Jason Shiga's Journal
Sunday, August 3, 2003
I'm trying to compile a list of Arnold one-liners. Here's what I have so far. Let me know if you can think of some more.
[after splitting the bad guy in half]
He had to split
[after decapitating bad guy]
He was a real pain in the neck
[while throwing bad guy over a rail]
Let me give you a lift
[after sticking a knife into the bad guy]
[after holding a bad guy over a cliff and then dropping him]
I let him go
[before throwing a flare at the bad guy who’s covered in gasoline]
How about a light
[after throwing bad guy onto a soda billboard]
That hit the spot
[while killing a bad guy with a giant drill]
[after shooting some bad alligators]
[right before firing a missile that the bad guy is hanging on to]
[after hurling a pole through the bad guy and into the furnace behind him causing steam to shoot out of his body]
Let off some steam Bennet
[after killing a bad guy and putting his hat over his face to make it look like he’s sleeping]
Don’t disturb my friend. He’s dead tired.
[after dropping bad guy’s severed thumb]
I’m all thumbs today
[After putting bad guy’s head in a urinal and flushing it]
[after shooting wife in the head]
Consider that a divorce
Monday, March 31, 2003
Last month I was in Pacifica visiting Derek (http://www.smallstoriesonline.com). There was a Radio Shack by his place so I thought I would stop in and get an AC adapter for my new transistor radio (the old one was stolen during the burglary). When the owner rang it up, the total came to $17!!! For an AC adapter!!! This is over three times what I paid for the radio itself. I’d already pulled out my 20 dollar bill but since he was on the other side of the counter I just said, “All I’ve got is this 10. I’ll come back later.” and quickly slipped it back into my pocket (you see I work behind a counter too so I know all the angles and distances).
“Great I’ll keep it behind the counter for you.” he said and proceeded to do just that.
I figured I was already in too deep so I thanked him and made my way for the door.
“Wait!” he said, “What name should I put it under.”
“Uh... My name... Let’s see... John! Yes, it’s John!”
He waved bye to me as the electronic ding marked my exit. I waved back at him, smiled weakly and thought, “I can never go to this store again.” As I was walking to the car it occurred to me that there was no reason for me to lie about my name.
Tuesday, March 25, 2003
This month I was contacted by a movie producer who wants to option the rights to Fleep, some friends who read Meanwhile and thought I’d be a good scripter for their videogame and the West Coast publishing exec for Marvel! All three of these people tried to contact me through my site where the first thing they saw was me talking about Phoebe Cates' breasts. In fact I recently entered "jason shiga" into the dogpile search engine and this is what came out first on the list:
1. Comic Books
March 18, 2003 This weekend I was watching "Fast Times at Ridgemont High". When it got to the scene where Phoebe Cates emerges from the pool, the screen suddenly turned a bright opaque blue! I was outraged! http://www.shigabooks.com
For these reasons, I've decided to move my blog over here. I've tried to emmulate the look of my old blog as you can tell. Also feel free to post a comment telling my to buy an eletric hair clipper.
Saturday, March 22, 2003
I was riding to the city with Thein and Wahab this Thursday. I was actually supposed to be speaking on a panel at the Cartoon Art Museum. I figured we’d be getting off at Powell so I brought along an old Montgomery processed ticket. On the way there, Thein got a call from his friend who was also headed there.
Thein put his hand up to the mouth piece of his cel phone. “Hey guys, do you know which station is the closest to the Cartoon Art Museum?”
“Powell!” I said.
“No,” Wahab corrected me. “It’s Montgomery. The Cartoon Art Museum is on Montgomery Street.”
This was absolutely devastating to me. I had seriously miscalculated. Since Montgomery was closer, I couldn’t pull my scam and would have to add $1.35 in fare to the one I just purchased. Thinking quickly, I exclaimed, “He’s wrong! It’s Powell!”
