« October 2002 | Main | December 2002 »

November 30, 2002


My goal today is to hopefully make a little program that will automatically index all links and images as they are uploaded to the site. The result of course, that you can search for past photos or links without clicking on each archive page. I spent 15 minutes the other day looking for a link that know I posted a couple months ago... and that 15 minutes turned into an hour as I started following other links and visiting sites I haven't visited since I posted the link.

One of the links I spent some time at was about movie physics. It's always fun to read the hard proof about why some movies suck... taking the "opinion" out of it. But the most interesting part was a point the author made, that when creating science fiction, it is OK to ask the reader / viewer to believe something that is impossible, but not something that is improbable. When I think about it, I begin to see how right that is.

For example, if there was a scene where our hero attached a rocket booster to his back and (with an oxygen tank of course) is attempting to fly into space. The problem of course is that a mad-man is chasing him with a gun and he has only a few seconds to discover the secret code that will allow him to start the rocket without regular ignition key (currently in posse tion of the mad-man) Of course, the hero is able to guess the code by remembering that the mad-man is fond of a cockateil named Awii... (the code is Awii). The hero flies the rocket pack into space and escapes the mad-man, allowing him to live another day and save the world.

I don't know about you, but what I would say when I watch this scene is not "Oh come on! There is no way that rocket booster could generate enough force to propel him into space considering his mass and the lack of oxygen as a force to work upon!". What I would say, is "Oh give me a break! Scientist smart enough to make a rocket pack like that used his pet's name as a password!?"

The first is impossible, so I accept it as fantasy. The second is possible but not likely, so I view it as an insult. I will never watch a movie or read a book in the same way.

* * *

I was listening to a Connection talk about "Don't ask don't tell". Of course there are no new arguments for either side of this debate to put forth here, but I was surprised that no one on the program called the people against gays in the military on their argument that they want to make sure that the people serving in the armed forces are of the highest moral caliber, and one of the callers who is an instructor at a military school, who said that if gays were allowed he would not be able to teach anymore because of his beliefs.

What the heck is his religion!?!? At first he sounded Christian, but when he said that I had to wonder. Why is he allowed to teach people having premarital heterosexual sex? Why is he allowed to teach people who swear? Why is he allowed to teach people who drink too much? All of these things are also forbidden. And if they are trying to make the military a "moral" place, who decides the morality and what is moral? Who decided that all the things I mentioned above are moral and that homosexuality is not? I searched for a link to the morality committees web-site to see their list of commandments, but couldn't find it on Google.

* * *

I have some more immoral drawings to post. Also some that are semi-moral. The nudies are all from nudie-club these last few weeks. The painting of the pots in the window is one of the first I have been satisfied with. It doesn't look so well in the photo, but in real life the colors are kind of glowy n' junk. The painting entitled "Green Pumpkin Boy", painted a few weeks ago, is my first oil painting. I was just kind of playing around, seeing how oil paint is different than watercolor, but it must always have some kind of sentimental value.


November 28, 2002

Smarty junk

Hmmm... There seems to be a surge in my personal life... meaning simply that many people who have not contacted me for a while are doing so now. Of course I have not contacted them either, but that goes without saying. I don't think it has anything to do with Thanksgiving in particular, but you never know... and since I'm sure the family will be gathering around tomorrow, and mom may say something about my site, which may prompt people to look at it, I should prepare by writing something smarty and intelligent soundy.

There really aint nuttin' sounds smarts, so I's gonna write about the concert I went to last night. It was classical music and chorus, singing many hymns and hallelujah songs. They weren't pro, so they made some mistakes, but all in all it was OK (considering the tickets were given to us by Tomoe's landlord). I would have enjoyed it much more probably had they sang songs in Japanese, with content relevant to them. I imagine they would think it was quite silly if I put on a show singing traditional Japanese Shinto hymns. I just felt a sense of disconnect between their work and themselves... It was quite obvious that they where more going through the motions of singing a standardized set of songs than actually expressing themselves.

* * *

I had hoped to post my latest masterpiece, but have been too busy at work to even go to lunch, and unfortunately, due to the new security measures I've implemented at work, I am no longer able to upload photos from my home.

That's about it.

November 26, 2002

Four Wasted

Listening to Talk of the Nation today, I had a few of them deep thought thingies. The program was about how to be alone. The guest was Jonathan Franzen. I was struck by two things.

First, I ordered Jonathan Franzen's book. For some reason I thought I would like it... although I don't really have any idea what the book is about, I liked the author. I will probably like the book as well simply because I am intrigued by the author... much like with David Sedaris. I find that I am much more interested in him than his writing (although his writing is about him). As far as I can figure, the thing that both these authors seem to have in common is an enormous lack of confidence. It would only be natural then that I am drawn to them, two obviously extremely talented people who don't see themselves that way always.

