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June 29, 2002

In Recovery

It looks like the nature of the IE bug that I thought causes words to appear misspelled sometimes is unclear at this time. I have contacted Microsoft and they are looking into the matter... I received this from (another?) anonymous reader... BTW, Mom swears it wasn't her... and checking the serer logs, I see that is true... sorry to that AAA for give the credit for finding that bug away...

Actually the bug makes 95% of the words appear to be spelled correctly - which is how I knew my PC was infected: I know you can't spell that many words correctly. There is another bug similar to it in a lot of word processing programs called "Spelling Checker."
***

Raining again. I am told that rainy season ends on Tuesday of the week after next.

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Despite the rain which has a definite physical and mental effect on me, making it one-hundred times harder to get up in the morning, and pushing me over the deep-end into a spiraling vortex of negativity last week (as you can see by my posts) I feel much better now. This happens every once in a while. I wind up taking a week off of trying to make the situations I don't like and am completely unsatisfied with better, and simply wallow in them and try to brighten my day with complaints. It's nice though... a good dose of minor bi-polarizm to give my life some pizzazz. Now I'm a creeping back into a constructive phase.

I'm not sure what happens to me in the unsatisfied times, but I was at a friend's place tonight who is rich enough for cable TV and happened to see a little bit of a discovery channel program about cosmetic surgery. They were talking about Body Dysmorphic Disorder where people becomes pre-occupied with a non-existent or minimal cosmetic defect. I began to wonder if I don't suffer from Life Dysmorphic Disorder sometimes... Even though I know that I am far from "behind" where I have to be at this age in life and career, and I have a good job, and am as good as it or better than most people are at their own jobs given the same experience level, I always become pre-occupied with some non-existent or minimal feature that I view as a fault, and would like to be a little better... thus I am a chronically unsatisfied.

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A few days ago I was talking about how I am frustrated at work by the lack of ideas and motivation... I received this from a reader regarding that, and I think it is really worth sharing... I suppose I should get permission first, but instead I'll just take it down if I receive any death threats as a result of posting it.

you mentioned a lot about Japanese-ness issues. and I was one of those who love to attribute negatives to the japanseness. but I start to dislike this way to describe things though it is easy, handy and sensemaking to some extent as you say. the reason is the argument has connotation of that the culture is homogenous, and the culture is static. but it is not true. although Japanese culture is much more homogenous and static compared to other cultures like American and European which have lots of intervention and integration in hundreds of years, the Japanese culture at present is something deliberately and artificially forced by its government a few hundreds years ago. so I would say it is the 'official' culture when talking about homogeneousness and stuff, but the real culture, I mean the people's culture, is more diverse and colorful, still. I don't know if I have any reasonable explanation to the fact your buddies in the office are so less motivated and stuff, but looking at the history and the movements going on in some parts of Japan by some highly motivated people, I feel my attitude to take Japan as a single unity and criticize it is falling too short. I need more consideration here really, not just for japans people's sake but also for our own sake. I really want to be proud of my background when I introduce it to people, not wishing otherwise. there are some cool people in Japan, and the thing is simply we just haven't met them yet and need to look for them.

Well put. I want to make clear that what I was saying, was that I am frustrated, and often hear (from Japanese and non-Japanese alike) that it is because the people are Japanese and that is simply how Japanese people are, implying that Americans aren't. When I am frustrated and looking for an answer I come close to buying in to that, but I know that it is not true. For one thing, if Americans where so much better, why are there so many management books about how to change this in your employees? I think that it is a human trait, and I would be just as frustrated in an American company.

Why would people (including myself and even Japanese people) be so quick to blame it on Japaneseness then? Despite any pride that Japanese people naturally feel about being Japanese, and about their "us" group, there seems to be an overhanging inferiority complex in many areas regarding Europeans and Americans. I don't think people go around consciously thinking that they are inferior, but it is implied in so many aspects of popular media and culture. It makes sense that the idea of blaming an undesirable trait on their Japaneseness, and then comparing that to the "ideal" American who is made out to be the "average" American would be a major reason. The same thing happens in America to of course when Americans look at their own culture, just maybe not to the same extent, since our culture generally tells us that we are the greatest, and so we believe it.

A major reason that I would blame it on Japaneseness is simply because it is so darn easy to blame it on the "thems". Anything bad I see in Japan right down to rude waiters I can very easily blame on the fact that they are Japanese.. because I am not. This of course despite the fact that we have rude waiters in America too. (although, service in America is muuuuuccchhh better from my viewpoint, but that is because I like "friendly" service where the waiter or shopkeeper makes a personal connection, as opposed to "prompt & impersonal" service which is valued in Japan... in fact, I think the American style of chatting a waiter chatting with the customer would freak a lot of Japanese people out so much that it is actually a bad method.)

June 28, 2002

Changes in the air

I had to make this new springy look because it's been raining in Tokyo for the past two weeks (probably more but I can't even remember exactly when it started).

***

An anonymous reader (who just so happened to send the comment at the exact time my mom or dad, or whoever I was on Yahoo! Chat with, was looking at the site) informed me of a bug in Internet Explorer browsers that cause some of the words on my site to appear misspelled. If it bothers you I recomend updating your browser.

June 27, 2002

More Beauty

I can't wait 'till tomorrow when I can feel the beautiful pain of having done physical exercize after almost a year with none.

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If you thought the skyscrapers are cool, check this huge-butt ship that will have a city with a population of 50,000.

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WorldCom is beautiful... if a few more big companies come out with all the lies they've been telling, maybe the dollar will loose even more value just in time for me to change an obscene amount of yen over and bring it home to the US.

June 26, 2002

Life is Beautiful

Golly, I've been so negative lately... Today I think I will start the "Life is Beautiful" series. Let's see if I can stick to only finding and talking about the good things I see all around me every day.

***

LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!! I found a health club that doesn't cost over $100 a month... of course, if I go often it will still be up there in cost at $4 a day. I would hope I would use it somewhat frequently, even though it is a 15 minute jog from my work.... that's not beautiful! I don't want to have to jog to a health club... it's crazy madness!!

***

LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL!!!! I did jog to the health club tonight, (after making a trip home to change clothes and then paying another 130 yen to go back to Kichijyoji (where I work). Anyway, I jogged there and found when I arrived that before I can use it I have to take a special beginner's course on how to not kill myself. The course starts everydy at 6:00 though... what about people who work?!?! It's crazy madness!!!!

But WAIT!!! that's not the beautiful part... On the jog back to the station where I would have to pay another 130 yen to get home after doing absolutely nothing, I noticed a fishing gear shop. I recently bought a pole to use while I am kayaking, but when I bought the pole I got tricked into buying the wrong kind of bait and gear... I bought some crap that you drop straight down in the water and the bait doesn't stay on the hook, rather it disperses around the area I am fishing in... this draws the fish to the area so they will get snagged on the hook obviously. Unfortunately, as I found when I tried to use it, a kayak in the ocean does not stay still. I wound up pouring a lot of fish food in the water to attract the fish, and by the time they came (if they ever did) my boat had floated far far away... and of course by now any fish that may have been at my current location have now all gone to where I dumped all that expensive bait.

But WAIT!!! That's not the beautiful part,,, as I jogged by the fishing gear shop I stopped in for advice and learned everything I will need to become a near pro. I will never pack food when I go out in the kayak again. With my newfound knowledge and fishing-pole knot tying ability (the salesman taught me that too) I will never starve again. I also may be catching some yummy squid!

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LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL!!! I spent the better portion of the day vacillating over whether or not I should go to the has tonight... I was not really in the mood, and basically the only reason I could think of to go is to trick myself into thinking that I am not anti-social. Should I go... should I not go... go? no go? such a difficult decision to make no? Well, a beautiful thing happened when I moved a pile of books that had been growing on my desk for the past month... I found my calculator! After that it was a simple matter of typing in the amount money I had in my wallet (about 15,000 yen) and subtracting the price of the hash (4,000 yen). Then I compared the result with the original 15,000 and quickly came to the conclusion that I would have more money in my wallet when I wake up the next day if I don't go to the hash. (the beautiful part was when I found the calculator)

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LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL!!! I learned something cool about sky scrapers today from a reader who saw the link I posted about skyscrappers...

Did you look at the tallest buildings never built? The Illinois Tower, designed by Frank Loyd Wright? When I was in some engineering class in college, we talked about that building. Apparently, FLW never thought about the feasibility of a building 1 mile tall. If you look at other office buildings to get info like # of workers per square feet (and all kinds of other info) and apply it to this building, it would be impossible to get that many people into and out of the building in 24 hours. Even if there was a high-speed train shuttling people into the 1st floor as fast as possible, it would still be impossible because the entire volume of the building would have to be elevator shafts to move people up and down the floors.

