Thursday, November 19, 2009

Internet approved commentary!!!

Yes I've neglected my personal blog, especially since expanding IRWatch beyond just international news. But I've got some exciting news, my last post went viral! Hurray! In just a day and a half, my readership's gone up 1665% and I can honestly say that I've had readers from 41 countries and 40 states.

Thanks Google Analytics!

Update:  At the encouragement of a few friends, I dug a little deeper to see where all the hits were coming from.  No other blog linked to it, all I got from G-Analytics is that it's entirely twitter / direct link (email?) phenomenon.  Doing a little more research, I found a way to follow the story in one of children of tinyurl - (you can also note, that I didn't use for the link, I used  I can see at least with this one that it's been retweeted 13 times, one of which by Matt Cutts, "Head of webspam team at Google." That would explain why so many people in California are reading it; he's got 40000 followers.

Update 2: Also retweeted by Henk van Ess, a Dutch CEO and author of books on google.  He's got 14000 followers...  it's fun to watch the wave.  Incidentally, when can I get some wave invites so I can actually talk to friends on Google Wave?

Update 3: A family member mentioned that if you do a google search of "Google Scholar Law," a reference to my article is on the first page (a reference to Matt Cutt's Tweet).  It's probably because I kind of dubbed the phrase "google scholar - law" because google scholar has been preexisting for years, and on that page you actually have to choose the "legal opinions and journals" box to get cases.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

TV and Radio on the Internet

In my two year hiatus of Mr. Bento-ing, a lot of things have changed on the internet. In particular, there has been an explosion of video and podcasts on the internet... most of which has revolved around cute kittens, and for those of you who know me well, nothing could interest me less. So what do I look for in video and audio on the internet? It needs to be free and legal, as well as have high quality writing, production and encoding - essentially be the same quality as something you could see on tv or the radio. And as Janelle and I flip channels on the television, I realize that much of what I watch and listen to on the internet is actually higher quality than much of the crap that makes it's way onto actual television. Rest assured, if I post it here it's quality - I promise you'll enjoy it as much as I do. Without much further adieu, I'd like to make my first recommendation.

A Dog's Breakfast - David Hewlett wrote, directed and starred in this low budget yet superb film. If you like off beat British comedy like Monty Python or Flight of the Conchords, you will love this hilarious dark comedy about sibling rivalry and murder. What's best is that you can view the entire movie at Hulu. Watch it today, you'll be glad you did. Five stars!


Thursday, March 05, 2009

I'm Back!

The funny thing about blogspot is that you can see exactly how long it's been since I've posted on Mr. Bento. Yes it has actually been two and a half years, and yes quite a few things have happened since. Where to begin ... maybe a timeline would be best.
Summer 2006, I start my masters thesis with the stuffy title "A White Paper on international relations in East Asia among the United States, Russia and Japan".

September 2006, I made my previous Mr. Bento post about Cocco. I still stand behind my original declaration by the way; Cocco rocks. Still about a quarter of songs on my five star playlist are Cocco's. Friends and family - let me know if you want to borrow a CD. Best musician ever!

October 2006, Thanks in part to all the hard work I was doing at the time, I get promoted at FSU to the guy in charge of customer service. I was busy, but I like being busy. Things were great.

March 2007, A water pipe bursts in the ceiling of our apartment damaging half of our stuff, my mom goes into the hospital with serious health issues, and I decide to move from Tallahassee back to my home in Tampa.

Summer 2007, I drive back up to Tallahassee to defend my Masters Thesis, and instead of immediately getting my Masters Degree, the committee recommends a lot of improvements. I decide that the best option would be to start it from scratch. Also I start work as a contract worker in IT, because it's the only work I can find in Tampa.

October 2007, I bought an iPhone. It's my baby. I mainly use it as a calendar and email client, and a handy portable way to listen to webradio and podcasts. Yes they came out with a cheaper faster one, but I'm still extremely happy with mine, and can hardly imagine living without it.

December 2007, I start my second blog International Relations Watch. It began as a thesis study aid, but evolved into a general international politics blog. As it turns out, I really enjoy writing about world politics... it makes me feel like I'm writing papers in college again. Weird, huh?

