Thursday, September 27, 2007

Giuliani's At It Again—For Real This Time

So, you know how I allowed myself to be completely taken in by that Onion article about Giuliani? Remember how Afshin laughed heartily at my naïveté?

Well, it turns out I'm not so gullible after all. For while Giuliani has not launched an official campaign for president of 9/11, he's still exploiting it for all it's worth. And then some. For instance, how about that fundraising party where participants were urged to donate $9.11 each? Classy.

As nauseating as that is, check out this Village Voice article for some insight into good ol' Rudy's role in the 9/11 incident and its aftermath. Ugh. No, it's not a conspiracy-theory piece; it's not even what you'd call an exposé, exactly, as it discusses things many people—particularly New Yorkers—already know. It's more of a refutation of Giuliani's incessant grandstanding.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Story About My Dad

Once in a while I think I shall tell stories about people other than myself. I'm not the only idiot in the world, after all. And some of my friends and relatives have had some pretty amusing incidents—I should share those, right? Right. So this time it's a story about my dad.

Last winter, Afshin and I flew back east to visit our parents for the holidays. (Our respective parents, of course—this is California, not Kentucky. If you got that, pat yourself on the back: You're a dork.) Anyway, Afshin and his family came over to visit my family and me. Before they arrived, there was a spot of confusion. See, his mom's name is Mahboubeh. It's a difficult name for English-speakers to pronounce. Hell, I have trouble pronouncing it. It's close to MAH-boo-beh. Except that you pronounce the h at the end of the Mah. So it's kinda tricky. Of course, when Afshin and his clan arrived, my parents were just enchanted by his mom and managed to work around the name issue. To be honest, my dad has thought she's the most adorable thing ever since she force-fed him fruit and tea. (She has a big thing about fruit and tea, particularly the fruit. When my dad and I stopped at their apartment once to drop off some CDs for Afshin's brother, his mom broke out the fruit and tea and, after we'd accepted the tea but declined the fruit, offered to peel it for us. Apparently, as she later explained to Afshin, some people don't want to eat the skin and will only eat fruit once it's peeled.) Anyway, we had a very nice visit with Afshin and co. At the end of which, my parents said goodbye and shut the door.

"What did you just say?" I asked Dad.
"I said, 'Goodbye, Mahbaybay."
"Did you say Mahbaybay?" I asked.
"Yeah," he said. "That's her name, isn't it?"
"No," I laughed. "It's Mahboubeh."
My mom laughed hysterically. "You just called her your baby!"
"Oh shit."
"It's okay, Dad. I'm sure she appreciated the effort."

My dad isn't always so good with introductions. And names and such. Like when he met a neighbor couple. My mom really liked them, but my dad wasn't so impressed.
"I liked him," Dad said. "But she was sorta weird."
"What do you mean 'weird'?" my mom asked. "I thought they were both nice."
"Well, she was actually kinda rude."
"Really?" my mom asked. "How?"
"Well, it was the weirdest thing," my dad said. "She walked up to me and said, 'Hi man.' She called me man. That's sort of strange, don't you think?"
My mom stared at him, confused. "Michael. She said, 'Hi. I'm Anne.' Her name is Anne."
"Oh shit."

After that, my dad got along perfectly well with Anne.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Camel Crossing

A few months ago Afshin and I accompanied some friends to the de Young Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco. I wanted to see the Vivienne Westwood exhibit (which was excellent, by the by), and we figured the boys could run around on their own while the ladies checked out the insane fashion. Afterward, we'd all have tea in the Hagiwara Japanese Tea Garden. I hadn't realized it until I was there, but I'd been to the tea garden before, as part of a tour I took while vacationing in San Francisco in 2001. I remembered this one bridge immediately—it's kinda hard to forget a bridge with such tiny, vertical little steps. Not steps, really. More like ridges. It's like climbing an inverted U–shaped ladder, as you can see from the picture below. But Afshin had never crossed the bridge before, so we got in line.
The bridge
While we're standing in line, we pass a plaque bearing some sort of description of the bridge. Afshin glances at it and then tells me, "You know, this bridge was built specifically for camels."

I looked at him, agape. "What?"

"Yeah, they're particularly suited to this type of bridge."

"But how...?"

He burst out laughing. "You seriously believed that this was built for camels?"

"Well, I saw you look at the plaque, and then you said it all authoritatively...but I was going to ask you how that was possible that camels could get a foothold on this. And why they'd have camels in Japan to begin with."

Camels are the new jackalopes.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Vocab Lessons

So I work on the copydesk at a video game magazine publishing company (about which you will not hear me complain, as I would rather not get dooced, thank you very much). In this capacity I contribute to and help keep updated the game group style guide. When I first started here, I expected that I'd be learning some new vocabulary, as my previous knowledge of the intricacies of video gaming was pretty bloody limited. Let's put it this way: I didn't know what a cut-scene was. Or a port. But, naturally, I learned. Now I know all about cel shading and chocobos and rag-doll physics and rochambeau gameplay and how the Soul Calibur game titles used to be two separate words but are now (intentionally and illogically) squished together into one, e.g., Soulcalibur Legends.

What I didn't expect was that we'd have an official spelling for douchebag. (One word, closed up, not hyphenated.) Or that I'd participate in a heated debate about the proper plural of ho. (We ultimately decided on hos, a verdict with which I heartily concur.) Hell, I'm even responsible for some of the stranger entries in our style guide. Muahaha, for instance. To summarize, you can add as many "ha"s as you want, as long as the word starts with a "mua" and ends with a "ha."

And what are some of the recent standouts (which have not been added to the guide as yet)? Moose knuckles, moneyhat, and catassery (the last of which is synonymous with poopsocking).

I'm not sure if my newly expanded vocabulary is a good thing or not.