***

Life is not so beautiful for 12 people and their families in Idia and Nepal where an elephant went berserk and rampaged through villages killing 12 people. Ihear about a suicide bombing that killed 12 people and wonder how people live knowing that it may be them next, or their children... I have never thought about how people feel when an elephant rampages through the village and kills their family. I wonder if they ever have either... "At least" (I really hesitate to use those words) a sicide bombing is something that everyone in Isreal and the West bank must consider a possibility, but did these people in India ever think this would happen?

June 25, 2002

Clarifications

Let me clrify something. A reader wrote to me to comment on my dilemma of not knowing what I want to be when I grow up, pointing out that many people don't know and never figure it out, and that stories like Adi Dasser's are usually dramatized and basically lies (I am putting a lot of words in the reader's email here).

I know. I know that most people don't know. I know that the stories I read in a Adidas marketing book are probably not true. I don't really "hate" my life as I said yesterday (I like to exaggerate). However...

Just because most people don't know what they want, doesn't mean I should be content to not know. I am basically in a state of chronic discontent and unsatisfaction. Even though I know in my logical brain that I have really great life, I am afraid to be content with it. It is a rule of mine that "Thou shalt not be satisfied". I don't like this rule, and wish I could be satisfied, but that's the rule.

So, I am unsatisfied by the fact that I don't have a passion like a small percent of people are fortunate enough to have... I am glad however that I don't have a passion when I see people who have petty passions. People who are content to go out to Karaoke with friends, never doing anything to grow. As much as I am glad I don't have a passion for Karaoke, which is so easy to fulfill, I am also very jealous of people I see who seem so totally content just to go to the hash 3 times a week.

What I am trying to say I guess, is that I know that I have a great life, I know that not knowing exactly what I want to do is not a problem. I know that what I am after is really only a movie story. But I still want it, and I am good enough to get it if I examine things enough, and the minute I become satisfied to just go to my pretty good job and use my salary to hang out and sing karaoke, and go to the hash 3 times a week... the minute I stop wanting something better I will be doomed to mediocrity and I am better than that.

***

The reader I mentioned above also sent me a link to a page about being a boss because I mentioned an NPR program about bad bosses a couple days ago. At the top of the page they have the ABC's of Leadership.

Now, I am not an official boss at my company, but with only 9 people, and not even one manager... (I mean ZERO people in my company managing!). I try to do what I can if I happen to have time to even think about anything other than the responsibilities of the 4 jobs I have. I am interested to see how I do with these ABC's...


1. Trust your subordinates. You can't expect them to go all out for you if they think you don't believe in them.
2. Develop a vision. People want to follow someone who knows where he or she is going.
3. Keep your cool. The best leaders show their mettle under fire.
4. Encourage risk. Nothing demoralizes the troops like knowing that the slightest failure could jeopardize their entire career.
5. Be an expert. From boardroom to mailroom, everyone had better understand that you know what you are talking about.
6. Invite dissent. Your people aren't giving their best... if they are afraid to speak up.
7. Simplicity - you need to see the big picture in order to see the course, communicate it, and maintain it.


1. I try to trust the other people, and I constantly allow them opportunities to not loose my trust... I trust them first and if I don't trust them now it is because they have let me down... of course I do know now what I can trust them with and what I can't... so yeah, I you can say I trust them. That has nothing to do with them going all out though. I have seen very few cases of people going all out, but having talked to business owner and manager friends, his seems to be a Japanese thing. I find it hard to believe, and really don't want to believe that the reason people see, so complacent about their job, and don't strive for greatness is that they are Japanese, but basicly that is what everyone I know (Japanese included) attribute it to. It is so nice of all the American management gurus to write books about how to change this... especially since they are obviously writing thiese books for a Japanese audiance... everyone knows American people don't have that problem.

2. I try to have a vision, and I have a huge influence on the direction the company takes. Mostly this is because I am the only one who does what I want as opposed to what I am told to do (and as a result no one tells me to do anything). Unfortunately, any vision I have, regarding a direction that I think the company should and can be effective at pursuing too often gets trumped by the seemingly goal-less sales strategy of the company which is basically, "We will do anything that people pay for, even if it has nothing to do with the business we are in"

3. I wish I could get excited, it might make me better. Unfortunately nothing really seems so important to me. I have never come across a situation that I felt I had to go crazy about. Even if the server goes down, that's life... I can't get excited (excited does not equal stressed).

4. I don't discourage risk, but I can't say I encourage it. It doesn't really come up since no one has been known to take a risk or want to take a risk... Again, this is often attributed to being Japanese, and in some way I think it could be true. In large companies the president is usually the person who made the least mistakes, so it makes sense to keep your head down and never go out on a limb... but at my company I don't think anyone has their eyes set on being the president, so I don't know why no one wants to takes risks.

5. I'm the default expert in the company now, the problem I see is that I know so very little that having an expert that has more than 2 years of experience would benefit everyone greatly.

6. Sounds like number 4. We don't have the "problem" of people even wanting to speak up.

7. My entire discontent, with my job now, and everything I complained about above could be solved (in my view) if there was a big picture. If we had a course, we could follow it and get better at what we do and maybe people would try t take more risks if they knew that any effort they put forth will not be meaningless in a month because the entire strategy of the company has changed. I want to be able to control that. And that is why I am sure that I will never be satisfied unless I am running my own company... or perhaps had my own division someplace free from constantly changing whims and interests of anyone other than the market and the client. And when the client's whim goes outside of that vision and big picture, I have the authority to say "sorry, we can do that, but we have a vision, and we are trying be this type of a company, and that just doesn't fit in. Let me help you find someone competent who does do that kind of work though..."

***

What a treat for me living in the land of no (good) comedians that there are two middle-eastern comedians on Fresh Air talking about their lives and acts after Sept 11. One of the things I never get to do here is laugh... I just don't have any funny friends or anyone who can understand my humor... it felt good to laugh at these guys jokes, and it was also interesting getting their perspective.

June 24, 2002

Private Conversations

I was going to go to bed without updating the site tonight, but then I got an email, and when writing the reply, I thought it was something that I really should put on the site.. you know, if I want to make it "real". I dont want to give away any of the email sender's privacy, though I don't care so much about mine, so I what I write here is not the exact same as what I wrote to that chap, but this builds upon the same ideas.

***

On leaving friends:

I have felt that many times as you have too, being someone who goes to foreign countries often... one thing I have come to realize though, that makes me to not realy feel it anymore, and be "indiferent" is that the people I really care about, I meet again ... and again.. and again... even people like [a friend from back in the day], who I was really great friends with [back in the day] ,then didn't see for years, and began to think was not really a "close freind" anymore because I had mved on in life in a different direction than he had moved. He has suddenly popped back into life and is now on he same level as [another freind from back in a different day] I would say... but the point is that I met [the first friend from back in the day] in Japan... who would have thunk it?

The whole reason I thought he was so different from me was becasue after I went home from Japan the first time, I met him and he had what I viewed as a "racist" attitude about japanese people summed up in "why the hell do you like it there?" and only bad things about Japanese people... I thought we had changed too much to be close anymore... but now he has changed too, and I have changed to understand (and agree with) some of what he was saying then, and I instantly feel close to him again. He remembers how he felt than and admits to that he disagrees with that attitude now, and now I suspect that he hates it when other people act like that toward him coming to Japan... he even wants to learn some Japanese. Anyway, the point is, somehow we always see the people we care about again... like I have met [the second freind from back in the day] so many times after Kyushyu... and I lived nearby [a third frined from in a day between the other two days] when I was in Kyushyu (my sencond trip and [the third friend's] second trip.. though it was total coincidence that we were both in Kyusyu)

***

On a comment the email coorespondent made about my being idiferent, or "carefree" as I think I used to be...

What the hell does this mean? I *used to be* indiferent, but YOU ruined that for me. :-)

You think I am indiferent now? I spend 90% of my time hating my current life and wishing I had a life how I want it... but when I really think about it logicaly, I see that I have a great life (when I view it as the old Kevin would view it) I have a great job... no matter how much I complain, I can not find someplace else that I think "I would much rather work there!" I have looked at severeal other web -develpment companies and they suck MORE than my curent company... imagine that!