February 2008, My mom's health problems get worse, but the subsequent final surgery leaves her much healthier. She's doing pretty darn well today.

September 2008, I finish my second Masters Thesis, now entitled "Why the United States Must End the Second Cold War as it Begins." This one is much less of a history paper and more of a policy recommendation paper, and it is quite a bit less Japano-centric than the original, but the original conclusion remains the same: The US and Russia need to deescalate the Cold War rhetoric, and a good way to ease the tensions would be by letting the US mediate an official end to WWII between Russia and Japan. I'm happy to see tensions easing between the US and Russia, though they haven't done my idea... yet. You can read a more detailed brief on IRWatch (click here), or to read the whole thing by asking me for a copy.

November 2008, The economic downturn hits close to home and I loose my job at the time. Yeah it sucks, but it turned out pretty well for me. There are a lot of other people these days who can't say that.

December 2008, I get my Master of Science degree in International Affairs, and I get interviewed and eventually hired at the USF, the University of South Florida in Tampa. A total 360 from the last time I published, I'm back working at a Florida University in a job that I love, but this time in my home town. The only difference are that this time I'm working in the Deans Office instead of in the Cashiers Office... oh and the university is spelled USF instead of FSU.

So now that things are right again and I have a bit of spare time, you can look forward to reading more what's going on around the world in IRWatch, and in my world here in Mr. Bento.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cocco is number one

Those who know me, know I like Japanese music. In fact, I liked it so much I even took four semesters of college Japanese "for fun". Well I'd like to refine the original assertion, I've gone through a lot of my old songs, and decided I don't like Japanese music per se; I like Cocco's music. So much so, I've bought three Cocco CDs in the past year, and would by more if they were available.

But because I'd rather be lazy than write a very long post, I'll just link to someone elses. Yukihime puts my feelings to words quite well, and even gave me the idea to look on YouTube for Cocco music videos. I've since seen all of the ones available, and disappointingly I couldn't find a couple of my favorite songs as music videos. But to give a small taste of what makes Cocco the best, here are a few links to songs that aren't the best. This is a link to a music video of a pretty good song Hoshini Negaiwo (probably #6 on my favorite Cocco song list, but good none the less) , and here is a link to a live performance of Yagenogahara, which I am guessing is her final performance before she retired in 2000.

At first seeing her sing was a bit of a shock, I was surprised that such powerful music could come out of this shy and awkward middle aged Japanese woman. A friend from JSA had heard that in her final concert before she retired, she ran off stage crying. I think I have now been able to incorporate that story into my understanding of Cocco. Yukihime said "Other songs are about something; Cocco’s songs are the thing itself. It’s the difference between understanding something and believing in it"

This is why I was so happy to hear that Cocco had come out of retirement a year or so ago, and why I bought her new CD... and why if anyone would like to visit Japan with me to eat delicious Japanese food like sushi and takoyaki (octopus balls), I'd love to plan it around a Cocco concert. :?)

Well it's bed time, so I should get going. Peace out all, and word to your respective mothers.

-Mr. Bento


PS: I am, of course, always happy to let friends borrow CDs.

PSS: Yes I know, you don't speak Japanese... try listening to the music without knowing the words first. I couldn't find a good translation of "Hoshini Negaiwo" but I'll loosely translate the title as "Wishing on a Star." Here's a Yukihime translation of Yagenogahara (the live second one). I'll loosely translate the title "Scorched Earth". You'll be wanting to learn Japanese in no time, and you haven't even heard the best songs yet!

PSSS: If you're still interested, here's the YouTube links her “I'm no longer retired” song Shoka Rinrin (translation), and two other songs, Oasis and Raining.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Why I don't blog often

I've been pondering this for a while, and my old excuse has always been that I'm busy. Sure it's true, I'm a busy person. In fact, in the past two weeks:

  1. I had a birthday (hurrah, now I'm 24) and we went to my favorite restaurant Kitcho.

  2. I've published my first ever official webpage for my job ( Even by modest standards it looks damn good. It also uses 100% clean and pure CSS & HTML is handycap accessible, and even has a really small file size. This is all cool and significant, but took a lot of time.

