Waiting for neologisms

Dreams are weird things. For instance, there might be a neologism that you understand implicitly—sounds like a definition your friends may make you read aloud in Urban Dictionary to corrupt you, But doesn’t even exist yet..

Here was a weird dream:

She says, “Things have gone a little stale in bed so I’m going to get him a Happy Pen.”

“Oh, what’s a “Happy Pen?” one asks

She rolls her eyes.

Later that day, they come across her boyfriend. “Hey, we heard she’s going to get you a Happy Pen.” they say laughing.

“Look,” he says with frustration. “It’s not just a happy pen. I mean there’s more to it that just that. Maybe an Olive Garden before that and a kiss afterward.”

“Oh, what’s an “Olive Garden”?”

(I”m surprised they aren’t in Urban Dictioanry. You’d think if there’s a Hefty Midget, there’d be these.)

This reminds me of college where I was a house waiter.

After serving dinner the w8rs used to sit at table, drink, and talk. The rule was nobody could leave the dining hall, unless everyone stood up at once. Since the excom was traditionally held by w8rs, most house business was informally handled at this time. The rest of it was frustrate your friends by keeping them from studying.

One of us would make up neologisms for novel sexual acts in the hopes that everyone else would get so offended they’d stand up.

In those days there was no Urban Dictonary; there was, however, the alt.sex FAQ.

After dinner he’d submit his made-up-shit to alt.sex.

He managed to get a couple of them in the FAQ.

In case you were wondering, the only surefire way to get every waiter to stand up at once was to fart. You precede this period of flatulence with an imperative pun. “Wait!”

“Wait!” someone yells.

(Everyone stops talking and pauses)


“Ahh geez!” (Everyone stands up at once.)

Our Lucy Liu

In the Japantown parking lot, my girlfriend starts the topic:

Her: My roommate, Nora, moved down to Los Angeles the other week.

Me: Yeah?

Her: …and already someone down there stopped her in the street and told her she looks like Lucy Liu.

Even *I* get that a lot…

Me: Oh God! She looks nothing…

Her: Yeah, anytime white guys see a pretty asian girl, they say she looks like Lucy Liu.

Me: Ha! …or Michelle Yeoh.

Her: Because they’re the only two asian people they know.

Me: And if it’s a guy it’ll be Chow Yun Fat or Jet Li.

Her: White guys thinks it’s a compliment. But what they’re really saying is, ‘All Asians look alike to me.’”


Nora and friend
Steak A5A, North Waterfront, San Francisco, California

Nikon D3, Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G, SB-900
1/24sec @ ƒ/2, iso2000, 24mm

Nora at her going away party. (For you white people, Nora is the one in the picture that looks like Lucy Liu.)

Me: I wonder which one they say I look like?

Her: Umm……

Me: …probably Michelle Yeoh.

(If she wasn’t parking at that moment, she’d have hit me.)


Steak A5A, North Waterfront, San Francisco, California

Nikon D3, Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G, SB-900
1/25sec @ ƒ/2, iso2000, 24mm

Now that you mention it, she does sort of remind me of Chow Yun Fat.

Awesome blogging

Earlier this week, Neil Pasricha contacted Automattic about the success of his WordPress blog, 1000 Awesome Things. This is a blog, hosted for free on WordPress.com and it’s very inspiring…

(Read more about it on his blog. Apparently, there is a shout out in the book somewhere around page 400 or so.)

While reading Marie’s post about iPad cases, I came across ∆Temple Bags and noticed the entire site is built on WordPress (WordPress.org). It reminds me of this post four years ago.

People are doing some awesome stuff with blog software. Perhaps you will be inspired (and encouraged) too.. 🙂

Mapping the Long Tail (of drinking)

It’s hard to believe it’s been over two years, since we’ve last had a Spontaneous Drinking Night—an event with only two rules: a weeknight and less than twenty four hours notice.


Spontaneous Drinking Founders (minus one)
House of Shields, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Nikon D3, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, SB-800
1/30sec @ f/2.2 iso3200, 50mm

Cindy Phung, Andrew Mager, and Robert Balousek. Only one founder is missing from this photo.

But Greg was visiting and House of Shields may be closing soon so we had to schedule a reunion.
Continue reading

Social media is a pencil

IMing during the announcement today:

10:22:49 AM
A—: Google Buzz

Me: ?

A—: http://www.youtube.com/feb0910googleevent


A—: I am not impressed

Me: Over half the shit Google makes doesn’t go anywhere
Me: I’ll wait until it catches on.
Me: Give me a summary of buzz, or blog it and give me the link 😉

A—: I wish I had a moment to blog it. It’s pretty sweet actually
A—: Here is a summary

Me: Oh it’s just a FriendFeed/Facebook knock off.
Me: That won’t fly. While I’m sure their filter will be way better than the others,
Google has gone down in a ball of flames for anything social network.

Twitter / Ed Finkler: Things that google has don ...

Ed Finkler critiques the Google Buzz buzz: “Things that google has done well: Search, ads. Things that Google has not done well: Social media. Don’t shit your pants, folks.”

Talking about something completely unrelated after lunch with P—:

“…that’s why there’s a term ‘social media douchebag’ in the first place.”