I spend every night not wanting to go to sleep, (sleep is very important), becasue I can't really learn anyhting while sleeping, and if I dont read one more chapter about DHTML, or listen to one more news story about some politics somewhere that I will be stuck forever in my job I have now.. I know it is not true. I know that I am "only" 26, and alot will change in the next 5 years (less than 5 years ago I was in Maine with no desire to even learn about busnienss or internet like now) I know this, but I am so hyper-sensitive about my current status that I can not concentrate on anything else and even when I do something I like, I wonder if I should be doing it... should I waste so much time drawing? Should I waste so much time writing on my website?

So please dont call me indiferent. I truly believe "whatever" or "it'll come as it will." (as you wrote), but that doesn't mean that I live it.... I wish I could, but I dont. I do a good job of pretending sometimes I think, I am the person who is supposed to be "ses la vi" so I have to (and want to) pretend more... and it is my job (and I like th job) to try to bring both of us down to earth sometimes and say "hey... it doesn't matter so much". Even though when I say it I believe it logically, I don't always feel it emotionally.

***

How much does a hippo cost? How about a rhino? I was not supprised to find the pirce of a rhino... 20 - 30,000 dollars, but a hippo only costs $4,100 in the latest African animal auction. Before that the record was only $2,700 . If I had known that I might have bought one instead of a kayak...

June 23, 2002

Continuation

*{12:00} I've just been sitting here continuing what I didn't finish yesterday. I will update again today as I take my little breaks... I promise I'll do my best to not write about the work. It should be hard though since obviously that is what I have on my mind...

I like my brilliant idea yesterday for music recommendations... I'll continue that as nobody else is here and I can control the cd player.

In the past 2 hours I listened to (means I recommend you listen to them also) :

Keb Mo: Slow Down
The Smithereens: 11

I should get back to work. I hope to finish early enough today to go to a BBQ party at a friend's place...

***

*{17:00} Got a lot done... but am still far from being done. At any rate, I think I am almost to a reasonable state of completion to begin testing tomorrow.

I found a book laying around the office here called Making a Difference. It's a big advertisement for Aidas that tells some of the stories of great athletes throughout history. (of course they all wore Aidas gear). I think I'll steal this so I have something interesting to draw other than nudie ladies... fruit just doesn't cut it.

It's interesting... reading a story about the Fosbury Flop (the method now used for the high-jump), of course it was interesting to read how Fosbury overcame all the scorn and criticism about his new style of jumping, but what was most exciting to me, is the part where he ordered a pair of custom made shoes from Adidas, and the engineer in Europe, who had never even seen anyone jump like Fosbury before, had to dive into his project and developed a new pair of shoes that would help Fosbury get even more out of his technique. I think I would rather be the guy who designed the shoes than the guy who designed the jump.

My music selections...
Rufus Wainwright: Rufus Wainwright
Van Morrison: Bang Masters
Lisa Ekdahl: When did you leave heaven?
Alvin Youngblood Heart: Territory

***

*{19:00} I can't really get any further without a little more information from the client, so I am going to call it a night. I don't think I'll make it to the BBQ party unfortunatly...
Of course, I still have the BBQ set sitting in my kitchen from when I cooked out 2 (3?) weeks ago... I suppose I should clean that up.

One last CD I listened to, and recommend:
Van Morrison: The Philosopher's Stone

***

I was reading more about Adi Dassler, the founder of Adidas, and just can't help feeling so much frustration... (According to the book) He knew from the time he was a little boy that he wanted to make shoes... it was a real goal for him. This whole idea of having a dream is a theme replayed in all great success stories.

It just causes more frustration for me... although I know it's never too late, and peoples dreams and goals are (and should) constantly change, I feel that being 26, I am still extremely late to be trying to figure out what I want to do.

I do know that I will have a business of my own, but I just can't get started since I don't know what I want it to be doing yet... I think a lot about going freelance with web-development, and am more than confident that I could succeed, but it doesn't really excite me as much as it should. Web-stuff is something I can do and enjoy, not necessarily something I want to do because it is my dream. The Internet is great as a tool, but it doesn't make me dream anymore than other handy tools.

I know that the whole concept of a brand, and the sociology and psychology of marketing is extremely fascinating to me, but a brand and marketing too are things I view as a tool. Having management skills is great, but it is a tool. Understanding money is cool, but it is only a tool. I see tools I have to, and love to learn to use all around me, but I just don't know what I want to use them for.

In the year 2020, I am tossing around an idea for a kayaking company, and that is something I have interest in, and would enjoy doing, while utilizing all the tools I think are cool, but it is not a dream.

I enjoy drawing, and have since I was a kid, and look forward to improving and starting with paint and other media, but I feel no drive to do it as a career. The same goes for my guitar... when I get into it I really get into it and play hours a day, but I feel no desire to be a professional.

What do I want to be when I grow up?

***

Wow... I am a little rebel breaking all kinds of rules and regulations... first I told you the results of the World Cup game on my web-site... in blantant disregard of FIFA rules, now I find that it is prohibited to link to NPR content without their authorization... I might have to stop doing that... Lckily it is totally leagal and no copyright laws prohibit it. It would be like me saying that I prohibit anyone from discussing me or anything i have ever said to them without my permission. For more on this take a look at this article from wired. (I hope I am allowed to link to Wired...)

Oh well, I guess I'll "have to live with the guilt forever," as the NPR representative said when asked what would happen to people who don't get permission first.

I have the advantage of being late to know about this... aparently it was big news last week. It is good to be lates, becuase I have the advantage of looking around and seeing what other people think about this and conclusions they have come to. What Do I Know has a very good explenation about why anyone would even try to do something so seemingly stupid as regulate linking to their site.

***

Another really cool link I found about skyscrappers around the world. I wasted over 15 mintues looking at all kinds of skyscrapper comparisons... you can compare by city, country, residential, observation, or business and more!

***

I know I have said before that I am not as much of a "believer" in the Internet for uses that many people tout as great, despite my job. I found an article that makes me re-examine that stance however... the Internet is great.

Larry has used the Internet to assist friends, as well. "Last week, we had a houseguest who was wondering if there were any Jesuit colleges in Ohio," Wisniewski said. "All I had to do was open up my AOL software, enter my password, point the browser to www.yahoo.com, and click on Society & Culture, followed by Religion & Spirituality. From there, I had only to click Faiths & Practices, then Christianity, then Denominations & Sects, and then Catholic. Then I simply clicked on Orders, Jesuits, Colleges & Universities, Ohio, and boom, right there in front of me are Xavier University in Cincinnati and John Carroll University in Cleveland."

***

In 2020 we have the Internet hooked up to our brain so we can transmit email like esp and what we see to other peoples visual nerve signal receptors (you get the idea) but I just want to assure you that even then "mass, involuntary bio-installation of operating-system software (into peoples brains) is a gross violation of federal antitrust law"

***

Finally, more a link for myself than anyone else really, this year's Webby Award winners. I spend alot of time surfing, too much I think sometimes, but I really wish the people I work with would spend some time looking at award winning sites, and analyzing why they won, or if they should have won, and implementing some of what they learn into their own work

June 22, 2002

Little Breaks

*{15:00} I've been sitting here at work all day on Saturday now... nothing new really, quite normal up until about two months ago when I started to devote more of my time to me. The difference is that then Saturdays where always relaxed, I was never pushing to finish a week's worth of work in two days.

Of course there was one really great weekend last year sometime... I had been attempting to install some new software on a very old server. I figured I would do it Saturday morning when all the clients were miles from their office. I found that to add the software I had to upgrade a few other programs on the server... that Saturday morning turned into Saturday night very quickly. The first time I tried to reboot the server with the new software was about 1 in the afternoon. It didn't start as you may have guessed.

I spent the rest of that Saturday trying to undo whatever I did, and that sure didn't work... I felt I was close several times, and learned a heluva lot about things I would never have learned had I not broken the server, but could not get it started.

I was so close to running out to buy a new computer so I could at least set up a backup server and maybe no one would notice there was anything wrong until I had a chance to figure out the broken one. Unfortunately, I didn't have that much cash on me (and it seemed that would be even more work than fixing this one). I had set 1pm on Sunday as the cut-off point. If nothing was fixed by then, I would re-install the entire server and re-configure all the software and programs that where running. This took me another seventeen hours but by 5 am Monday morning, I had everything up and running and only 3 clients noticed that the dates on their email was a little odd.

That was a nice weekend... how great it would be if every weekend could be that exciting.

***

Anyway, I will be updating this off and on today as I reach milestones and take breaks from the programming... but now I have to get back to work as I feel like I have already wasted 15 minutes...

***

*{17:30 } YeeeHahh! I just finished adding another crazy little function to the program and it took about an hour less than I thought it would. It is uglier than ugly, and normally I would never give it to the client as it is. It will be a nightmare to maintain for whoever gets that unlucky job, but this client wants the most for the least... as much functionality for as little money and as little time as possible.