  3. I've gotten my first two newspaper ads in a long time published (I'll put them up on my webpage's "portfolio" page whenever I get around to making both the webpage and the portfolio)

  4. I made my first color flyers ever because the director of my job liked one of my newspaper ads so much she asked me to redo it into a color flyer and have 1500 copies printed.

  5. I made my first full color posters because the director liked the full color flyers so much she wanted posters, so I made one and we printed 50 of them. Here's the wild thing, campus printing services charges only 35 cents for printing 12" by 18" posters... I'm going to be making so many posters its not even funny. At the very least, its a great portfolio filler.

  6. This is the second busiest week of the year for customers coming into my job (topped only by next week), and they just changed around the phone systems so I now get around fifty to a hundred more calls a day than usual.

  7. I had to deal with unbelievable bureaucracy in order to register for classes this semester, special thanks to Eric who helped me get it all done within this hectic week. He's the bomb.

  8. I started a class which I believe will be the least of my worries in the weeks and months to come. Its Thursdays 2-5, so no one needs to worry about calling me while I'm in class this semester. Special thanks to my boss John for OK'ing it.

  9. I started seriously researching my thesis (Americano-Russo-Japanese relations), which I still can't describe in less than ten words... I desperately need a good title.

  10. I began playing a new game with my friends online called Diplomacy. I've already made two moves, but I haven't even really read the rules yet, I just skimmed the tutorial.

  11. And in the midst of all of this I have spent a good deal of time with Janelle and even played three to five hours of Halo with my friends.

So am I a busy person? Yes, but the more I think about it, I made it that way. I volunteered for all of the special projects at work from the webpage to the newspaper ads to the flyers and posters. It is my choice to go to school as I have a 40 hour a week job, and it is my choice to write a thesis. I guess subconsciously I like being busy .

I've commented to several friends in the past that I don't like to read, and couldn't even finish reading a book I was really enjoying (A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) and I haven't picked up a book for fun since then. Is it because I have undiagnosed attention deficit disorder? I used to think so, but the more I look at the list above and I think of my success with similar ventures in the past, the less I think so. In fact, I've been writing this blog entry for at least 30 minutes now so it is an excellent example of how I am able to focus on something... it just needs to have perceived value for me to want to focus on it.

And that's the answer, each of those things above has significant value to me, but my interest slumps where the perceived value ends... and that's why I don't blog very often. It may be a little corny but like Mr. Ed I'll never speak unless I have something to say.


PS: My Mr. Bento classic template died and the color changy and accessable template didn't have a way to let others post comments, so I sold out and used a base one. I'll probably make myself a new one if I ever get around to it. So in other words, please leave comments :?)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I can make websites apparently

Two months ago I'd never made a website with little more than MS Word (shudder). Now I've got a real website under my belt, which will be going live to very soon (once I get around to updating all of the pages). What I think is the greatest accomplishment is that I made it from scratch, by capturing the look of the FSU template, while using none of the bad code. In addition, I optimized it so that all of the files are super small (in fact all of the graphics other than the banner total 752 bytes) and I even improved upon the style (what can I say, I love subtle gradients). In conclusion, I rock. I can't wait to make a supercool homepage.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

CSS: More fun than it sounds

As many of you know I've been experimenting with webpage design in the last month or so, and for the last week or so I've been trying to learn CSS (Cascading Style Sheets, basically a way to change the looks of a webpage without changing its code). I've got most of the language down thanks to the easy interactive lessons at W3Schools, but yesterday I found an amazing website which I think explains why CSS is much more fun than it sounds called CSS Zengarden. Basically they have a base webpage which various graphic designers use to illustrate the extremes that can be made by using CSS ... "The code remains the same, the only thing that has changed is the external .css file. Yes, really."

Here are a few of my favorite examples of what can be done just by using CSS and not messing around with the (HTML) code of the page . . . the most exciting part is that I should actually be able to do this stuff!