I don't want to destroy your image of me as a hero for all mankind, but I too lack confidence in many areas. Sure, when I think about it logically, I have mounds of confidence. I'm pretty awesome at what I do considering my experience level... and if I was at it as long as many people who are now "better" than me, I would kick their a**. Unfortunately, (as much as Tomoe would probably disagree) it is impossible for me to squelch my non-logical, emotional self. As a result, I am filled with irrational self-doubt daily. And, even though I everyone feels like this (if your not, you're the most extraordinary person reading this site), it is a great comfort for me to see such obviously WOW people with doubts.

On a side note, recently I had been feeling even more inadequate as a project I have been working on has been going amazingly slowly... but when I stepped back and took a look yesterday, I saw the most kick-arse program I have ever made, and one of the best browser-based applications I have ever seen. Sure the programming could be a lot cleaner, and I'm sure someone who has been at it longer could look at it and point out all the places where it could be more efficient, but in the end, it just has to work, and the concept... the "artistic" portion if you will, is beyond many of the more experienced programmers. I just hope it sells.

The second thing I thought about listening to the show, was a result of a comment from one of the callers. He said that as a result of him spending a lot of time alone, he is a much better BS detector. He says he is not so easily impressed by other people. For me this is connected with the confidence thing. I often hear people bragging about how great they are, and people talking about things that I don't know enough to dispute, but 99% of the time I see it as a load of crap. I find it very difficult to be impressed with anyone. I don't think this is so much a result of me preferring to spend most of my time at home alone (or with a very close friend), as it is a result of my own extremely harsh self-criticism.

Often I see people bragging about things that I myself have accomplished, or at least experienced to a high-enough degree to know that there is nothing especially difficult about it. Heck, if I can do it, why should I think anyone else is great for doing it too. If it is something that I have no connection with, I often imagine what it would take for me to accomplish the same if I wanted to. In most cases, all it would require is the interest and the time. No big deal. Some people of course point to the fact that it takes sacrifice and dedication etc... Maybe I don't have that... but I sure as heck don't admire anyone for punishing themselves all for the sake of their ego. People sacrificing for someone else, such as a single mother working, schooling, and raising a kid do impress me, but I rarely see them bragging.

I know I would be better off if I could see myself in magnified glory as most "successful" people do... I would have more confidence in an interview, be able to get higher salary, etc... but dang! I just haven't been able to do it yet.

It is no wonder that I have never had a hero. I remember once in grade-school I was supposed to write a report about my hero. When I said I didn't have one, and actually made a compelling reason was to why not (for a nine-year-old) my teacher told me I had to find one. Naturally I picked Jesus, but she told me I couldn't use him, so I settled on Abraham Lincoln. The reason I gave was that if it wasn't for him there would still be slaves. In my defense, I didn't really believe that (nor though, did I know it was wrong) I just pulled it out of my a** because the teacher wouldn't accept the truth, that I have never known anyone that is so impressive in every aspect of their life that I would consider them a hero. Some people are great at things I suck at, and I am impressed, but they suck at things I can do, or have other dis functions, so they loose all points.

It will sound like a cheezy pile of squish, but the most impressive person I know is Tomoe, which is obviously what draws me to her the most. Sure there are many things I am much much much much much much better at than she, and many many many many cases where I am right and she is wrong (though still probably the minority), but in these cases too she impresses me by doing what most people find so difficult to and considers the opposite view an adjusts her own. Although I wouldn't call her my hero, she is one of the few people I try to emulate, and by far the biggest influence on my life in the last four years(*please see below for more on this). I do agree with and aspire to live and work in a way that fits some other peoples ideas, and admire them for publishing and (maybe) living by those ideas. For example, recently I have been reading about Ben Franklin, (who, because of history, I give the benefit of a doubt). I will, however, never know -enough about him to consider him a hero

* * *

*What's this last four years crap? As it turns out, it is just about four years since I started seeing Tomoe. In fact, although I had met her in class before that fateful Thanksgiving four years ago, it was then that I actually started to get to know her. I had told another Japanese friend of mine that any foreign students she knew who didn't have anyplace to go for the Thanksgiving holiday (and thus would spend it locked in their dorm room on an empty campus) were welcome to come to my house. Tomoe accepted, and as it turned out, no one else did. Truth be told, I had been "intrigued" by her a couple times before then, so when I found out that she was coming, and no one else was, I was not at all upset. So, that's the abridged story.... and now she has wasted four years of her life with me.

