Rap band, Cibo Matto.

They haven't done anything together in 10 years, so this is some kind of weird reunion tour, which I was happy to see. Feeling obliged to explain their long absence, Miho Hatori (who has been away doing Gorillaz) said bashfully, "we were in jail."


Non-fiction books usually go to the bottom of my literary pile, since I'm a slow reader and I don't like being tricked into learning things while on vacation.

But "Stiff" by Mary Roach was totally fantastic--- a quick, hilarious page turner which I highly recommend. What's it about? Dead bodies.

Before I started reading I couldn't imagine what could be interesting enough to fill 12 chapters with cadavers. Mary meets people who deal with the dead every day--- researchers, doctors, med students, undertakers, and even forensic anthropologists. They're all very interesting, and the book is about them to some degree. But it's even more about Mary's experience meeting these people, and her paradoxical feelings of squickiness and yet fascination with a topic that is relevant to every single one of us.


(Admittedly, I am not a good judge of whether or not this book is too "gross" for unusually squeamish readers. But I can tell you that it is in no way violent, nor is it disrespectful of the concepts of death, dying, afterlives, religions, etc. Mary does a pretty good job avoiding being gross or disrespectful, even though she is obviously a fearlessly curious person. There's even a paragraph where she pointedly chooses not to use the "unpleasant" word for "baby flies", and instead substitutes, for the benefit of her readers, the much nicer word "hacienda". Insane, but effective.)

Sick day

I was very sick all last week. Couldn't go to work, couldn't go out. On Friday I was also quite sick until I remembered that I had signed up for a track day at Thunderhill. I was miraculously cured!

(Thanks to my awesome personal photographer, Jake, who I hope I didn't infect with my cold.)

And avoid black cats

I recently got a FasTrak to use for my occasional trips across one of the bay area's many exorbitantly priced bridges.

Upon opening the package I found that it came with this little silver bag. If you've ever bought a PC component of any kind, you will recognize this as an anti-static bag.

The FasTrak's instructions state that if you do not want to be charged or have your whereabouts monitored by the Bay Area Transit Authority, you can put the FasTrak inside the bag, which will prevent it from transmitting.


I'll be the first to admit that I don't know much about electricity, but come on, a static bag doesn't stop radio signals. They may as well tell you to wear a tin foil hat to keep the G-men out. I guess they figure that you'll just never know if it's working or not?

(My guess is that the bag doesn't do much, but the transmitter is so weak that it's not going to charge you anyway unless you drive slowly through a toll booth. The bag wouldn't stop it transmitting any more than a sock, or your glove box. Or, perhaps it's enough just to not have it on your windshield, which it can't be if it's in the bag.)

Amusingly, the FasTrak device is also hideously insecure. It's probably not been much of a debacle because the radio signal is probably too weak to be interesting. Does anybody know?


It's good to see that publications like the Enquirer and The Globe aren't afraid to take on the most subtle moral issues of our time. Take the death of Jeff Conaway, for example:

Is an individual ultimately responsible for their own death if they choose to ingest drugs? What if they are high and addicted, and therefore only marginally in control of their behavior? What of the person that sold the opiates to Jeff Conaway? What of the people in his life who failed to stop him from taking them? Could Jeff even be said to have had free will at the time of his death? Isn't someone else ultimately responsible?

These are hard questions. Bravo, Globe. Bravo.

The Freedom Yaris

Our rental car for this week in North Carolina has (for no clear reason) a Texas license plate. It makes people treat us badly on the road, I'm sure of it.

But rather than feel slighted, I have chosen to celebrate our rebellion. Thus I dub our rental car: the Freedom Yaris.


I have never once in my life pulled a USB stick out of a Mac and not had it reprimand me for my brash, risky actions. I use eject, I use umount. What does it want from me?

Welcome, but

This sign was posted in the North Carolina seafood restaurant where I had dinner tonight. When asked, the waitress said that no incident that she could recall had motivated the sign, but she had only worked there for 6 years.


Robey recently got this blender, which is festooned with wild and self-aggrandizing claims about its ability to crush ice to make mixed drinks. No non-ice-crushing-related use for the blender is mentioned anywhere on the packaging.

My favorite is how it calls your attention to its "Revolutionary Ice Crushing Blade". But it's actually just the same blade the all blenders have had for years. I can only imagine that by this slogan they literally mean "the ice crushing blade revolves, and is therefore revolutionary."

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