They seem to understand that they are sacrificing quality, and that is what gives me the most stress and anxiety. If there are little bugs or things that "would be better if it worked another way", they always seem to forget that their first priority was cheap and second was fast... when little bugs appear, the only thing they remember is that Kevin made a buggy program. I would loooooveee to take an extra 3 days after the they declare it finished, and clean it up to a point where I feel comfortable declaring it finished. Unfortunately, I sure don't have that time, because even the few hours the client wants to pay for is sold so dirt cheap.

***

This writing during my little breaks works nicely... I can squeeze in a lot of quick topics, and don't have to have an hour free to do it. I think I'll try to do it this way every day. Not that I take so many little breaks, but considering how many cigarette breaks everyone else takes, and the fact that my average lunch hour lasts only about 15 minutes, I think I am entitled to a five minute bastish update break 3 times a day... like recess in grade school.

***

Since I'm the only one here, I have complete control over the cd player. In the last two-and-a-half-hour stint, I listened to:
Chris Isaak: Baja Sessions
Diana Krall: The Look of Love
The Cure: Wish (Wow! I haven't listened to that since High School)

***

*{20:00} I'm going to be really irresponsible and head home now. I finished a huge hunk of the program today, (it still has to be debugged, but that was supposed to start Monday so I am on schedule with that) The rest of it I should be able to handle tomorrow to some extent, and what is left over I will blame on the client for "insufficient information".

In this last two hours, I listened to:
Taj Mahal: Giant Step
Nat King Cole: Greatest Hits

***

Now I think I'll go home and listen to some NPR and draw or maybe clean my room... but whatever I do I will have a nice Belgian beer in my hand.

June 21, 2002

Third Week / Third Model

Tonight was not such a good night as I was preoccupied with work. I post the drawing anyway.

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You're lucky to even get this much.

I never trusted Martha Stewart.

***

The Talk of the Nation program about bad bosses was interesting, but one thing bothered me. Everyone talked about how a good boss is one that is nice and "human" and not a slave driver etc... While this is obviously true, I wonder why no one mentioned what would seem to me to be the most important aspect of a good boss. That is a boss that helps you be your best, and helps you to learn and gives opportunities to achieve excellency. Granted, being a bastish slave driver is not going to help most people in that respect, but a boss that is only nice and not so strict seems worthless to me if she doesn't offer any value to the employee. In fact, I would rather have a boss that acts like a jerk when it is needed to make me better.

***

I went to drawing group tonight, but didn't do so well as I found it difficult to keep my mind off of the project that is due Monday and I am not even half done with. Of course I went back to work after drawing, but it is not enough to keep me out of the office tomorrow and Sunday, and probably straight through till Monday... so don't expect much on the bastish net.

June 19, 2002

TLH3 Ebisu

I'm back after a few weeks of off-time. I wandered around Shinjuku looking for the hash two weeks ago, but never did. That pissed ,e off enough that I skipped the next week too.

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Still Stranded

Jun::19::2020

We're still stranded at the same beach because of the weather. Tomoe was supposed to join us today, but couldn't get in either. It just so happens however that a few friends from back in the days when we used to live in Tokyo and I was running in the Hash was in town for the marathon. Tomoe took the opportunity to join them... the last time she sent me an update, she was about 3 hours into the run. There's a good chance that trying to keep pace with Cherry and Aunt Hurl will push her to her best time yet.

***

Everyone finished climbing without incident. Now we spend our time playing cards trying to resist the urdge to do our work (or schoolwork) while on the trip. That is one of the biggest probelms that no one has ever been able to come up with a technical solution for when it comes to this brain-net. We are always in the office (or school as the case may be).

Meanwhile, back in 2002...

***

I hope I didn't loose all eight of my readers. I havn't had the chance to update becasue I have been trying to get to bed earlier so I can go through a day without sleeping. I like the sleep, but hate having 4 less hours per day.

***

Today I didn't think I would have time to update either, since I am a week behind on a program that was supposed to take me a week. I will have to be doing it all weekend now to be able to show it to the client Monday. Strangly enough, I like the job again. There's always something great about the hopeless feeling of knowing that there is only a 1% chance that I can finish it in time... Finally something (almost) more challenging at work than being patient with all the other people.

***

I am not trying to imply anything by mentioning this right after I mentioned work... but I am just downloading what looks like an interesting topic from Talk of the Nation about how to survive a bad boss.

***

I finally got to the HashA drinking club with a running problem again last night. I was getting into it again recently, but now am starting to feel bored with it again... it is fun and there are a lot of cool people there, but the whole yelling and talking about the hash and making people drink for the same old things starts to wear on me after a few weeks. I suppose it is just my problem though because everyone else seems to enjoy it no matter how many times they hear the same jokes. It does have it's moments however, and I recomend it to most people.

June 18, 2002

Painful Memories

Jun::18::2020

Foul weather kept us off the water for most of the day today. We wound up stranded on a small 100 meter stretch of beach surrounded by sheer cliffs on all sides (except for the sea side of course). The weather didn't keep Mr. and Mrs. Hasegawa from taking Seb on a free-climb up one of those cliffs. Everything is an opportunity to them it seems, and I'm happy to get some of that to rub off on Seb too.

I myself didn't climb... I have never been able to climb more than 10 feet up a cliff, wall, or even fence without remembering that summer of 2002 when I went climbing on one of Michigan's non-existent world class climbing areas. I'll never forget what happened to my buddy who thought he was hot-stuff because of a climbing school out in Arizona or New Mexico or something. He survived, if you can call it that, but I don't know a man today who can look at him and not feel the pain. It was a million times worse for me... just being a witness I was unable to stand up straight for three weeks after. There were real doubts about whether either of us would ever live a normal life again.

Sometimes I feel a little guilty knowing that I made my fortune selling the video and account of that day.

***

I took the opportunity of a little peace and quiet to contact some potential investors for my little kayaking venture. Several are interested, and waiting to see the business plan. I was sure my brother would not only want to invest, but become a full partner... unfortunately his wife wouldn't go for it. So much changed that summer of 2002...

***

I just heard a great interview on IPI (International Public Internet) about the pollution in the Florida Islands threatening the Underwater Everglades National Memorial. I suppose I'm just an old fart, but I find it hard to feel the passion these youngsters have for protecting it. In my book it's already a waste. When I was younger I had hoped hat I would get a chance to take my kids to all those natural wonders before they were totally destroyed... I really regret, for Seb (and Trachea who should be popping out in about 2-3 months... I never thought I'd live to see the day when Trachea became a popular name for a girl) that I always put it off. After I had all that money from the infamous "ouch" video, I really don't know why I cared so much about my firm.

Meanwhile, back in 2002...

***

Really not much to tell... I haven't listened to NPR since last night, and have done nothing but get up and go to work.

***

I got an email from another high school friend who is in Japan now visiting a high school friend who happens to be teaching in a one room school for missionaries' children. If I meet her...and I better when she comes to Tokyo, I will have officially broken my record for the number of people who I knew a long time ago and haven't had any contact with since then and something or other... I don't even know what I am saying, just that I am really bad at keeping in contact with friends (or they are bad at keeping in contact with me) but these last few months it is amazing how many people I never expected to see in Japan have stopped by.

***

The friend who is visiting just happens to be Mexican. So sorry Patti, but it looks as though it will be US vs. Japan in the World Cup Finals.

***

I was falling asleep at work today. I went to bed at 12:00 last night, and still I am so tired all the time... Is it because of the rain or the air pressure...?

June 16, 2002

Mid-life crisis?

Jun:16::2020

The trip is going great. Seb, Hasegawa, her husband and myself are just sitting around the fire having a little salmon sashimi that Seb was able to catch with his bare hands thanks to a couple pointers from Hasegawa-san.

***

Suddenly I am once again unable to foresee my near future... I'm faced with a decision to sell my company and begin a new venture, or stick with what I know and love and have built up for the past 11 years. I know which one scares me more... so I guess I already have my answer. (of course, this could all just be a mid-life crisis)

We had been discussing how, as much of an outdoors fanatic as Hasegawa-san is, she has never really gotten into sea-kayaking. Mainly because she doesn't own her own kayak, and trying to find and arrange a trip with an experienced guide always seems to be more trouble than it's worth (unless her company happens to be the guides newest client), especially when throwing her rock climbing gear into a bag instead only takes a minute. I mentioned an idea I had when I was younger, for a (world-wide?) Kayaking touring franchise. Ever since I can remember, there have been many local guides and instructors in all popular sea kayaking destinations. Local is great, but most people who take the packaged tours do not know much about the area, or what companies are fun, safe, and knowledgeable.