I spent the next ten minutes trying to convince my friends that Powell was indeed closer to the Cartoon Art Museum. This wasn’t easy since Wahab went to school at the Art Academy. Also the Cartoon Art Museum is on Montgomery street. Also that night, Powell was the epicenter of a mob of protesters, angry commuters and a small army of police handcuffing and macing pedestrians at will.
I eventually settled on a different approach and told them that I’d get off at Powell on my own. We could make a game of it and see who got to the Cartoon Art Museum first. I felt bad about manipulating my friends with this machevelian ruse all just to save myself $1.35. On the other hand that’s 67 sticks of Bazooka Joe Bubblegum!
Friday, March 21, 2003
When I was a kid I had this scam running with BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). It’s a little difficult to explain but the way BART works is that you buy a ticket and enter it at one station. Depending on the station you exit, it will charge you appropriately. For example going from Oakland to San Francisco could cost you around $2.50. But going from a station to another one just 5 blocks away would only cost $1.15.
So if one has an old ticket that was entered at say 16th in SF but not used to exit (how one gets such a ticket I’ll get to in a minute) then one could theoretically enter the BART at 19th in Oakland and use that old ticket to exit at 24th in SF. And coming back, I could enter at 16th and use my ticket from that morning to exit at 12th in Oakland. In practice it’s not that simple as there’s some gates that are programmed to check if the ticket is over 4 hours old. As far as I could tell, there was no rhyme or reason to indicate which gates they were and I ended up making elaborate maps plotting the location of defunct gates in over 20 stations. Honestly, it was a rather fun project. It’s like LARPing for people who don’t have friends.
This was all to save $1.35 by the way (or 67 sticks of Bazooka Joe Bubblegum, the currency by which I measured all things back then). However, I figured I went to San Francisco maybe 50 times a year. This would add up to over $2000 by the time I hit age 26. Well I’m 26 now and let’s just I’m set to buy 100,000 sticks of Bazooka Joe Bubblegum.
To be continued…
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
This weekend I was watching "Fast Times at Ridgemont High". When it got to the scene where Phoebe Cates emerges from the pool, the screen suddenly turned a bright opaque blue! I was outraged! I had been denied the most thrilling moment in cinematic history. I wanted to go back to Blockbuster and demand my money back. But then they might ask me why and I'd be embarrassed.
Initially, I thought Blockbuster had purchased an edited version for some reason. But then I reasoned, that when the wear on the tape reaches a certain point, my VCR kicks in and makes the screen completely blue so as not to damage the head. I figured 90% of the guys who watched that movie probably rewound it and watched that part again. And when I was a kid, me and my friends would have to rewind it and watch it about a dozen times. Of course it takes thousands of men over the course of decades but that one segment of tape eventually receives so much wear that it's essentially unreadable to my VCR.
For some reason this got me started thinking about the ephemeral nature of the medium. Phoebe Cates' breasts are almost like Tibetan sand art in a way. I felt sad that every time you enjoy a movie, you destroy it just a little bit. But then I started thinking how watching it also adds information. For example if you wanted to see which were the most popular segments in Fantasia, you could go through some Blockbuster tapes with a wear detector.
Monday, March 17, 2003
Last week I was walking down the street with Hedda when we ran into Lisa. The three of us got to walking and talking about the weather. We told her about the burglary and my new bike. At one point in the conversation, we reached a crosswalk. The red hand signal was blinking so I stayed on the sidewalk but Hedda and Lisa continued illegally to cross. For those of you in other parts of the country, a blinking red had signifies that while it is safe to continue crossing, you should not begin crossing the street. I was faced with an ethical quandary of sorts. Should I run and catch up with them (breaking the law and endangering my life in the process)? Or should I warn them about the red light and tell them to get back? With every passing second, the quandary deepened.
As it turned out, I just stayed at the curb with my mouth open and my finger pointing up in the air and watched them walk away. They crossed the street and were half way down the next block before they noticed I was absent.
