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In case you are in danger of not spending all your money,

In case you are in danger of not spending all your money, published on

I should let you know that Amazon has released a PC reader for Kindle-formatted books. They have also made it impossible to turn off the one-click order button. I accidentally read two vampire books.

I am not responsible for my actions! They contain certain specific tropes!

Shocking Update: Yahoo domain registration still sleazy.

Shocking Update: Yahoo domain registration still sleazy. published on

They just tried to charge me for a domain they don’t manage again.

Fortunately, this time through I’d erased my debit card number from Yahoo Wallet. (I had to use it to renew my Flickr a couple months ago, but I remembered to erase it again afterwards.) Not having anything to charge, they instead sent me a “Past-Due Payment Notice” demanding $35. For the domain I transferred last year!

(For those who don’t feel like clicking the link, the last time this happened they just charged me without warning, and I had to contest it on PayPal to get the money back – because, since I don’t actually have an account with Yahoo Small Business, Yahoo Small Business customer service won’t talk to me.)

To summarize Yahoo’s domain registration behavior thus far:

1) Yahoo offers a “private registration” option, which allows you to keep your real name and mailing address out of the WHOIS database. It is impossible to transfer one of these private domains to another registrar. Ever. (See my post from last year, or this guy’s post from 2007.)

To effect a transfer, you have to downgrade the domain to a non-private one, thus revealing your personal information. This means that if, for any reason, you’re in a position in which you can’t allow your real name and address to become public – say: you’re being stalked, you’ve expressed certain uncomplimentary ideas about your employer on your blog, you’re a Venezuelan political dissident, you’re an oil industry whistle blower, you’ve converted to Islam or Linux or come to some conclusions about your sexual orientation and your grandmother is an Old Regular Baptist Microsoft project manager who’s waiting in line for a heart transplant – you can’t leave Yahoo for another registrar.

2) According to this blogger, Yahoo will also expose your real name and address if you allow your domain registration to expire.

So, if for some reason you can’t allow your real name into WHOIS, you also can’t cancel a privately registered Yahoo domain.

Continue reading Shocking Update: Yahoo domain registration still sleazy.

Heir to the Shadows, Anne Bishop

Heir to the Shadows, Anne Bishop published on

I’M READING ANNE BISHOP AGAIN apparently I suffer from masochistic tendencies.

So I’m about 3/4 through this book. And there’s this guy Lucivar, and he’s explaining evil magical roofies to his zombie-vampire father, Saetan SaDiablo, the High Lord of Hell. And this is the third time he’s talked about the evil magical roofies, and Saetan SaDiablo is shocked by the cruelty of mortals and has to sit down on his dark throne, and Saetan SaDiablo has been shocked by the cruelty of mortals and had to sit down in every single scene he’s been in. Except for the one where he was pretending to be a pedophile serial killer to trick the other pedophile serial killer into coming into his bedroom so he could kill him.

Not his bedroom in Hell, his bedroom in the Shadow Realm. The Shadow Realm’s someplace else.

Lucivar spent 2/3 of the book enslaved to a rapist, and his father Saetan SaDiablo (third-most powerful male wizard in the world) and his teenaged adopted sister Jaenelle Angelline (most powerful wizard in the world) know that, and stuff, but they kinda don’t do anything about it. I guess it’s not that important? So there are all these scenes where Lucivar’s being tortured, and then there’s a scene where Jaenelle shows up at Saetan SaDiablo’s grim palace with a unicorn or an adorable telepathic wolf cub and Saetan SaDiablo goes “OH MAN IT IS A UNICORN AND/OR TELEPATHIC WOLF CUB AND THAT IS NOT OKAY FOR MY IMAGE” and people smile and offer him a drink, and he’s sitting down in his dark throne again I mean I don’t know why he bothers to stand up. And then Lucivar escapes by himself and shows up, and they say, “Oh, hey! You made it!” And Lucivar hangs out with the unicorns and things are basically fine. He isn’t mad about how, you know, they didn’t rescue him! He knows they were real busy.

(I came up with a new way to describe Anne Bishop today: “Laurell K. Hamilton writes licensed Disney Princesses books.”)

It is because Anne Bishop is not good at remembering what the plot is. She also forgot how Lucivar has a brother named Daemon Sadi – alias, The Sadist, other alias, Hayll’s Whoreand Hayll is also a different place from Hell – who is a 1700-year-old Warlord Prince sex slave with the second-strongest magic powers in the world, and is impotent (and random people just up and start talking about his impotence because everyone knows – stuff gets around in 1700 years, it’s just a thing – even though people periodically forget that he generally kills the women he sleeps with), and who was the protagonist of the first book and spent half of it being sad that he was an impotent sex slave unworthy of the woman he loves (Jaenelle, his then-twelve-year-old adopted sister), and the other half being angry about the same issue, and killing people in many ways.

Anyway, she forgot Daemon was there. This book he went insane in a way that makes him weep all the time and occasionally refer to himself in the third person, mainly to keep him out of the way so we can get this big important The Unicorns And Telepathic Wolf Cubs Move In With Saetan And Wacky Antics Ensue thing established. There are also some scenes where Jaenelle goes clothes shopping and doesn’t get along with the other kids.

