Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I realize in an earlier comment I used the term "nei" to which I received an inquiry from a state-sider as to what exactly that meant. So that got me thinking, maybe I should do a post for our off-island brethren who need to be educated on some of the finer points of local English. And while it's nowhere near comprehensive here at least is a highlight of some of the more common phrases one might hear in a computer classroom on Saipan. (for all the locals out there, please forgive me if I get something wrong but do feel free to correct or add to the list as you see fit)

  • Nei or Nai (nay-but not like the horse): Probably one of the most prevalent of local terms, while I have no way to prove it, it's my opinion that this word was probably derived from the Japanese "ne" since they sound so similar and are used in almost exactly the same way. "Nei" is usually put at the end of a sentence and basically means "right".
Jose: "It's hot today nei?"
Juan: "Yah nei!"

  • Par (pär) Brat (brät-as in bratwurst): No, they have nothing to do with golf or a poorly behaved child. They both kind of mean "friend". These two terms can be used interchangeably and while I'm not 100% sure I believe par is short for partner and brat is an abbreviation of brother. Therefore the words themselves are used in similar contexts, usually to show camaraderie or companionship.
Jose: "This game is badass brat!" (badass is a common term here meaning exceptionally cool)
Juan: "Yah nei par! It's da best."

  • Ai Adai (i uh-day): As best I can tell this is generally an expression of exasperation. Therefore it's no surprise that this term is used extensively in conversations pertaining to the government or the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation. One typically will shake their head from side to side and make a "tsk-tsk" sound while uttering this phrase. Although I've also heard it used to express surprise or slight shock as well.
Jose: "Mr. Redd, my computer just turned off."
Mr. Redd: "Ai Adai Jose, why do you keep pushing the power button?"

  • Fagaga (fa-ga-ga): I believe the direct translation of this term is "to treat like an animal" although the more appropriate translation is to play a joke on someone. As in "Look out for her she really likes to fagaga people".
Jose: "Hey par look, I'm gonna turn off my computer to fagaga Mr. Redd"
Juan: "Yah brat, do it, that's funny"
Jose: "Mr. Redd, my computer just turned itself off?!"
Mr. Redd: "Ai Adai Jose, why you always fagaga me?"

  • Matoka or Matoko (ma-tow-ko): The Chamorro version of "'re gonna get in trouble." As you may have been able to tell this word is gender specific so if a girl is doing something she shouldn't be then its "matoka" or, as is more often the case if its a boy doing something wrong then it becomes "matoko". The word is usually spoken in a much higher decibel than regular speech and is held out longer in order to better get the offending party in trouble.
Jose: "Look brat, I'm gonna turn off my computer to fagaga Mr. Redd."
Juanita: "MATOOKOO, I'm gonna tell."
  • Laña or Lania (la-nya): This one I was somewhat hesitant to cover due to the fact I've heard some people say that it used to be quite offensive, though it is used so frequently that I feel it would be a disservice to forgo explaining its use. Really this term should probably up near the top of this list as it is used almost as frequently as "nei". I've heard many different direct translations everything from a deep explanation of its sexual connotations to one who informed me "oh it's just like 'shyt' in English". As best I can ascertain it is essentially a more risqué way to say "ai adai". Therefore it could be used for just about anything, to show surprise, frustration, contempt, anger, happiness, sadness...yeah pretty much you name it and you can say "lania" before it.
Jose: "Lania brat, my computer just crashed!"
Juan: "Then tell Mr. Redd"
Jose: "Mr. Redd, my computer just crashed."
Mr. Redd "Yeah, right Jose...WHATEVER"

Education Related Quote of the Day:

"You don't appreciate a lot of stuff in school until you get older. Little things like being spanked every day by a middle-aged woman: Stuff you pay good money for in later life."
Emo Philips

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Remember Jake?

So does anyone out there still remember Jake? You know the whole "you didn't give my niece her reward, she stole my dog so she doesn't deserve a reward" thing. Yeah, yeah I know that's so last week...or last month even but still here's why I bring it up.

A few weeks ago I took a class entitled "Creative Teaching Techniques and Utilization of Multimedia" (yeah it's a masters level class so they have to make it sound fancy) and one of our assignments was "to produce a five-minute educational video about something happening in your community". So my group and I decided to do a re-enactment of the epic saga of poor ole Jake. Our educational goal stated that we thought this video could be used in a Civics class to generate a debate or possibly in a Writing class where students could write a response paper.