November 24, 2002

Science + creativity = art

I just heard a great Talk of the Nation about the science of cooking. Although I am not a scientist, and probably almost failed science class in high-school (I don't really recall...) I am adamant that everything that people call "art" is actually the creative use of science. I am amazed at the color wheel, which I will venture to say most great artists refer to, as well as ideas about space and composition, not excluding perspective and what not which is actually science. Sure much of the great art flaunts the science and does the opposite of what should be true, but the artists do this on purpose, knowing the scientific facts... it's not an ignorant whim.

The science of cooking is no different. Sure just following science would lead to boring recipes, but knowing the science, coupled with creativity and inspiration, leads to amazing food. All that, and it is fun to learn about that stuff. Maybe everyone but me knows that you can get your turkey to cook evenly by using a blow torch to preheat the legs before putting the whole thing in the oven, or packing the breast with ice while cooking it. And I wish I could remember why this is.. but there where too many scientific words that I failed to remember from high-school . Also, the whole little theory of throwing in a pinch of salt to raise the boiling point of water is a load of crap. In order to raise the boiling point, you would have to half 1/3 salt/water mixture. In fact, putting the pot of water on the floor raises the boiling temperature more than a pinch of salt because of the change in pressure.

They also talked about the science of bread making, which was pretty fascinating to me... but then again, I'm not an old wife, nor do I know any of the old wives tales.. maybe it is nothing new.

Every so often I am inspired to buy a book that has been the topic of discussion on Talk of the Nation or The Connection. Last time it was A Mind at a Time, which I loved (and takes a little more scientific approach at how we learn than just saying "try hard"). I will now also order The Science of Cooking. I hope it is as good.

November 21, 2002

Every day I make notes

Every day I make notes of things I can or want to write about on the bastishnet, unfortunately, when it comes to actually writing, I always wind up going with the most simple hapnens' of the day because I don't have time to write about the more interesting crap which would require actually tapping into my cognitive abilities. So today, I only write boring stuff.

* * *

Check out these photos of Guri Vs. Asupara. I was going to erase them after I first took them because she moved too much. I'm glad I didn't. The movement actually adds a lot to the photos if you know Guri.

* * *

A reader asked why I was so excited in an earlier post about discovering the color wheel. Maybe I'm an idiot, but I never knew what colors were complimentary, and surly never knew the relationship between them (opposites on the color wheel). Nor did I notice the different grays that exist depending on how much of the primary colors are present, and certainly not that mixing a color and it's compliment produced a more attractive gray than just mixing black and white.

Although attributed to the color wheel, my excitement was not limited to the color wheel. I also never knew about the difference between warm reds, blues, greens, etc.. and cold red, blues, greens, etc... I never knew about transparent colors vs. opaque colors. And, more related to watercolors, I never knew about staining reds, blues, greens etc... and their non-staining counterparts. Amazing stuff. I have to take the blame myself for not having learned it on my own after 5th grade, but I really think that at least the most basic of these concepts should have been taught to us before then.

* * *

I went back to the hash after a three month break yesterday. Photos here. It was weird that people somehow knew about my latest goings-on even though I had no contact with them since before I went to Tim's wedding. It was fun until I heard some horror stories about peoples Cockatiels getting eaten by crows. Japanese crows are the biggest I have ever seen. Their scary too. Once while I was living in Sakaide, I awoke one morning at 6am to a deafening scraping on the roof. I looked out the window to see hundreds of crows attacking the building, and hundreds more hanging out in the park across the street. I wanted to walk to the next door apartments to wake up Tom, Andre, and Troy (my neighbors) but was too afraid even though I had an umbrella to beat them off. Every time I opened the door, about fifty or so crows from the park across the street would be attracted and start flying in my direction.

In the end, no one else saw them, and they would never have believed the story if the ground was not totally painted with crow crap.

* * *

Jon has his very own blog now. Check it out here http://www.bastish.net/jonnyboy/

* * *

I had been pretty negative in the last month, I attribute it to the fact that I must have a little bi-polar blood in me. Now I am fine. Of course this may be due to the fact that I realized it is no use feeling like crap because I can't due everything I want to. One other thing may be that I quit work as a hobby, and started a new hobby that I used to feel bad about always putting off (painting or art or whatever). I used to think of work as a hobby as well as my job, which was great for being satisfied career-wise as long as I am constantly moving forward in leaps and bounds, but if things slow down (as they have at my work now) I feel like crap. As far as simple jobs go, my job now is awesome. As far as super satisfying career moves go it sucks. But I decided that I don't need a super-satisfying job right now in a field that I don't even care to make a career in. Just having a cool job is pretty good as long as I have another hobby to replace it. All is well, it just takes a different perspective I guess.

TLH3 Iidabashi

Back to the hash after a three month savings-spree.