Somewhere along the line (I must have been about 25) I found myself wishing there was a kind of McDonalds for sea kayaking operations... where I know that the guides are personable, and the menu is the best, and the company doesn't do naughty things to the environment and animals' habitats. If there was one well known Sea Kayak touring brand that ensured that the local companies using their name conformed to certain quality standards, deciding would be much easier.

That idea disappeared someplace. (this was before we could search our long term memory drive) It came up again yesterday and I'm hooked. I can think of a million reasons not to do it, but I can also think of enough people who would be interested in investing in me and this idea, and more than a few friends who would jump at a chance to get on board.

***

I'm sure you all caught Tomoe's presentation... I can't seem to find a news service that doesn't have it ranked as their number one download. I haven't been able to get hold of her since yesterday either as she always has to shut down her thought-mail receiver after these conferences. Although the filters available now for us "regular" folk are usually only running at around .2% capacity, whoever makes a filter that can handle the kind of load she gets inundated with should have no problem marketing it to the rich and famous, or people in Tomoe's position. She'll be glad to get away from everything when she meets up with us tomorrow to finish off the last 4 days of our trip.

***

Huh? What the... What's he talking about?What the heck was this whole post about?
Well, a few days ago I was asked how I envision my life at 45...

Meanwhile, back in 2002...
***

I uploaded more drawings to the Art progress page.

***

In case you can't figure out what is going on with these posts, I was asked recently how I envision my life at 45... a difficult question, and a view that changes everyday even if I can envision it. So, what better way to express it (and figure it out for myself) than to write my daily post for the year 2020, when I am 45.

There are some basic assumptions, I must make.. one of which is that by this time the Internet is not something you view in a browser... in fact it is a direct connection between our brains... esp = email. I can see what you see if you send me the digitalized sibgnals that your optical nerves send to your own brain. So, in effect this entire idea to post the future posts now doesn't really work, since by that time I sure don't need to sit at a computer and type.

***

Brian and his friend left for the last time today. They just got back from China last night and flew home today. Last night as we were finishing off a bottle of scotch, Brian guessed from the titles I had strewn around the pile of books that is my library, that I probably don't have any desire to work in somone elses' large comapny, even if I could be at the top... nice observation Brian... Although I knew this myself, and had finished a day earlier writing my 2020 journal where I have my own company, even though I knew this... it is always nice to be reminded and have it pointed out by someone else... just to keep myself in check.

***

I just heard that the closest thing to breast milk is white chocolate. That's interesting. I don't know why (I find it interesting), but I think it has something to do with beer.... In my expereince, the things that have huge followings of snobs who dream about them... beer, wine, chocolate... people will swear by "real" chocolcate, beer , etc... and often also to the meidcinal benifits to these things in their pure form. It doesn't suprise me therefore that chocolate would be the closest thing to breast milk, which obviously God created to be the healthiest thing for a baby (of course with all the crap and chmicals people eat now I have my doubts...)

***

Had some great luck today... I discovered last night that Diana KrallPleeeeaaasee check this out and listen to ALL of the sample tunes... this is great stuff. Every reviwer gives her 5 stars... was playing in Tokyo today. Both Tomoe and I are fans (Tomeo a bigger fan) and I was trying to figure out who else I know that could enjoy seeing the concert as much as Tomoe would have if she were here... lucky lucky, when I called to check on ticket availability, I found the concert was cancelled... the substitution date is in Oct when Tomoe will be back in Tokyo. It wll be a great birthday present for us.

June 14, 2002

Second session with live model

After waiting all week I went to my 2nd live modeling session. I can't believe how much harder it is to draw a live model than a photo. I suppose because ever since I was a kid I have only used photos or my own imagination. The detectives out there among you may notice that there are 3 of the same pose sometimes. The first one (usually the worst) was the drawing I made in class. (it is actaully not a class, since no one teaches. We all just draw the model) Anyway, after the modeling session, I had coffe with Kumiko who introduced me to this and was once a art teacher. She made several comments, but the one that struck me the most, is that I am drawing shadows, not people. I draw very flat images, only what I see, paying attention to shadow lines, not the actual body curves. She recomended that I also "draw" what is behind what I see. I tried it when I got home from the drawings I made of the live model. I think they turned out better.

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***

These last few are drawing I did late last night... (I wound up getting to bed at 5:30am)

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***

I know at least one regular reader of the bastish net was once an art major. I appreciate any comments, tips, and observations on how I can improve.

The Sins of the Father

Jun::14::220

Seb's in big trouble... I won't say what he did because mommy might be reading and I don't want her to be distracted from her conference tonight in Osaka. All I'll say is that I got a call from his teacher today, he's upset, I'm proud, Seb's just trying to figure out what's the big deal... After the reaction I got from the school last time something like t his happened and I took Seb out for ice-cream as a reward, I think I'll wait for mom to get back, and she can be the "irresponsible" parent this time...(they blame it all on me anyway... I can't think of a bigger compliment) Tomoe's reputation, on the other hand, is the only thing that keeps him from being expelled anyway. Last year when there was even talk of kicking him out, the New York times got word of it and the schools yearly application numbers dropped by 40%. and a new 4th grade teacher mysteriously replaced Ms. kaflla. I wonder how the Times found out about that anyway...

I do understand his teacher's position on this one though, and I'll encourage Seb to do it outside of the official school yard borders next time. It should make for some interesting conversation on the Kayak trip this weekend. I'm sure I can work in some lesson on creativity for the clients as well... free consulting always makes 'em happy, and it keeps 'em coming back for more kayaking, which makes me happy.

***

That reminds me, I have to get the wet suits out and make sure I have one that fits Hasegawa-san since Seb will be using his own. She is one of the smallest clients I have ever taken out on one of these adventures, also one of the most experienced in the outdoors. In fact, one of the reasons I took her company on as a client despite me resolution to start paying more attention to my own personal life, and less to my firm, was that I thought there might be a chance to do some kayaking or climbing with her (the handwritten cards begging me to consider it didn't hurt either... It's been a long time since we received anything in the mailbox.) It'll be good for Seb too. She has a million interesting stories.

***

Tomoe left last night for Osaka for her conference so I get to cook again finally. I special ordered the best mackerel Sheena could get her hands on, and have the last bottle of my best IPA perfectly set at room temperature... tonight's a fish and rice night.

***

More tomorrow... I have a lot of work to do before Tomoe's lecture is mind-cast. I still find that when I have something else on my mind, it's hard to concentrate on shutting down my real-optic functions... If only we knew how much damage we were doing to our mind-web receptors by using those hand-held devices back when I was working on the "Internet". I heard another class-action suit has been brought up in Denver by a group of former webbies. I think I'll wait to join one until I have retired...

***

Huh? What the... What's he talking about?What the heck was this whole post about?

Well, a few days ago I was asked how I envision my life at 45...

June 13, 2002

Back to the nudie ladies

I spent every night last week drawing. I am addicted to it now... as happens with many things I start... guitar, web-sites, etc... I found myself awake at 3:30 and 4sm thinking "just one more before I go to bed".

Below are some of what I thought were the better works at that time. Now I look at them and cry at their level of crapitude.

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I don't want to become known as the boy who draws nudie ladies, so I try to throw a man in there ever once in a while. It is more difficult to find photos of men however. I could draw the ladies with clothes, but I'm affraid that wouldn't help me skill wise. Perhaps if I start to draw them without nipples... (I gave up on the fruit after about two sketches because let's face it... fruit is boring)

I found alot of great photos for models on the web without resorting to porno sites. One thing I noticed is that almost every Photographer site I could find that has artistic nudes was a German site... does anybody know why this is? I would interested to find out.

June 11, 2002

No time

Got home late... no time to write

***

Sold the tickets...yipeee

***

Drew some non-nudies. Now that I am fairly confident that I can draw a halfway decent nude Friday, I can turn my attention to bananas and apples. (strawberries are too expensive in Japan)

***

Reserved tickets to go home... I arrive in Detroit around 3:10 on August 28 (I think) wednesday. With my $1000 voucher I should only have to spend about $50 depending on the exchange rate.

***

A regular supporter of The Bastish Net thinks I am "worldy" and "intellignet" Just goes to show what kind of cons you can get away with on the Internet.

***

For some reason my Real Player doesn't work tonight so I couldnt listen to NPR.... ARRRRRGHHH. I downloaded the newest one... lets all pray together.

***

I'm going to bed...