Sunday, March 2, 2003
I am now the proud owner and rider of a green 12 speed bicycle. I've been riding up hills and up onto curbs. When I go down a steep hill now I can just squeeze the handlebars to slow down to a comfortable speed. This bike was left for me (along with a wrench and a shirt) in my garage last month. I realize it was probably stolen, but I did everything I could to try and locate its original owner. Also finders keepers.
I actually went from door to door to ask all of my neighbors if they'd had a bike stolen. Then I went so far as to call up the police. I figured there was an off chance that the owner registered his serial number. After navigating through their automated recording maze, I found a real person and asked her if she could look up a particular serial number to see if it's been registered.
"We can't do that." She said. "But we can send an officer to pick up the stolen bike."
"But what happens if they can't locate the original owner? Do I get the bike back? Or do they just sell it off in a police probate auction?"
"You can ask the officer when he gets there." She said. "What's your address?"
"Uh, I was just speaking hypothetically." I said and hung up.
Sunday, February 9, 2003
Hedda gleefully told me that the only way out of my predicament was for the two of us to see "Maid in Manhattan" that weekend. I imagined us going into the theater and at the last moment yelling at Hedda to shut her eyes. It would be like the finale of "Raiders of the Lost Arc" when the sheer horror of the images melted the Nazis' faces off. I know misery loves company and Hedda was genuinely excited about seeing this movie with me, but Hedda's my friend. It would be the moral equivalent of whipping a masochist. On the other hand, I dreaded the thought of walking up to the box office and saying, "One for Maid in Manhattan" and watching the ticket woman's expression slowly change from confusion to pity. Another alternative was to wait until Thursday and tell Lisa that we never saw "Maid in Manhattan". When she asked why, I'd have to confess that it was all a pathetic ruse to get her to go out with me.
I decided to call up my friends Jing and Mark and ask them for a brief cliff notes version of the movie. I remembered they claimed they saw "Maid in Manhattan" to support the director Wayne Wang (But that doesn't explain why they also saw "Just Married"). Anyways they tag teamed on the synopsis trading off every time one said, "You forgot the part about the jewel encrusted necklace!" and the other said "Fine you tell it then!" Jing in particular relished describing every detail and plot point even though she claims not to have enjoyed it at all. Her explanation of the movie was so detailed in fact, I probably would have saved time by just watching the movie.
Ironically, one of the main themes of "Maid in Manhattan" is that J-Lo's relationship is based on a lie. She's actually just a lowly chamber maid but the dude in the movie thinks she's some rich Mediterranian because he saw her wearing a fancy dress (This dress actually belonged to one of the guests of the hotel and J-Lo was secretly trying it on for fun). J-Lo and the dude actually go so far as to have sex before before she reveals her true identity. Aparantly, the moral of the movie is that in relationships you must lie to get your foot in the door, then after you've slept together you can tell Lisa the truth.
Saturday, February 8, 2003
After several days of working through reams of propositional calculus, constructing strategy trees and game theory matrices, I had a theoretical solution. It was a complex operation with several stages to it but also had several events running in parallel as fail safes. It involved a third party, a ring of cel phones, a bottle of J-Lo perfume, synchronized watches and a 976 wake-up service set to call up Hedda at precisely 8:23pm. I had to block out entire days for the prep work alone.
After rehearsing the script with Hedda, rechecking all of my calculations, the first stage of the operation was set to go. I walked into the Copy Central and said to Lisa, "Hedda and I are going to see 'Maid in Manhattan' tonight. How'd you like to join us?"( Note: the events depticted in this blog actually took place several weeks ago during the three week window that "Maid in Manhattan" was in the theaters).
(Another note: Ah yes, my solution was brilliant in its passive aggressive deviousness! I was asking Lisa out on a date without actually going through the humiliation of asking her out on a date. How is it a date if Hedda's tagging along you ask? Well on the way to the theater, Hedda's cel phone would ring and she'd tell us that her brother just died and to go on without her.)