“I feel uncomfortable about talking about ‘social media,’” P— confesses.

“Why would you? It’s social media. Talking about it would be like waxing eloquent about your pencil.”

P— laughs, “That’s funny.”

“It’s just a thing you use, it’s not an end in itself.”

“You know there’s going to be a lot of social media people at South-by right?”

“That’s different, there will be a lot of people there in general. With that dilution the douchery is within acceptable limits.”

True. True.

Social gaming

Image representing Zynga as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

There was an interesting article in the New York Times about FarmVille. The only major error I have to comment on is that, given my experience at Tagged, saying Zynga is profitable is a massive understatement.

I think it’s instructive how companies like Slide and RockYou could have been so slow to capitalize on game designs that date back to 1980’s bulletin board systems. Perhaps they’ll study that in b-school. With 20-20 hindsight, this model does complete sense—interaction and bandwidth limitations are pretty much the same relative to the existing technology in each time period are strikingly similar in both BBSs and social networks. And just to further emphasize that it was not first mover that defined success, but rather failure to capitalize, I’ll remind the audience that neither FarmVille nor Mafia Wars were original ideas on Facebook—both were swiped from competitor products.

I will give Zynga (and the others) this. They have a far more mature understanding of social virality than the days of Plaxo, Tagged, or even RockYou/Slide. Earlier social gaming (like the first such app, Zombies) used traditional models based on optimizing signups and invites, but the Zynga model is optimizing views and clicks and they’re doing a good job. Remember, FarmVille only launched in June and now is all over the Times.


This is Mafia Wars, Zynga’s copy of Mob Wars. Note the use of various promotions to cater to instincts of people to bring their eyeballs here daily — gambling with daily chance, limited time offers and jobs, cross selling their other applications like Farmville, etc.On this screenshot showing a fold and a half of content, you only see one “social” touch point (at the bottom). That’s because the social aspect is only used like e-mail for messaging—and even then, only for notifications because real interaction like in Diplomacy or Chess would need much more brainpower than simply clicking.


Clicks are optimized here; social interaction is minimal here.

Trust me, they make a lot of money off of this.

Before any of us start rationalizing, part of learning is admitting when someone does it better than you. Hats off to Zynga.

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Lolcats can never be FAIL'd

Last month, my friend and fellow kimchee-eaterM.J., had three books sent to me. FailNation, How to Take over Teh Wurld, and Graph Out Loud. That’s important that I have friends like her because I’m usually the last to know about the latest memes.

Three new books and their respective websites: FailBlog, ICanHasCheezburger, and GraphJam.

I mention this because if you happen to be in San Francisco today at 6:30pm you really need to go to the book launch party. I came to get their last book signed:

I’ll certainly be there in order to get the books signed (and then give them away later, like I did last time).

Ben Huh signing their first book.

See you at the party!

(Full disclaimer, I now work for Automattic—though I didn’t at the time M.J. sent me the books. ICanHasCheezburger, GraphJam, and Failblog are VIP customers of WordPress.com.)

Terry takes the Oklahoma High School Civics Test

1. What Is the Supreme Law of the Land?

The Ten Commandments.

2. What Do We Call the First Ten Amendments of the Constitution?

The New Deal.

3. What Are the Two Parts of the U.S. Congress?

Communists and Capitalists.

4. How Many Justices Are on the Supreme Court?

None. This is a trick question. Everyone knows the only people in court are the judge, jury and executioner.

5. Who Wrote the Declaration of Independence?


6. What Ocean Is on The East Coast of the United States?

The Mexican Ocean.

7. What Are the Two Major Political Parties in the United States?

Republican and Socialist.

8. We Elect a U.S. Senator for How Many Years?

Until they die or get caught in a wide stance.

9. Who Was the First President of the United States?

Ronnie Raygun.

10. Who Is in Charge of the Executive Branch?

Donald Trump.

Continue reading about about Oklahoma after the jump

Permanent Minority

This deserves to be quoted in whole:

“50 years ago you shouted nigger, 30 years ago you talked about States Rights, now you ask to see the president’s birth certificate.”

I’d say it dates back even further—to secession and the Civil War. Back then the reason was Slave Power, for the last half century it was the Southern Strategy, now they’ve been reduced to Glenn Beck throwing a hissy fit and senior citizens screaming to keep government out of their Medicare.

You’d think that after being on the wrong side of history for the last two centuries, these people would get a clue.

Continue reading about Addendum: The Lion of Liberalism after the jump.

German America

I hate three-on-ones. Especially because I’m so often “the one” side.

I was trying to explain on this most American of holidays, while American politics has a clear historical affinity with the British, American culture has a historical affinity with the Germans. Of course, I was shouted down as being an absurdist—the main argument being apparently American’s are the most anti-authoritarians in the world but the Germans are a bunch of goose-steppers.

The fact that we’ve just finished eating frankfurters and hamburgers (not to mention nearly every American major beer marque) being completly trumped by by lazy idea of putting it between two pieces of bread.

I exaggerate.

But not by much.

Continue reading about The facts are tricky things (after the jump). after the jump