(I made a mistake and all the pictures turned out small... I will have it fixed in the morning so please check back if you care)


November 14, 2002

Return of Stress 'n Crap

Well, with the return of my internetability (I am connected again) I have also returned to the world of stress and headaches. My Yahoo modem came today but when I tried to set it up, I find that my computer can't find it's new ethernet card. I was erasing and reinstalling it for most of the night until by magic, and a little tweaking of the Windows registry (which scares the bejeeziz out of me that I may render my computer unusable) I was able to get it started... it wasn't until after 3 hours of swearing and smashing my lap-top with whisky bottle. I am certain that computers are the work of the devil. What I can't figure out though, is with sooo many brilliant people working at microsoft and other software companies, why can't they make something that works like its supposed to, without the user jumping through all kinds of hoops? Sure my own programs may not be most usable at times, but I am one man with 2 years experience... if I had a team of geeks, my programs would be able to do everything but poop and pee for you.

What really made me upset, was that I was planning to work with on my new discovery, the color wheel. Why did not one ever tell me about such a wonderful thing? All of a sudden I see what was wrong with some of my painting that just didn't seem right. All of a sudden when I look at someone else painting (or even a photograph or the world for that matter) I notice what makes some things attractive, and Japanese signs uglier than my butt crack on a bad day. I hope that some day soon I can show you a nice painting.

I have promised Jon his very own Blog as an extension of my site. Now that I am connected, I set the deadline to get this accomplished as next Tuesday... if I am not done by then... well, I'll let Jon decide .

It's not 11:30 and I have some colors to play with...

November 10, 2002

Guri fakes it

I have a chance to update the site today (Sunday) because I am in the office doing some other work... soo, as long as I am near a computer that can connect to the Internet...

Basically I just wanted to show off my latest drawings and paintings... not much maybe, but I think I am improving a bit. These are a few paintings I have done late at night when I would normally have been updating the bastish net.

* * *

Here are some drawings from the nudie club. They vacation often so I have only been there twice in two months it seems. Anyway, the first three are from a few weeks ago, and the rest are from Friday night.

* * *

A client had some tickets for a baseball game at the Tokyo Dome and asked me to go, so Saturday Tomoe and I went to watch the MLB All Stars from the US (the only one I had ever heard of was Berry Bonds, who by the way hit 2 (3?) home-runs) vs. the Yomiuri Giants, which just one the National Championships of Japan (or so I am told). It wasn't much in the way of excitement... but then baseball never is... but it was interesting enough. The most striking thing is that although Japan is supposed to be quite good at baseball (I thought), they seem to suck. Maybe they were just hung over from too much celebrating after winning the championship.

Anyway, it was a good chance for me to wear the Chicago Cubs jersey Tim and Shannon gave everyone as a gift at the rehearsal dinner for their wedding. Just for proof that I wear it there is a shady photo of me outside the Tokyo Dome.

* * *

A typical Saturday night of study with the birds. Guri looks healthy here, but I was sure she was going to die earlier this week as she lost most of her weight and couldn't seem to keep any food down. After I bought her a tiny little aquarium to use as an incubator keeping her warm, she miraculously got better in one day. I think she was faking the whole thing for attention, but when she realized she would be locked in a fishbowl until she was better she decided to stop.


It has been getting quite cold lately so today I went out and bought them some plastic to surround their cage so I can heat it up during the night and keep them warm without heating the entire house. I can't afford to run the heater anymore this year anyway because while Guri was sick I had the heater in my room turned on high for two days non-stop, heating the entire room. I am afraid of the electricity bill.

November 06, 2002

Oil, Smoke, Frito-Lay and Cancer

Gotta make this quick cause it's taking up my lunch time. I still don't have Internet at home, which is of course why I don't update often. I love it. I am thinking about just canceling it all together.

* * *

Jon was in Tokyo for the weekend, so we had an exciting night out on the town. We went to a place I used to think was an OK rester aunt, but Saturday night I don't think there was one other table besides us that was not smoking. My throat is still sore. I haven't heard the outcome of New York City's ban on smoking bill... I hope that type of legislation comes to Japan sometime soon.

I also hope to see a lot more law suits against the Tobacco companies. Mainly because I want the precedence set so I can sue Frito-lay for making potato chips which have been found to be carcinogens by a Swedish research team.

I hope their lawers didn't read this article though which says that

the amount given to laboratory rats to produce tumors is equivalent to a human consuming a daily ration of 35 000 potato chips or 182 pounds of French fries.

* * *

I went out and bought oil-painting tools and materials last weekend. I have only played with them a bit, but really love it so far, it's too bad though that the fumes would probably kill my birds so I can't use them in the house.

Until I can get a studio or move into a bigger apartment with more rooms, I will have to stick to water painting, but that's not so bad either... At least not as bad as my photography.