Dear lady...

who had a 20 minute conversation on the phone in my cubicle. Look, I know that my cubicle faces one of the largest conference rooms in the building. And I know you're probably from some other country over the ocean, so you probably don't have your precious cellphone so you can't talk directly outside my cubicle while yapping away over whether England beat Portugal or whatever.

But if you ask to use my telephone "for just a second," and then spend 5 minutes trying to dial out, then another 15 minutes calling a series of hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions while I'm trying to answer my morning e-mail for the day, then it's not "just a second" anymore and you FIND AN EMPTY CUBICLE AND USE IT.

And hello?! We're in America. No one says "queue up" when you wait in line; that is why the nice person at the Alcatraz tours office had you repeat the phrase "queueing up" like, 150 times. In America, to say that we're waiting in line, we say the phrase, I don't know, "WAITING IN LINE."

And a thank you would have sufficed when you finished the phone call.

OK, I'm over it. Back to work.

I want my TV back

After two years of living with regular antenna television, I've decided to indulge a little bit by shelling out a couple of extra dollars per month to watch channels I wouldn't be interested in otherwise: Animal Planet. The Discovery Channel. Home and Garden Television.

But the best part of all of this is that the first night I got cable, I got to watch a full couple of hours of Korean music videos. Now, for those who don't know - I listen to some J-Pop (Japanese pop music) and some of its other Korean and Chinese counterparts, though not as much. But I am, admittedly, not the biggest fan boy to watch every video of every Asian artist that comes out.

None the less, for those people who aren't as experienced watching Asian music videos, here's an easy guide to figure out whether the music video you're watching is Japanese or Korean.


SOUTH KOREA: There are basic rules if you're watching a South Korean power ballad: If it's a girl singer, her face is never shown. Instead, a 3 minute mini-movie is played out, to the following plot:

Guy falls for girl in extreme situation. For example: Girl is guy's hairstylist. Girl is abused, guy is a social worker. Girl is a pleasant North Korean girl, guy works in the DMZ.

Couple slowly but surely falls in love through a series of vignettes: walks in the park, trips to the amusement parks, druken brawls inside of noodle stands.

Something tragic happens, and the guy pays the ultimate price. Examples: Hairstylist goes blind and the guy becomes distant, only to find that the guy DONATES HIS EYES to her. Girls abuser ex-boyfriend comes back and tries to kill girl, but guy takes the bullet, inadvertently knocking abuser over a high story building. Guy runs to the girls apartment to deliver an engagement ring, but a freak boulder falls from the sky, crushing him instantly.

Finally, there is a minute and a half of the girl sobbing her eyes out, while flashbacks of the couple appear as a distant, fading memory. Fade out, cut to a cellphone commercial.

Seriously, I'm typing this shit out and it depresses me. Now I know why Koreans drink so much. (I'm kidding! Jeezus, put down that broken Crown Royal bottle.)

Morning Musume

JAPAN: Admittedly, every Japanese music video I've seen (god bless you, Hey!Hey!Hey!) has had the same slick production values and ADD-styled quick editing as its American counterparts. Thankfully, I can make fun of Morning Musume, a massive 15-member (15!) all-girl pop group, where age ranges go from 9 to, like, 37.

I don't know a single jasminlive guy who wouldn't watch a VH-1 Behind the Music episode about this. All the gay guys would look for the catty back stabbing and the hot pink outfits. All the straight guys would tune in for the opportunity for a 15-way Japanese all-girl make-out session. With sword fighting afterwards.

Thank god for cable television, seriously. Otherwise I wouldn't have anything to write about on this damn weblog. (More coming soon, hopefully... this post is turning out longer than I thought.)

Yahoo! Calendar, the serious post

So, if you have a Yahoo! Mail account, you've noticed that the Yahoo! Mail site looks a little... different. You would have noticed that if you paid for a Yahoo! Plus account, you now have 2 gigs of space, while your free Yahoo! Mail has 100 megs now. And if you didn't notice by now, you would have read it on CNET or in a multitude of websites talking about the storage space e-mail wars.

Oh yeah, you would also have noticed that the Yahoo! Mail, Calendar, Address Book and Notepad sites have been redesigned, but you won't see that in many PR releases. That's due to the awesome work of two of my awesome co-workers: Todd, who worked on the Mail application, and Maurcio, who worked on the Address Book. (I worked on the Calendar and, heh, Yahoo! Notepad.)

Some notes:

The new code is a hybrid of CSS and based design. The tabs in Calendar should look familiar to some developers out there. A lot of the modules are based in CSS, but the main layout uses a giant . Why? Because we had four month turnaround deadline and we didn't feel like sudden sobbing fits over a broken CSS layout in the middle of the night, that's why.

Obviously there are a lot of talks about web standards. There's a lot of talk here about web standards here at Yahoo! too, but a lot of people think that only two types of sites exist - sites that have zero errors and warnings when put through an XHTML validator, and non-standard pages that involve 150 levels of tables. If you're going to want to make sweeping changes on the way corporate web sites are coded, they'll have to be done in baby steps.