So without any further ado, ladies and gentlemen, grab some popcorn, pop a cold one and sit back relax and enjoy for the first time anywhere the story of a dog and his (almost) reward.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

1 sp3nd w4y t00 much 71m3 0nl1n3

I realized that this blog has gotten a little heavy with the past few posts so in an attempt to lighten things up and keeping with the spirit of "Whatever" I've decided to spice things up with a little humor. Being that I'm a computer teacher, professed wannabe geek, and recovering online addict I proudly present you with some computer based humor none of which is original.

First lets begin with one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world...the Internet:

"I see ads saying that I can 'GET PAID to Surf the Web !'. Let's see... I'm at work checking out my favorite porn sites right now. Hey, I'm already getting paid to surf the web !"

"Some things Man was never meant to know. For everything else, there's Google."

"I had to google 'jfgi' to see what it meant. The irony is overwhelming." <-- go ahead you know you want to.

"I get mail, therefore I am."

"The Internet: where men are men, women are men, and children are FBI agents."

Now on to the obligatory Microsoft Bashing:

"Microsoft Works." — Oxymoron

"Computers are like air conditioners: they stop working when you open windows."

"Saying your OS is the best in the world 'cause more people use it is like saying McDonalds makes the best food in the world."

"Failure is not an option -- it comes bundled with Windows."

Would you invest in that company? See if you can spot Bill Gates. hint- he's the only one who looks like he hasn't gone through puberty yet. Bet you didn't know that after filming "Saturday Night Fever" John Travolta did a stint with Microsoft.

"If at first you don't succeed, work for Microsoft."

Microsoft: "You've got questions. We've got dancing paperclips."

"Why should I press the Start button to turn the computer off?"

"What does the Start button do — isn't the computer already running?"

What page full of techie humor would be complete without a little User Bashing (it might be funny if it wasn't so doggone true):

Login: yes
Password: i dont have one
password is incorrect

Login: yes
Password: incorrect

Helpdesk: Double click on "My Computer"
User: I can't see your computer.
Helpdesk: No, double click on "My Computer" on your computer.
User: Huh?
Helpdesk: There is an icon on your computer labeled "My Computer". Double click on it.
User: What's your computer doing on mine?

"Back up my hard disk ? I can't find the reverse switch !"

"If it's there and you can see it — it's real.
If it's not there and you can see it — it's virtual.
If it's there and you can't see it — it's transparent.
If it's not there and you can't see it — you erased it !"

"'INSERT DISK THREE' ? But I can only get two in the drive !"

"We will never become a truly paper-less society until the Palm Pilot folks come out with WipeMe 1.0."

"Smith & Wesson — the original point and click interface."

"If you're having trouble sounding condescendent, get your computer support technician to show you how."

And finally a segment entitled "Remember When" and if you do then you're older than me cuz I really don't so much...but for all you old folks here ya go:

"Remember when...? A computer was something on TV from a science fiction show. A window was something you hated to clean and RAM was the cousin of a goat... Meg was the name of my girlfriend and gig was your middle finger upright. Now they all mean different things and that really mega bytes. An application was for employment. A program was a TV show. A cursor used profanity. A keyboard was a piano. Memory was something that you lost with age. A CD was a bank account. And if you had a 3 1/2" floppy you hoped that nobody found out. Compress was something you did to the garbage not something you did to a file. And if you unzipped anything in public you'd be in jail for awhile. Log on was adding wood to the fire. Hard drive was a long trip on the road. A mouse pad was where a mouse lived and a backup happened to your commode. Cut you did with a pocket knife. Paste you did with glue. A web was a spider's home and a virus was the flu. I guess I'll stick to my pad and paper and the memory in my head. I hear nobody's been killed in a computer crash but when it happens they wish they were dead !"

My Favorite Computer Code Quote of the Day:

"1f y0u c4n r34d 7h15, y0u r34||y n33d 70 637 |41d."

Thursday, November 8, 2007

An Inspiring Initiative

I recently stumbled upon an innovative and exciting enterprise that I actually thought would be something worth giving my hard earned money to (and I’ll admit I’m a pretty stingy person). The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) movement is a non-profit organization that has really got their stuff together and is doing some exiting things. Yes, I’ll admit that I am a bit biased toward this kind of thing being an elementary computer teacher and all but still this is cool.

They state in their vision that the children in the developing world are inadequately educated but they don’t just leave it at that and move on, or give you some whining Sally Struthers like, broad and unspecified let’s all help the children line. No, they give a very specific and detailed plan as to how they propose to provide children around the world with the chance to grab at an education for themselves.

The way they plan to do this is, as their name would suggest, is by providing one laptop per child the world over. And they’re not talking about some cheap, Microsoft Windows 98, bottom of the line, bustedass laptop either. These little machines they’ve created are some rough and tumble, Linux based (aka open source), sweet little gizmos that are specifically designed for kids in third world environments.