Lisa looked disappointed. "I wish I could go with you guys but I already made plans to be at my friend's housewarming party tonight."
For some reason, this contingency hadn't even occurred to me. I just assumed she'd be watching reruns of The Practice on the WB (like I do every Saturday night).
"I'll be by the library on Thursday, though." Lisa said. "You can tell me all about the movie then."
Friday, January 31, 2003
Our house was burglarized this Monday. Hedda, my roommate, was pretty traumatized. The burglar stole our CD player and a bunch of Hedda's CDs. This is ironic because he really only stole empty CD cases. And our CD player was broken anyways; we were just using it as a radio. A suitcase and a pound of loose change was stolen as well. But the burglar left behind his 12 speed bicycle, a wrench and his shirt in our driveway. Score! I explained to Hedda that even though he probably crawled in through her bedroom window, from a purely materialist point of view we came out ahead in the transaction. She was not comforted by this.
The bicycle had a flat tire and I've been going nuts trying to construct a narrative to explain how he got it here in the first place. It's like one of those lateral thinking problems except the only one who knows the solution is kicking our CD player right now. The best I could come up with is that some Raider's fan needed to come up with $500 fast. So he went on a burglarizing spree starting with my neighbor's 12 speed. He then moved on to our house stealing items he knew he could easily resell like CD's and boom boxes and loose change. He packed his booty in Hedda's suitcase and was about to make his getaway but realized the tire had a flat so he took off on foot. But this doesn't really explain why he stole the bike in the first place.
My Mom thinks it was Rick, the world's worst plumber. And now that she mentions it, I do remember him covetously eyeing my possessions as he walked through the house.
Wednesday, January 22, 2003
I originally rented Straw Dogs because I heard the main character (played by Dustin Hoffman) was a mathematician. Disappointingly, the point of him being a mathematician is to show how wimpy he is. When a drunken Irish mob pushes him to the edge, he transforms into a raging sadist. The director passed up a good opportunity to have the character use math to defend his home against the mob.
This mob is actually trying to lynch a local retarded murderer who's hiding out in the house. Wanting him to have a fair trial, Dustin Hoffman responds by killing the entire mob with crude makeshift weapons. It wasn't very clear, but I think he's also trying to protect his wife from being raped although she was raped twice earlier that day (this rape scene lasted forever and worst of all I was watching this movie with my parents), molested later by the retarded man and finally slapped around by Dustin Hoffman. My Mom was terrified by the scene when the local exterminator throws rats into the window and shouts, "I don't just catch them. I breed them too!"
P.S. Although his character claims to be an astromathematician, the equations on his chalkboard are clearly mechanics formulas.
Sunday, January 19, 2003
I saw Lisa working at Copy Central this week. I wanted to walk in there, make a copy and casually mention, "By the way, after thinking about it for a week and a half, I have come to a decision. I will see Maid in Manhattan with you."
In reality this solution was unworkable. I had a brief window of opportunity and it had passed. If only I could have calculated faster, we might be holding hands and running through a field of daisies now. I suppose I could just ask her to see Maid in Manhattan with me. But I needed to think of a good pretext. I'd have to go back to the drawing board and hammer out a workable solution.
At this point, Lisa saw me rubbing my chin and looking at her through the storefront window. She waved to me and I quickly leaped onto the sidewalk so she wouldn't see me.
Friday, January 17, 2003
Last week, my upstairs neighbor flushed his toilet and the poo came bubbling out of my bathtub. I asked my Mom if she knew any plumbers I could trust. She swore by Rick, the neighbor across the street. Little did I suspect, he is the world's worst plumber.
He arrived at my house with a pipe wrench, a plunger and a rag. I had to lend him my manual snake but he couldn't even figure out how to twist it. He was rotating the entire base. After demonstrating how to use a snake I left him alone to his task.