June 10, 2002

Ladies Night

After posting the drawings from yesterday, my mom wrote me... it seems she was disappointed that there was not more fruit. I can only guess what she meant by that, but it started me thinking that I may be neglecting my female readers, so tonight is ladies' night at the Bastish Net.

There are also some nudie women in today's drawing samples too. I figured as long as I am developing the male photos, there is no harm in throwing up the women too. Not that I almost didn't put one of the drawings up, (the one that is tastefully altered from the original photo). Luckily I remembered that this is supposed to be a record for me as much if not more than for anyone else who reads this, and if I start editing and censoring myself it aint so good.

I probably wont be putting these drawings up so regularly in the future, in fact I only planned to put up the drawings from my Friday night sessions... but, since this is what I'm "in to" now, it makes sense to post them.

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A little fruit for the ladies

After posting the drawings from yesterday, my mom wrote me... it seems she was disappointed that there was not more fruit. I can only guess what she meant by that, but it started me thinking that I may be neglecting my female readers, so tonight is ladies' night at the Bastish Net.

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See all of todays drawings

There are also some nudie women in today's drawing samples too. I figured as long as I am developing the male photos, there is no harm in throwing up the women too. Not that I almost didn't put one of the drawings up, (the one that is tastefully altered from the original photo). Luckily I remembered that this is supposed to be a record for me as much if not more than for anyone else who reads this, and if I start editing and censoring myself it aint so good.

I probably wont be putting these drawings up so regularly in the future, in fact I only planned to put up the drawings from my Friday night sessions... but, since this is what I'm "in to" now, it makes sense to post them.

***

One of the great things about drawing like this all day or night, is that I can do this and listen to the radio of NPR at the same time. Most other things require more concentration. Yesterday I heard this interesting The Connection where they were discussing Mirroring Evil, an exhibit in the Jewish Museum that raises a lot of issues regarding how people can and can't, should or shouldn't represent the holocaust in art and writing.

This was especially interesting to me after I was in a class in University about the holocaust, and out of maybe 300 students, I think there where only about 10 of us who weren't Jewish, and even among the Jewish students, the vast majority of them had a family member who was a survivor. The question came up often "Who owns the holocaust?". In the beginning I thought I might be a little uncomfortable talking about it in class and giving my opinions, since I felt that I did not own it and they did, but what I realized, and wrote one of my papers about was that I (non-Jewish / Christian) in a way owned a part of it also... not a good part.. not that there was a good part, but I owned a part in that I could identify with the "villains", and could very well have been one. I'm confident I would not be one of the top echelon of the Third Reich, but what if I had been a regular citizen who got caught up in everything? The topic of my paper was about how similar the upbringing of one of the soldiers was to my own...

Anyway, in the program they talk about an exhibit that contrasts a famous exhibit at the Holocaust museum which passes out name tags of Jews who died to each of the visitors. This time, the exhibit passes out name tags identifying the visitor with taxi drivers, train conductors, and normal people who helped to kill and persecute the Jews. The point being that unless we put ourselves in these peoples place, and realize that they are not so terribly different than us, (even good Jews as well, as can be seen in Israel*) we can not really face what happened and prevent it from happening again.
*I think I may be treading on very dangerous ground if it sounds like I am comparing Isreal to Nazis. I don't think I ma though, I am comparing naturally "good" people to other natuarlly "good" people, not Hitler and the war criminals.

***

I have four second round World Cup tickets, and no one to buy them. I would go myself, but it is in Kobe, and the price to get there would cost more than the ticket. If anyone wants them or knows someone that wants them, let me know... maybe we can make a deal.

June 09, 2002

Another week down

I decided to take a well deserved break from writing on my site yesterday. Instead, I hung out with Brian and his friend who were back in Tokyo to catch their flight to China. Between Friday night and Saturday morning, in addition to spending a month's worth of my entertainment budget, I found two great restraints within a five minute walk from my apartment. I have lived here almost three years and had no idea they were there. Later on, I wound up spending more money as Dr. JJ and Kazuyo stopped by so I bought some fish and chicken to grill on my indoor BBQ. That lasted for about 10 minutes before it got moved outside. I had done it inside once before with little problem, but the wind seems to have changed since then.

***

I took another look at my drawings and how I did them to isolate what made them so crapish. I think I figured it out, so I spent much of the day practicing my "new method" so that next Friday I don't have to hide my drawings from everyone. I am relieved that I saw an enormous improvement. You can check out my progress. Obviously I don't have women lining up outside my apartment to pose nude for me, so (un?)fortunately, I was forced to hit the online porno sites for models.

Here's a preview...

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***

Once again there are hours worth of interviews and stories that I would like to share from NPR's site. I'm pretty sure no one has listened to any of these stories I recommend (unless you happened to catch it on the radio), but I will keep recommending them. If one of my cult-member / dedicated followers listens to one of the stories, my work will be done.

( I received a comment from a reader who happened across Car Talk on the radio for the first time last week by chance. Only then did she see my posts about Car Talk on the Bastish Net. Since Car Talk is more for entertainment than things that people in society should know, I wont say I hope she listens to it more often, but then again, it is not bad for the world to have more happy-smiley people... so I hope she starts listening to it regularly. )

Anyway, today's recommendations:
Fresh Air with Stan Lee If you don't know who Stan Lee is, you will think you can not be interested in the interview. You are wrong. Stan Lee is the creator of The Fantastic Four and Spider Man and countless other comic book characters. Although I have a lot of books with his characters stuck up in my closet in Bay City, I never knew how they where conceived of, and actually the impact that they had on the comic book industry as a whole. The greatest story he tells is of how Sergeant Fury was invented. I'll be checking Amazon for any auto-biography about Stan Lee.

Fresh Air with writer Michael Pollan He writes about pot mostly, but gives an interesting theory that the reason certain plants (such as marijuana) survive is that they "know" (not his words) what will make people and animals protect and even try t o cultivate more of them. In the case of cannabis, it is the chemicals that make people high.

He also notes that the chemicals people like in pot are also naturally occurring in our bodies. It is found in pregnant women, and is also produced by our brains. Why? because it is a chemical that helps us forget... such as the pain of giving birth, or simply allowing us to go home at night and not remember every single face we saw on the sub-way.

Fresh Air with photographer and reporter Scott Peterson talks about what it is like for reporters to cover war zones, and other such dangers. One interesting part is when he talks about the war-zone training they receive.

***

I don't know if it's true, but I heard on this talk from NPR's The Connection about bankruptcy in America, that US Credit card companies approached Mattel about marketing a "Credit Card Barbie" that, when the string is pulled, says such things as "Charge it please", and "It doesn't matter what it costs, I have my credit-card".*
*I am not a journalist. I do not verify or guarantee the accuracy of anything on this site.

June 08, 2002

02/06/08 Practice at home with porno

Here are a couple of drawing I made after reviewing my drawings from my first attempt to draw a live model, or in a "formal" setting. What I learned that day, was that

1) I try to draw a little too accurately if I am drawing something / someone real. I focus too much on small things instead of the whole picture.

2) With a live model, there is just no time to focus on specifics. I did not know how it would work, but it is quite interesting. The session was broken down into several poses. Some poses would be for 10 minutes each, with a small rest in-between. Some poses where only 5 minutes each (only enough time for a rough sketch). And there was one pose, that was actually 30 minutes(?) and was broken into sections. After short rests, the model would return to the same pose.

The 5 minute poses really helped me see how to capture the initial form first. So, when I went home, I searched through my favorite porno sites for interesting / difficult poses, and allowed myself first 5 minutes to capture the form. I photographed it and then for some of the drawings, allowed another 5-10 minutes to add some detail, then photographed again. I also tried adding color one time, but that turned out badly. I think I'll concentrate on one thing at a time.

I am definatly not a pro yet, but I see a big improvement over Friday night. As you can see comparing the face to the photo, the accuacy thing also leaves a little to be desired.

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June 07, 2002

Art progress

Since I have started taking my personal interests, such as drawing (somehting I should have taken seriously from the time I started elementry school), and I know that at least one reader out there has personal stake in my sucess as a famous artist, I have decided to record my progress and growth, and the how my skills improve over time.

I'll be sure to keep this updated every week when I get back from class. Hoepfully there will be lots of visible improvement.

Lions and tigers and nudie ladies, oh my!

A couple of things to talk about tonight.. actually lots of things, but I don't want to be doing this all night. I have already spent almost an hour taking and making the photos you see below.

***

I had my first formal "Art Experience" today. Until now I have only drawn during class in school. (never even had an art class). Today however, I skipped out of work early to join a friends art group. It was really great. I saw people using the tools I have seen only in art/hobby shops before now. I have a small idea now of how to use them. Paying money defiantly causes me to concentrate on it more.