I totally forgot about how, in this book, there is an evil queen named Dorothea who wants Daemon to father her children. There’s also an evil priestess named Hekatah who used to be married to Saetan and wants to kill him. I think sometimes Bishop forgets which one of the two has which set of motivations.

I like how it’s possible to forget about things like that in this series.

Unrelated note to the internet: Nobody buy a Samsung Magnet, please. Dad bought one and I just spent three hours trying to get the drivers installed so I could sync up his address book. At least for Vista, there are no working drivers for this phone.

A post calculated to exasperate vegetarians.

A post calculated to exasperate vegetarians. published on

I’ve been eating like, mostly fruit this week. It’s hot, and I don’t feel like cooking, and my last couple weeks in Shibata my diet got really bad, so I ended up with a vitamin C deficiency or something. So I keep just buying bananas and nectarines and apples and saying, “I’ll have these for breakfast,” and then eating them every single meal. This probably is not very healthy?

Mo has been skipping meals because it’s hot, and because her sister is exerting Peer Pressure on the health benefits of fasting. (Bad sister.) So, today I convinced her to go with me to Ryogoku – aka, Where The Sumo Wrestlers Are – and have chanko nabe – aka, What The Sumo Wrestlers Eat. It’s basically stew made with a bunch of different types of meat, with the aim of providing lots of protein. We got one of the more pedestrian varieties that only had five protein sources: chicken, chicken liver, beef, deep-fried tofu, and something called kinkan.

The kinkan were two little yellow things that looked kind of like egg yolks. Mo looked at them dubiously and asked the waiter what they are. “They’re from chicken,” he said, and then he launched into a very clinical description I was unable to follow.

“Oh!” said Mo, looking concerned. Continue reading A post calculated to exasperate vegetarians.


Stuff published on

Successfully acquired rice cooker off Craigslist for 1000 yen. (Not from the guy before, from another guy.) The rice is soaking, and shortly I shall test it.

Went to Koishikawa Kourakuen. In January, during my assault on Tokyo’s Important Landscape Gardens, I went to Rikugien, Kyu-Shiba-Rikyu, Hama-Rikyu, and Kyu-Yasuda. I thought Rikugien was the prettiest of those. But Koishikawa Kourakuen? Has magical powers. I will post pictures later – I killed my phone’s battery taking too many (which was almost a problem because I was meeting the guy with the rice-cooker after). I’m beginning to regret my failure to replace my old Canon camera. My cell camera is not up to such things.

Every single person on the train who had a DS was playing Dragon Quest IX. McDonalds here have a WiFi connection for DS use, and if you go in one, you will invariably see a bunch of middle-aged guys sitting around with a small drink and their DS out, playing Dragon Quest. Some of them will have white DSi’s they’ve put decals of the Apple logo on.

From what I understand, the game’s aim is to be WoW for the DS. I can’t be allowed to have it; the combination of short quest-based gameplay and Toriyama art would cause me to cease to be. I’ve been engaging in douch-y power-leveling in Disgaea instead. (Though I kind of feel as if I should dig out my Pokemon Pearl game and beat it already. To get into the spirit of things for the Arceus movie! You know!)

At the grocery, I saw a woman letting her daughter, who was too big for it, sit in a stroller-cart. They were both giggling madly. The mother said, “Beebi-mitai na [something] ne!” The meaning of this is roughly, “Aw, you’re just like a baby!” But this is how I know I’m not fluent in Japanese – I heard all of the sentence but the [something], and I know pretty much what it means, but I can’t figure out what the “[something]” should have been. My brain cannot extrapolate.

(The girl looked a lot like Mr. K and Princess, which made me kinda sad. Mr. K’s class should have started about fifteen minutes ago… I hope he’s being good.)

I am interacting inappropriately with Harajuku.

I am interacting inappropriately with Harajuku. published on

There’s no Off-House nearby, and I read that there were used clothes stores there, so I went to look for a cheap bathrobe and a couple t-shirts. This is not what Harajuku is for.

But its priorities do not much interest me.

I got an impressively ugly 420-yen yukata at a used clothing store called “Chicago.” As I paid, the clerk looked warily at me through small trendy glasses. He was thinking, “You’re not even going to do anything ironic with this thing, are you?” And I was thinking, “No. It shall become my bathrobe.”

I set out today with a resolution fixed firmly in my mind – I would not buy iced tea from a vending machine. So I kept filling up my thermos in restrooms. In Harajuku I had to go into the basement of the Wendy’s, where I likely inhaled enough tar to send me hastily to my grave. The air was gray. Apparently, in Japan, Wendy’s is for people in their early 20’s who smoke like Kentuckians, buy a lot of overpriced vintage clothing, and have well-formed opinions of the efficacy of at least six brands of hair products. I acknowledge, the Wendy’s logo looked surprisingly appropriate to the general confusion of Western and Japanese nostalgia symbols, with the occasional appropriated Chinese, Indian, and Native American stuff splashed in.

Harajuku’s t-shirts were overpriced and aesthetically insulting, and I ended up going to Wal-Mart (Seiyu) later.