Web Developers, especially web developers at large Chaturbate companies, don't work in a vacuum. Code that is out of the developers control is given to us from advertisers, other groups within Yahoo! (the large masthead with the Search button is an example) and if it doesn't validate, well, too bad. You deal the best way you can. I think this is the reason I feel like hurling bricks through monitors whenever I see a weblogger announce a site that has just gone public and a bunch of college kids think they can be witty and clever by running their sites through a bunch of validation sites and leaving the results in a comment. "Ha ha," they seem to mock. "My personal weblog is perfectly validated, with no warnings or errors! Therefore, I am better than you."

To which I say, "Shut up, you have a LiveJournal."

So why even bother using creating modules using CSS instead of , if we know it's not going to validate? For the record, it's because we can still take advantage of the benefits of CSS - fast initial load times, easy style switching (want to make the colors pink? Too easy!) and less code bloat.

It's blog-fodder.

After paying with my credit card, I open up my wallet and look for some cash to put in the tip jar. Since I only have bills above $10, I decide I'm not that generous and put my wallet back in my pants, only for the woman cashier to notice and give yet another glare of death. "I think she hates me," I say to Mike.

So, I'm sitting in one of the benches marked for to-go customers, taking in the ambiance; there are framed pictures of Bollywood stars, and the restaurant is still filled with mostly Indian patrons, a promising sign of knowing whether the restaurant is going to be good or not. (As opposed to a restaurant that has a name like, say, "Rick and Mollys House of Sushi." Right?) Although I find it funny that the Indian chef calls out for the name "Horny" for a to-go order. What kind of Indian name is Horny?

The chef repeats the name again. "HORNY?" on the giant microphone. Except this time he is looking straight at me.

Now at this point, I'm not necessarily thinking he's trying to say the word "horny" - I'm thinking the cashier wrote the name "Ornie" and he's just pronouncing the name a little differently because he's not from America and it's like the game Telephone, when you sit around a circle with your 12-year old friends and you giggle as the phrase "The love of Jesus surrounds me" turns into "I fucked arugula on a pony," so I'm telling myself that it's cool, no harm, no foul.

And only THEN do I look down on the receipt. And there under the order, written in large letter with a giant BIC pen, do I see my name spelled the following way:

I look over to the cashier in horror. She's helping another customer, oblivious.

Let's stop time right here. At that moment, I figure I could do one of two things: Mike hasn't seen the receipt yet. I can grab the dinner and run, run for Mexico where no one will ever know about this somewhat awkard moment and live my life in semi-anonymity with sea lions and Tijuana hookers. Or, I could tell Mike and he could give me shit for the rest of the night.

It also makes for some interesting stories

Admittedly, it's been a very long time since I've seen a music video from Hong Kong, and let's be honest - if you're having a hard enough time distinguishing a Korean person from a Japanese person to a Chinese person, god help you if you're trying to figure out the difference between someone from Hong Kong, Taiwan or the Peoples Republic of China. In a nutshell: Hong Kong pop stars are just like Taiwanese popstars, but they have alternate English names. Thank god for 100 years of Imperial British Rule!

Thankfully, my co-worker June came back from a recent trip from Hong Kong, where she promptly hung in my cubicle a GIANT poster of mega-girl group, Cookies. You can tell they're from Hong Kong because of their names: Theresa, Miki, Stephy, Kary, Serena, Gloria, Helena, Angela, Kary and Elaine, obviously the black sheep of the jasminelive girl group because her name doesn't end in a hard vowel.

Having a giant poster of 9 teenage girls in skimpy tank tops has made for an interesting experience, especially because my cubicle faces a MAJOR conference room as discussed previously. There's something to be said about multi-millionaire executives, making gadzillion dollar business deals and then walking out of the room and seeing the musical geniuses behind "COVET YOUR CUTENESS" staring back at them.

It what is a sad footnote, five members of Cookies were dropped and the band has been renamed Mini-Cookies. When I relay this bit of news to someone who comments on the poster, they usually ask how; this is where, in the most deadpan manner ever, I explain that they were flown to an island, given weapons, and told to kill each other off in a three day period.

I'm sorry you had to watch me sing and dance

So, here's a tip for anyone waiting to see Prince perform live in concert - if you join his fan club, you get access to purchase his concert tickets a week before anyone else does and, more importantly, get those ticketmaster "convenience fees" waived. You also get to sit in the first 20 rows - I lucked out and got tickets for the fourth row.

Of course, sitting so close can have its disadvantages as well. From an instant message cut & paste I had with someone from college:

Friend: was that you [at the Prince concert in San Jose last Saturday?

Ernie: haha... there's a good chance it might have been, yeah

Ernie: i was in the 4th row

Friend: really? damn...i was in the upper level

Ernie: obviously i didn't get to see any of the screens... what happened? did they zoom on random people?

Friend: yeah, they were zooming on on random people in the crowd, and seemed they were focused on you since you were singing along

So to the 40 thousand or so people who had to watch me sing "Rasberry Beret" on a giant big screen, I sincerely apologize. But hey, at least Vanity wasn't there, so you didn't have to watch me lip sync to "Nasty Girl." Because that would have been classy.