Monday, November 10, 2008

A truly mad scientist

This doesn't get any closer to our shared idea of a "mad scientist". Enjoy this TED Conference talk from February 2006 given by Clifford Stoll, a U.S. astronomer.

(If you see a Player 7 or Player 8 message below, just click on one of them and the video will start.)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

There's a little child up there.

The people upstairs are too loud. I live in an apartment building west of Tokyo, and a few months ago, a family moved into the apartment above ours. This family has a young child. This young child likes to run around and bang on the floor at all hours of the day and night, as many children like to do. I have never met this child (in fact, the child is a boy). I'm sure he is quite cute and adorable, but since I've never met him, his representation in my mind is quite blurry and chaotic. I imagine a crazed kid running back and forth with heavy shoes on, pounding on the floor with bats, balls, and rocks; gleefully jumping up and down, knowing full well that he is bothering (no, terrorizing!) the apartment-dwellers below; and more than this, his parents encouraging him to jump from ever higher places, encouraging him to use bigger and bigger bats and rocks, encouraging him to never stop, to stay up late, to wake up in the middle of the night to further annoy us, ... You can see that this has had quite an effect on me. We have spoken to our landlord on a few occasions, and in fact, the flooring above has been worked on on 2 or 3 separate occasions. However, not once did anyone enter our apartment to check whether or not the sound had been diminished. So, in response to repetitive noises from above, I or my wife stand up, make a fist, and hit our ceiling in quick succession. Often, the sound stops for a good 30 minutes to an hour. But, just as often, the kid (or his parents, I'm not sure which) replies with echoing hits to his floor. The mother came down soon after they moved in to apologize for the noise, and once when I met her at our building's entrance she did the same. However, apologies mean nothing when behaviours don't change. I realize children are active and must run and jump and play, but they should do so in a park, or in a zoo, or in a detached house. Apparently, this family's last residence was in fact a house, so they aren't used to having neighbours below them. I'm tired of the noise, and I'm tired of hitting my ceiling. I guess it's time to find a new apartment.

Hit by a food cart

(She looks so innocent doesn't she? Photo thanks to Girl Least Likely To)

At a recent conference, I overheard some talk about flight attendants. Someone said:
"I hate sitting in aisle seats. If you sit in an aisle seat, you are going to get hit in the head with a food cart."
Everyone nodded in agreement.

I started wondering if a flight attendant's blog is filled with sentences like: "Today was a slow day. I only hit 4 passengers. Fingers crossed for tomorrow." If this isn't a central theme on their blogs, it must be something they frequently discuss behind the curtain as they do their "work". On the few occasions that I've had the misfortune to step into flight attendant territory, I'm quite sure I saw a few scoreboards and Fantasy Foodcart charts hanging on the wall.

(When flight attendants play Quake, do they use the drink cart weapon mod?)