I'm planning to go back on a weekly basis, so let's see if I get any better. Below are the drawings I made today. Pretty much crap. In my defense though, before I went I was told by my friend that this first session was a test to see if the organizer would allow me back with the advanced people, or if I would get stuck with the beginners. On top of that, she also told me that they think I do this all the time, and under no circumstances am I to let them know I am a "beginner". With that kind of pressure, I am amazed that I was even able to perform. Anyway, I feel that as I relaxed, (and saw that some of the other people weren't much better, I got a little better. I've also included some drawings and doodles so you can see how much I drew within the past few years when I have a photo, no pressure, and no time limit. I have critiqued some of the drawings from tonight on the larger image pages. I will add my weekly works to see if there is any improvement.

Here are some of my historical doodles.

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And these are the drawings from tonight.

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***

There was a great Talk of The Nation the other day about ebay. If you are into the whole internet thingy. I once tried to sell some things as a joke on Yahoo Auction, I would tell you what they were, but my mom is reading the site. What I can tell you is that pair of my dirty underwear sells for over 1,400 yen. And the other items, though no one wanted them, drew thousands of viewers.

June 06, 2002

Just Call Me Kevin Cameroon

by the way, my full name is Kevin Cameron, with one 'o'

Just got back from the World Cup game, (Cameroon VS Saudi Arabia). I'd love to tell you about it, but on the back of my ticket it says

Any person attending the Event shall not record, transmit, or in any other way disseminate over the internet or any other media, any sound, image, description, or result of the Event, in whole or in part, or assist any other person(s) conducting such activities.

I guess if you want to know who won you will have to look at the Fifa World Cup site, cause I'm not allowed to tell you.

Awwww.... screw it. Cameroon won. Ya know what? I'm gonna disseminate some images too. Just in case your wondering, I didn't get permission from the people in the photos either. What can I say, I have a rebel streak.

The Japanese guy with the goatee is a client the big white guy is my boss, the guy in the suit is a co-worker, the girl next to him his girlfriend (I hope none of his other girlfriends read this) and the girl in the blue shirt is the daughter of a friend of mine.

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I never knew my face was sooo crooked. I'm gonna have to do something about that.

***

As you can see in the photo, they were very strict about serving beer. Only one per person per time, and only until half-time. If that wasn't bad enough, they also tried to deter people from drinking by only serving Budweiser. I am not being a beer-snob when I tell you I literally felt sick after my one beer.

***

I heard National Geographic is interested in my recent trip to Fuji. In case they come to the site for photos. I have uploaded a 8MB zip of the high(est) quality, full resolution beauties.

***

I'm g

June 05, 2002

The Bowels of Road Rage

Sometimes I turn evil. When I turn evil, I begin pushing and cursing (arguably) innocent Japanese people out. It's actually quite a common phenomenon, known as road rage. "How can this be? Kevin doesn't drive?", you may ask. Well, in Japan it is possible to experience road rage while walking. On my list of things to submit to a scientific study, is Why do Japanese people walk so frikkin' slow?!?!! Tonight was one of those times.

But wait!!! It was not only because Japanese people walk slow. It was because I was stuck behind them in crowded Shinjuku for an hour looking for the start of the hash. The hash web-site, at 5:30 pm, only said Shinjyuku San-chyome. Well, out of many many exits (I would also like to do a scientific study to count the exits) there where exactly ZERO arrows. I really wonder who will reimburse me for the 360 yen I used to get there and back home. (at which time the web-site had the exit (C3) listed).

I was really looking forward to this hash too... watching the World Cup, rootin' for Ireland in my green penis shirt and all... Oh well, a few lucky Japanese people get to go home and complain to their wife, girlfriend, whatever, about how much they hate gaijin. Also, I stumbled onto a nice pair of binoculars (I've wanted it for a long time but have been too cheap) for dirt cheap.

***

I don't think it is fair to the other 6 people who read the site to not let them in on the (semi)private conversation between a reader and the Bastish Net.

This is in response to last nights post (the person who sent this comment gives his permission to use the comment on the site... (there is a checkbox asking for permission in the comment form)).

That's great. You are one of the only people I know that would do their job for free. But, maybe you miss-understood me. I didn't mean to ask if you would still be involved in web programming if it didn't pay; you obviously do that for free for Bastish Inc. I meant to ask if you would still go to your place of work every day, teach your boss how to program, fix web sites that can't be fixed by repeatedly clicking on them, and all the other daily chores you do for someone else that gets you that weekly pay check.

Obviously I wouldn't work for the company for free, but the work itself, (if I had another source of income) I would do for free under the right circumstances. In fact, I am supposed to be making the WELS Japan Mission site for free...

If I didn't have my 'engineering' job, I wouldn't cease to do 'engineering' functions. They trickle into my daily all the time. But, if I wasn't getting a paycheck, I don't think I'd be getting out of bed at 5am to come here and deal with these customers every day. And I surely wouldn't pay someone else for the privilege of doing my job. (I payed for college, but that was an investment with a future payoff potential that is being realized by my weekly paycheck.) Yet I constantly find myself paying to do other things: rock climbing, skiing, racing mtn bikes, climbing Fuji. I think these things define who I am more so than my job. If I change jobs, I'll still have the same interests, the same desires, etc.

I have been leaving work at 6:00 every day lately, giving me more "personal time", but what I want to use my personal time for is work. Of course my own work, but still work. I am sure that I can not live working for someone else's company, and I view my current job as education (as I view almost everything... if I can't learn something from it, I really can't justify doing it. This is why I am growing more and more dissatisfied with my current job. It has nothing to do with money, it is all about learning. When I started I was learning enough to justify long hours. Now, I am not, so I commit more to my personal life. Yet, since my personal life goals are so intertwined with my work goals, I am much happier when my personal life is my work life. Even something as fun-sounding as the Hash would be boring if there were no people to talk to about their work, and I have been criticized for talking about work too much when they are trying to forget about it.

I can't believe you like Car Talk. I used to like it years ago, but as I learned more and more about cars, I liked the show less and less. But, their target audience is the auto-uneducated. Maybe that's why I don't care for them any more.

I don't think you have to be uneducated about cars to enjoy Car Talk. I am, but like I say, I could care lass about cars. I just think they are funny and love their attitude. And they do actually tackle some very advanced car related issues such as this week when they talk about Our Secret List of Cars that Chicks Dig

Today's "Talk of the Nation" is about Americans and their love of beer. I didn't get to hear it, and I don't know if it's on the website, but I thought you might be interested. Not that you've got a drinking problem. Just that you had your own review of Japanese beer (biru?).

I had been meaning to put up a notice for everyone about that... but I figured they could just catch the replay. It was semi-educational, of course I am a beer snob I guess, so I have to say that I would have liked it years ago, but as I learned more and more about beer, I grow to like this less and less.

By the way, they talk about beer snobs, and I think there is nothing wrong with someone who acts like a beer snob, unless they criticize Japanese Happoshyu (which is truly crap and not considered beer) but praise Japanese Ebisu, Kirin, or Asahi (which is truly crap and should not be considered beer).

June 04, 2002

Sorry I'm Late...

I received this message regarding yesterday's depression post.

...Don't take your job too seriously. If it didn't pay money, would you do it?...I really think you should spend more time pursuing your personal desires ...

Makes sense, but the answer to the first question... Yes. I would still do it if it didn't pay. Not at my current company, but yes the core idea, the idea of wanting to create WOW is something I do (try to) do even though it doesn't pay. Making this site doesn't pay, but I do it because I like it... it is my WOW project. (you may not think "WOW" when you see it, but the fact that more than 7 people read this site regularly is WOW to me).

As for pursuing my personal desires, am I a looser to feel that my personal desire is my work? That is the number one reason that I am focusing now on whatever I have to do to make it my business in the near future. I have not decided exactly what my business will be (if I knew I could do it now), but whatever it is it will be based on WOW.

I don't think any company has enough money to pay me to do something that I would not do for free. I quit a terrible job that paid twice as much as my current job because it was terrible.

***

I just got back from watching Japan vs. Belgium. It was actually a pretty good game. I think I am a freak though, because while the people I was with where thinking about if their team would score, I was occupied with the following thoughts.

  1. I think it would be extremely popular if there was a "Virtual Player" system whereby viewers would choose a player before the game, then be wired to sensors that inflict pain to various parts of the body where the actual player feels pain. A sophisticated system would also raise the fan's heartbeat to match the players, and allow them to feel the same amount of fatigue.