"I fixed it!" he shouted after half an hour. Sure enough the water was draining out of the tub. The toilet was flushing too. I congratulated him and was about to call it a day when I noticed that the trap valve lid was unscrewed. "But the sewage is just spilling out onto the yard now." I said.
Rick looked at me solemnly and said, "You may be right."
I couldn't stand it any more. I drove to my parent's house and picked up their blow bag. When I returned the yard was covered in two inches of raw sewage. Rick was squatting amid the filth and smoking a cigarette. I don't know why he didn't just screw the lid back on. I explained how the blow bag worked and he was able to stick it into the trap valve and clear the clog.
After screwing the lid back on, he turned to me and said, "It's been a pleasure working for you." He stuck out his hand for me to shake. It was dripping wet with human excrement.
Monday, January 13, 2003
I was chatting with one of Hedda's friends named Lisa. We were talking about movies when she told me that she was a big J-Lo fan and really wanted to see "Maid in Manhattan". She was bummed that none of her friends wanted to see it with her and asked me if I might want to see it with her. "Never!" I was about to say when it occurred to me that she might be asking me out on a date. In that case I should say, "Yes!" But how likely was that? If she wasn't, then I'd have just wasted two hours of my life. After weighing the pros and cons, I decided that it was a risk worth taking.
"I'd love to see Main in Manhattan!" I almost said, but I realized this would be tantamount to lying. In truth, I'd rather stare at a blank screen for two hours. Then I thought about it some more. I could say in all honesty, "I would love to see Maid in Manhattan with you." I was about to say this when I realized that sooner or later I'd have to come clean. After we watched the movie, she would ask me what I thought of it. At this point, I could keep up the lie and then maybe 40 years later during divorce proceedings I could say, "Our marriage was based on a lie! I never liked Maid in Manhattan!" On the other hand I could tell her the truth that the movie sucked and she'd take it personally (which is silly because it's not like she wrote the screenplay (I guess it does speak to taste, though)). Anyways she would ask me why I saw it with her in the first place, and I'd have to admit that I like her. Either way, things would not end well.
But then I started thinking what if by some miraculous long shot I did like the movie. Or what if she hated it? In fact there were 4 possible outcomes. I started constructing a matrix in my head and figuring where exactly the equilibrium points were. At this point I began to formulate a plan. If I were to secretly watch the movie without her ahead of time, I could judge whether or not I liked it. This would automatically reduce the matrix in half. Unfortunately, it wouldn't break the matrix along diagonal cells.
Meanwhile back in reality about 3 minutes had passed. I had been sitting there rubbing my chin and looking off into space the whole time.
Wednesday, January 1, 2003
I spent New Years with a friend who shall remain nameless. We were at a bar in Berkeley that shall also remain nameless. It shall remain nameless because I forgot its name. About 15 minutes before midnight a woman, for no apparent reason, joined us at our table and engaged my friend in conversation. Then at midnight, she started making out with him under the flimsy pretext of following the New Years tradition of making out with the closest person next to you when the clock strikes twelve. These two were going at it for about two minutes. I didn't want to interrupt them so I just sat there sipping my glass of water. Eventually all my water was drunk so I just pretended to sip water from the empty cup.
By the way, this woman was incredibly attractive. She was so attractive and my friend had such low self-esteem, he was convinced she must have been rolling or drunk or just blindly following New Years tradition. By his rationale if she had just happened to be sitting next to Sloth from the Goonies she'd have no choice but to start licking Baby Ruth off his lips. In truth, my friend is quite good looking. He is so good looking, I assumed he was gay the first time I met him. Anyways, back to the story…
During some down time, I made an excuse about wanting to catch the last bus and excused myself. They politely insisted on me staying but I left anyhow. When I got to the bus stop, I checked the schedule and found it wasn't actually arriving for another half hour. It was pretty cold so I kept warm by walking back and forth and rubbing my hands together. I thought about heading back but in such a situation, I usually defer to the golden rule. In this case, if I were my friend I'd want me to remain at the bus stop so I could continue my molesting uninterrupted. Jesus would have been proud of me. Meanwhile, it was getting pretty cold and as it was midnight, everything else was closed. I thought maybe I could sneak back into the bar without them seeing me. I peeked in the window and saw my friend showing the woman his sketchbook. I figured it was safe to return so I did.