Here are some examples of why I’m so impressed with these little 188 dollar bad boys or "XO" as they call them.
  1. Each machine is a full time wireless router, which means that the kids will be connected both to one another and to the internet. This is a type of technology which you will never find in any laptop currently on the market.
  2. The 7.5 inch display features 200 DPI resolution, which is more DPI than 95% of the laptops out there. The display is also cushioned with internal bumpers.
  3. It takes less than two watts to run one of these puppies. Which happens to be less than one tenth of what a standard laptop consumes. In fact it’s such a minuscule amount that the XO can be recharged with human power. That’s right, it ships with either a crank, pedal or pull cord so it can be hand powered…now I’m jealous. How cool would it be to be on one of those long trans-pacific flights and while everyone else’s batteries are dying you just whip out your hand crank and give it a few spins and your back online?
  4. The integrated handle is kid sized, as is the sealed rubber (so no worrying about spills) keyboard. The dual mode extra wide touchpad supports pointing, drawing and writing.
  5. There’s no hard drive to fail and there are only two internal cables, items which cause the most problems in standard laptops.
  6. It comes with 3 USB ports, external speakers, a built in gaming pad, microphone, camera, SD slot, and an extra powerful wireless antenna. There’s much more and I could go on and on so if you’re really interested check out their website (which is itself very well done, very clear and concise) but I’ll sum up by saying that it comes in a kid friendly green and white color scheme and all of this for under $200 is in a word…impressive.

Shoot, I’m from the “Developed World” and if I had kids I’d want one for them…which brings me to another remarkable aspect of this organization in regards to their marketing. You see, the only way you can actually get your hands on one of these little doo dads is by first giving one to a child in need. They’re currently running a "Get 1 Give 1" campaign where for $399, you purchase two XO laptops—one that will be sent to “empower a child to learn in a developing nation,” and one that will be sent to your child at home…all I can say is that someone was thinking.

Now, if we only had that kind of ingenuity and thinking outside of the box up on Saipan’s Capital Hill imagine where we could be.

One Laptop Per Kid Quote of the day:

“I think the laptop is very good. It helps us to find some words, like our uncle [teacher] will teach us... The things we didn't know, we go check on the laptop.” — T. (Primary 6), Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

Saturday, November 3, 2007

In Loving Memory

Well, first of all let me apologize for not having updated in awhile but I suppose I have a pretty good excuse. You see I was just finishing up one of my Framingham graduate classes and preparing to write one of my funniest postings yet when I received the email that we all dread, that one of our family members has passed away. My sister caught me on g-chat and informed me that my grandfather had died, and yes it was sudden and it was unexpected.

So, after a day of deliberation and getting the go ahead from bosses, professors and wives (didn't know I was a polygamist did ya?) I decided to head home and be with the family for a time of mourning the loss of a special man and celebrating his life.

Some of the highlights as I remember them are that he was a Korean War veteran, a Richmond City Fireman, and a talented carpenter. He lived to fish and he loved being either on or at the very least near the water and in his final years had a place on the Rappahanok river which he built himself.

He left behind a wife, 5 kids (one of whom is my mom), 12 grandkids (one of whom is me) and 2 great grandkids all of whom loved and respected him.

But last and some would argue most importantly he was an avid golfer. In fact it was engaged in this sport where he met his end. The story goes that he was preparing to tee off on the 17th hole when he decided he needed another club so he returned to the cart. But as he approached the golf cart he fell to the ground without a sound and died of a massive heart attack. The doctor said he was probably dead before he hit the ground. He didn't have a history of heart problems, he just dropped dead, just as he always said he wanted to go and just as his father had gone out before him.

My brother told me his last words where "I need more club" and I have to agree with his assessment that that's just pretty damn cool.

Now I know I'll never be able to play another 17th hole without remembering my grandfather and my brother and cousin said they were going to start a tradition of playing that course every October 23rd at stopping at the 17th hole.

The Bible talks about death as being an un-natural thing, something that God had not originally planned for us and if we look deep into our being I believe we all have that feeling that death is just somehow not right and we all fight it but it is our ultimate destiny. I just hope that I can go like my grandfather, doing something I love and gone in an instant. No hospitals and tubes and shots and wasting away.

And to beat all his golf buddies who he was playing with told us that he was even winning and looking forward to enjoying a free meal on them as his reward. So here I'll raise my glass and say "Good game Paw-Paw, even though it will forever be left unfinished at the 17th hole."

In Loving Memory of Richard "Dicky" Curtis (1932-2007)