Edit: I apologize, this entry is unnecessarily hostile to pretty much everyone. Today was kind of stupid.

Yup. Moving.

Yup. Moving. published on

I’m in a hotel room; it’s my last night in Shibata, and tomorrow I go to Tokyo, spend the first night with Mo, and hopefully move into a guest house Wednesday. (You are again advised not to ask me what my plans are. I have a knife.)

I’m feeling much better that I’m out of the apartment. I’ve barely slept the last few nights in there, obsessing over which parts of it need more cleaning, which things in it I need to abandon and which I can take with me. My mind clings to physical possessions; Snufkin wouldn’t approve; I kept all my Moomins books. I also feel oddly better knowing I’ve decided to take my spices, tea, and coconut milk with me, even though they make my luggage much less manageable than it might otherwise be.

My time today was divided roughly as follows:

Continue reading Yup. Moving.

The mortality of objects.

The mortality of objects. published on

I lost my black folding umbrella over the weekend. I think I left it in the soba restaurant at Echigo-Yuzawa. Mom gave it to me for Chrismukkah junior year, so I’ve had it for three and a half years, most of which time it spent in the front pocket of my purse.

It’s strange that it’s gone. I’d never held onto an umbrella that long without breaking or losing it. I’ve forgotten it in restaurants and gone back for it a couple of times. When I saw Obama speak last year, I had to leave it and my nalgene with security, in a cardboard box full of other umbrellas and nalgenes, but they were still there when I went back to pick them up after. This made me feel optimistic. The purse pocket stretched out to accommodate it, so it looks pregnant. I’m not in mourning for it, but it’s been within a few feet of me for half my waking hours the last few years. It feels a little like when I get my hair trimmed. The loss is not significant, but it is obtrusive.

When I realized it was gone Monday morning, I went out and bought a new one. The new one is beige and was 490 yen.

Some other objects that occasionally shock me by their absence recently:

Continue reading The mortality of objects.

Feminine problem

Feminine problem published on

My lipstick broke. (I own one (1) thing of lipstick. Sometimes I remember to wear it.) My attempts to repair it failed badly, so I got a new one at the grocery store today. My selection method was “Which brand is cheapest? I will buy that brand. In red.” There was an older lady standing there scrutinizing the lipsticks – I reached over her shoulder, took the one I wanted, and went to get my groceries. Having acquired my fish and pastries and gone to check out I passed the cosmetics section again. The woman was still there, studying the lipsticks.

(Yeah, I know, I can’t criticize. I do this with books and batteries.)

I saw one of my students outside of class for the first time on my way back – it was Mr. Wow, walking home from school with some other six-year-olds. I was across the street, and he was wearing his little yellow safety helmet very low over his eyes, so it was hard to see his face. But I thought I recognized the way he walked, so I waved at him.

I was correct. He stopped the friend he was walking with and waved back. “Hello!” he said in English. He stopped the friend he was with, so as to demonstrate his great Speaking English To The Gaijin Powers. “Sarah, hello! Hello!” He waved a little more, then got out his Pokemon thermos and waved that at me. “Hello hello!”

I worry that Mr. Wow’s cuteness may be used as a weapon by evil men.

Yukata and eggplants.

Yukata and eggplants. published on

I now own this yukata, and have learned how to put it on. Yukata obi are easier than Nagoya obi, but I still don’t have the motor skills for them. I’m also shaped like an eggplant. Kimono are designed for more cylindrically-shaped people.

I feel kind of rude about getting the yukata at Uniqlo. The shop where we went to for the class was also selling yukata for about the same price, and I kinda brought mine in still in the Uniqlo packaging? I’m not very classy.

Apparently, at least some Japanese kids get very excited about eggplants. In the grocery store today, I saw a little girl pointing excitedly to a display of eggplants, saying, “Mom, look, it’s eggplant! Get some eggplant!” I see kids doing this about strawberries, sweet potatoes, and curry (not together), but this is the first indication I’ve seen that eggplant is also a Kid Food in Japan.

Conspiracy theory

Conspiracy theory published on

I think Japanese grocery stores artificially scent their produce sections with whatever fruit they’re currently pushing. The Uoroku’s present strawberry scent is intense and pervasive. I keep accidentally buying strawberries.

So, uh, I understand the psychology of this – but I don’t know why this drugstore I went into yesterday smelled like myrrh. It was just a normal drugstore, not some kind of drugstore/head shop cross-breed. Is the scent of myrrh supposed to encourage spending on luxury items live expensive conditioner? Maybe someone just spilled something myrrh-scented.

lacrimawanders invited me to a kitsuke class with her last night, and loaned me a kimono to practice with – she is awesome! I wore a kimono properly for the first time! Almost all by myself the third try! (Except for the obi, which I STILL MAINTAIN is impossible to put on on one’s own.) lacrimawanders actually did do it all by herself, which awes me. This is an incredibly complex process.

(I also sat seiza-style for long periods of time, which is very painful.)

And due to lacrimawanders‘s vast knowledge of stores in Niigata, I now know where to buy Dr. Bronner’s. This is incredibly exciting to me.