Wednesday, December 18, 2002
I don't get a haircut that often. When I do, I want it buzzed so that I'm practically bald because I want to get my money's worth. A while ago, I thought I might be able to save money if I simply did away with haircuts altogether. At $15 a pop, this could amount conservatively to $3000 over the course of a lifetime or $260,000 adjusting for inflation and compound interest. I could literally buy a house in cash. My hair grew pretty long until I realized I was using a lot of money on shampoo. In a few decades I'd be going through a bottle every week just to keep my hair clean.
This raised the question: to save cost what is the optimum length of time one should wait between haicuts? I'll spare you the calculus. Suffice it to say the function for total cost graphed like an ascending sawtooth of sorts. I took the slope at the point immediately after the first haircut to smooth things out for differentiation. Consequently, the formula could be off given short periods of time. But over a lifetime, it approaches correctness. The formula is as follows:
Optimum length of time between haircuts = ((2*H)/(S*E*R))^.5
S=cost of shampoo ($/weight)
H=Cost of haircut ($)
R=growth rate of hair (length/time)
E=amount of shampoo it takes to wash hairs (weight/length)
At this point in the problem, I realized I'd actually have to do some measurement and gave up.
Thursday, December 12, 2002
I just saw 8 mile last night. The rap battles were thrilling. I could feel my heart beating at the creative verbal play. I felt giddy leaving the theater. The battles consisted of the characters insulting each other in odd but imaginative ways for 45 second intervals. Even when Eminem went to work at the auto plant, he'd get into battles with random line workers. The climax of the movie featured Eminem's rap disparaging his opponent for coming from a loving two-parent family and attending private school. His opponent was speechless with shame and walked off the stage humiliated.
One of the less interesting story threads in the movie involved how his family deals with the threat of eviction. This storyline is resolved when the Mom returns home and announces she won $3000 in bingo.
Wednesday, December 11, 2002
At the Beastfest reception, Jesse introduced me to someone who shall remain nameless. She wore frame glasses, a leather coat and short boyish hair. I could go on forever, but the point I'm tying to get across is that she was extremely attractive in a sort of hip androgynous way. Instead of shaking my hand, she simply pumped her hand in the air as if she was shaking hands with an invisible person standing between us. I did likewise. As we stood there both shaking our hands in the air I started to fall in love.
"I can't believe it!" I said finally, "You're neurotically afraid of germs too?"
"No…" she said. "I just have this bag under my arm I don't want to drop."
"Oh yeah. Me too." I said even though I clearly had no bag under my arm.
She looked at my nonexistent bag, then up at me. After a brief awkward moment of silence I ran away.
Saturday, December 7, 2002
I was using a public restroom last night. It was an odd setup as it only had a single stall and a urinal trough right next to the door. For the women reading this, imagine a trough lined up against the wall about knee high. Now imagine that five men are lined across the length of it shoulder to shoulder, urinating. Also imagine a line of 3 to 5 men behind each urinator forming a hoplite phalanx of sorts.
Naturally, I wanted to use the stall. For some reason, they'd built the walls of the stall extremely close to the ground. To see if there were any feet in there, I had to back up all the way to the doorway. Even then, I couldn't see and had to squat fairly low to get the proper angle. As I was checking for feet, something caught my peripheral vision to the right. I turned my head and saw a penis. Someone was using the urinal! I craned my neck upwards to look at the guy's face. He was obviously weirded out by me squatting and putting my face right at his penis level. He tried inching away from me in midstream. I quickly leaped up and ran into the stall.
P.S. I know this has absolutely nothing to do with comics. I've decided to turn this part of my site into a weekly weblog.