    Of course this is probably not possible now in real time, but if there was a 10 second delay, a "pain manager" could watch the game and have enough time to push the "pain infliction button" for all the users.

  2. How much would it cost for the Japan marketing office of MasterCard, Coca-Cola, Gillette, etc... (sponsors of the World Cup with banners around the field) to offer a bonus to any Japanese player who scores a goal and strikes a memorable victory pose directly in front of one of their banners? Such an image would result in thousands of exposures via replays on the news and sports programs.
  3. Why is it that the loudest and most "alive" table in the bar tonight (before the first goal) was a group of old ladies that where not even watching the game?
  4. Why is it that the other viewers did not get excited until after a goal was scored? And then, why was each time they came within 200 yards of the goal, and every time they kicked the ball 20 feet over the goal (just as happened so many time before the first goal) so much more exciting after a goal?
  5. Did the Japanese players all dye their hair blonde especially for the World Cup? If not, why is it that only the Japanese team looks so ridiculous?

***

I had a crazy thought last night. Medical School. I think I could get in even with my background if it was in Jamaica or the likes.

***

Car Talk, a show I used to love on NPR, even though I have absolutely no interest in cars, is also available on-line. But better than that, the Car Talk web-site has the Tic and Tac brothers' biography. I didn't realize it until someone told me last week, but they are graduates of MIT with doctorates and MBAs. Read about their life, and I start to see what people mean when they say that I take my job too seriously. Maybe I should make them my role-models.

June 03, 2002

The Bowels of Depression

Today was an extremely unpleasant day. I have found myself cast deep into the bowels of depression. But more on that after this obligatory update about my weekend.

As you know if you have read any of the entries for the last couple days, a freind from when I was a student in Kyushyu, and 4 of his friends came to Japan for some World Cup action ths week. They stayed at my tiny apartment for the two nights they were in Tokyo. The previous record for number of people crashing in my apartment was 4 I believe. That was a year ago when Kelly visited with some friends from Kyusyu. That time everyone fit in one room. I was sure having 6 guys in my apartment would be no problem, but as it turns out, I misjudged slightly. I wont say more.

As always happens when people visit, in the days before they arrive I find a part of me hoping they will change their plans and I can have my "free time" back. Fortunatly, however, they rarely do, and I wind up enjoying having visitors from out of town. I tend to take so much for granted, and miss the small things about Japan that are just so darn interesting... until soeone who is seeing it for the first time asks about it. Also, I wind up going to alot of places I would never go on my own. For instance, this time I wound up taking a trip to Yokohama just to see some excelent grafiti . A half-day trip that cost about $10 and was totally worth it.

Of course everyone always wants to go to Akihabara, God only knows why, and this I could do without, but at the end of the day I always get my way and take any visitors sight seeing to my favorite place, the red light district of Kabukichyo. The visitors reviews are always mixed, some find the lights, and people as interesting as I do, and some hate it. This time I think I was successful and no one seemed too put off by being approached by countless men in suits offering various "services" from the ladies in thier bars.

This time was especially interesting, as with the World Cup in Japan, there was an unusually high number of foreigners in the streets. We met several groups from Ireland who took time out of their busy drinking schedule to talk to us. Even a tiny Izaka-ya I like had the cup on TV and was filled with foreigners.

In the end though, the star of the weekend turned out to be Guri. I wish I had photos of 5 grown men cooing over a little bird and drawn to every move she made. They just coupldn't get enough. They even though it was cute when she started throwing the coins arond her cage at 5 am.

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***

Now I get to tell you about my depression.

It's not much really, I found that today I was in an especially depressed state, and upon reflection as to why, I came torealize that I just can't make people happy. Sounds silly, but really what I like to do, and can really get into, is creating something that makes someone happy that a) someone else can't create, or b) someone else didn't think to create.

In my job, for the first year, when I really loved it, I was making everyone happy. I always went above and beyond their expectations. Brought new ideas to the table, and implemented them (usually) within their budget. Itis my own fault I guess, but now everyones expectations (the ones I used to surpas by a mile) have grown huge based on my past performance. Unfortunatly the budget has not budged. I find it impossible to even fulfill their expectations and stay in budget, let alone make them say WOW. Today I got a complaint from a client whose demands have far exceted thier budget, and thus our resources. It was a perfectly valid complaint, one that I would have never let happen a year ago. I realize that I while I will surely be able to make them "satisfied", by setting up alot of strict guidlines about what we will do an wont do for them, I have real doubts about being able to make them say "WOW".

At the sme time, I have been facing dilemas regarding this site. While there were also self-serving reasons for making it, the real reason was to make people happy. To make people say "WOW". I am afraid now, that I may be doing just the opposite and pissing people off. I give brief recaps of my life so that people I know in the US can know what I do. I take photos whenever I can for the hash and of events in my life, hoping it will make some people happy. Lately though, and after a (incredibly polite and friendly) complaint today, I am really wondering how to handle this. I think the only thing I can do is to only speak of myself, and not mention names. This is not really to huge of a problem, but then what about photos. My judgement as to wether or not a photo is "usable" is not good. The golden rule "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" does not apply since I would have others do so much more unto me than they would want sone to themselves. I enjoy a good dose of sarcasm directed at me, and often dispense it myself.

I have to come to the (extremely logical and common-sense) conclusion that I can't use any content that mentions any one but me without their permission. I don't know how I can handle that, so I will have to refine that as I go along, and piss off some people. (If you happen to be one of them sorry, it is not my intent). The fact that I have to change how i do this is not depressing however. What had me down today was that when I tried hard to do things that I thought would make peole happy (that would make me happy) I am more likely than not hurting them. Dang.

June 01, 2002

Glad I Aint a Frenchie

I was fortunate enough yesterday to experience World Cup Fever. Those poor Frenchies though... I would feel bad for them if I had not won 500 yen from a gullible Brit (at the top of the second inning, he wanted to bet that France already down by one, would come back to win... if they tie we would be even. No odds, nothing.)

Watch Dr. JJ's reaction to France getting trounced

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Anyway, I think I have another theory as to why Americans aren't so consumed with soccer. My new theory is that we are just too smart.

There where so many times when the ball would get close to the goal, and everyone else was on their feet yelling and screaming. However, Based on my past observations of soccer, 99.9% of the times the ball gets close to the goal, the player kicks it over, or too far to the left. The fact that I (we Americans) have the mental capacity to fathom these odds, greatly diminishes the excitement factor.

Furthermore, I find it hard to identify with the players and to understand what is on their minds when they kick the ball over the net. I have made some scientific calculations and performed test cases with a miniature soccer goal and paper wad. What I discovered was that kicking the ball over the net almost always results in no points.

***

Kumiko presented my idea to make a web-site for her art class in exchange for free art-classes. Unfortunately, the artists don't know so much about the Internet. I guess I will have to start with some education. In the meanwhile, I have decided to start paying. I can't afford lessons really, but for only 3000 yen a month, I can go draw a nudie lady every Friday night.

***

Tomoe is back (to England) from the US. She was out of reach of the Internet for about a month causing a communication black out. Toward the end I was getting kind of crazy without the ability to email or chat with her in real or near-real time. It is times like that I realize just how great the Internet is. I shouldn't admit it, but I am basically an un-believer in the Internet as far as most of our clients think about it.

A web-site for a company is great, and they really should have one, just as a shoe store should have a sign in front of it, but when it come to such things as e-shopping and such, I have to admit that I find it extremely annoying. If the foreign books on amazon.co.jp weren't so much cheaper than in the bookstore here, I would never buy online. When it comes to making reservations for plane tickets or hotels? No way I would do that online. Especially not when there is a friendly travel agent a phone call away that always finds cheaper tickets in 1/100 the time it would take me to find it online. Not to mention that I would never trust a reservation made online was actually made. I would have to phone the seller to confirm in person anyway.

The point being however, The Internet is great once you get past the commercial uses most people have in mind. There are still a lot of companies in Japan that don't have email. I can't imagine how they do business. I only started using online chat a year ago, but I can't imagine not having it now. I remember when I was a heart-broken teenager writing letters to Sweden. Can you believe it used to take over a week to get a reply to something I commented on today? Now if two days go by before getting a reply from Tomoe, I go into withdrawal. I don't know what would happen if we had to wait two weeks on a regular basis. Even with her being so far away as England, it is like she is still here in some respects. In fact, I am afraid that once she actually gets back here, she will seem further away than now as a result of her new job... no time to meet, and hardly any time to write an email.

***

Finally, since I had to mark arrows from the station to my apartment today for Brian and his frineds, I took the opportunity to take a few photos of my neighborhood.

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