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It's gonna be long wait

It looks as though the Yahoo!BB wont be ready for another three weeks. When I began the paperwork (three weeks ago) they told me it would be three weeks for everything... now halfway through they have changed their minds it would seem.

A Dream Come True

I'm temporarily cut off from the Internet while at home. I am getting YahooBB and had to switch my phone over from ISDN to analog. This of course means that I can't use my ISDN connection anymore. I tried to dial in to Livedoor last night just to get my email and couldn't get through because the line was always busy.

It's actually nice not being connected. I may consider throwing out the computer. Without it, half the things on my to-do list were automatically erased. I would never have been able to finish them all anyway, but I feel much better (less guilty) knowing that I don't really have a choice.

It makes me happy

A couple of paintings that I have done in the past week or so. If you'll notice, there was a massive improvement in the painting of Tomoe kayaking (my painting is getting better,but photography skills are suffering) in Vancouver over last time's. I might have to make that my benchmark painting. If I redo that painting every few weeks I can see how much I am improving. I am most happy with the big fat cute bird. I amaze myself sometimes.

In that last photo you can see the dangers of falling asleep in my new masage chair (3000 yen at the junk bazaar) while brushing your teeth when the birds are out.

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It's amazing how happy this makes me. I used to stay up late working on some program or website for work, but I always was relieved to go to bed... It's also amazing that I waited 29 years to scratch the painting itch. Why did I never touch a brush until now? Of course I would not want to give up the three or so year period when my main hobby was guitar. One thing that is more interesting htan amazing, is that tonight while I was painting, I was listening to The Connection as I usually do, and it was a about The Funk Brothers. When theyplayed the music clippets, I felt so much more "inspired" (I hate to use such a silly word). But after that show I put in some of the old blues cds I had not listened to in over a year, and coudn't believe how much stress melted away (I was sitting in my massage chair).

Looking for the way

I'm really glad to see some people are still reading the site. I haven't had a chance lately to study the access logs so I wasn't sure. A couple people have commented on my recent attack of chronic un-satisfaction-itis. It seems people think I am looking for the dream job where everything is peachy and I enjoy every day. Luckily for me, I'm not that stupid.

I know that no job is something that I will want to do all the time, and that there are crappy aspects about any job. This is not a problem. In fact, truth be told, I love the job I have now... when it comes to the everyday work. I have a lot of fun programming. I have a lot of fun solving little (or big) problems as they pop up on the server. It is challenging and gives me a nice "I did work" headache. I have no problem with my job (as far as daily work goes) as it is now.

The problem, is that I am feeling antsy and want to move ahead. What I hate is that I don't feel as though I have moved ahead in the past year. I have learned a lot, but can't seem to find the opportunity to use what I learn at work, so I have to do it all in my play time. Then I feel like an idiot for spending my work time to stand still, and my play time to advance in a career that I am not even sure I want to advance in.

I want to move forward, but I don't know what direction. Why else would I entertain thoughts about quitting my job, where I have the power to tell other people to do things I don't want to do (assuming they know how) to start doing exactly the same job, (three times the work load) by myself with a chance of less money? The only reason I can think of is that I want to move forward, and at least if I am doing it myself I feel as though I have moved, as opposed to staying where I am now.

It makes me crazy, wanting to move forward, but don't know where to move to. I really started to realize this when I started thinking seriously about grad school. Going to grad school is a quick-fix way to make me feel like I am moving forward, and no doubt I would be moving forward. Grad school however is a major investment of time and money... shouldn't I be sure that I really want to do it before I go? I don't know the answer to this... if anyone does let me know. Maybe grad school is something I should try even if I simply "enjoy" the subject, but don't really feel that there is tremendous value in dedicating myself to it.

Moving to Fujino? In some ways I think that has to do with wanting a change, but a great deal of it is that the major lesson i have learned from Tokyo, is that I don't want to live here (or any other big city I think). Having come across this 1/3 life crisis, thinking about what I really want to move forward in, as opposed to previously doing whatever was a good opportunity and interesting (which turned out well) I also find myself thinking "If in the end I don't want to live in Tokyo, why should I do it now?". Is there any real reason to punish myself for sake of saying "I punished myself". Why not do what I want to do now... if I had to move back to the city to survive... nothing lost.

Maybe I'm just selfish... It does sound a little selfish wanting to have a life I enjoy as much as possible, while most people I see seem to miserable. Maybe I'm just crazy to think that I deserve it... after all, I can't think of any logical reason that I deserve it above anyone else...

It's Sad

I wonder how much better off the world would be without these computer thingies. This week has made me grow to despise them. I hadn't felt like actually crying for the longest time... but that all changed when I opened Outlook Express and found that all the emails I had been saving for the past 3 years had just disappeared. It is like a diary... I guess I will never be writing that auto-biography anytime soon, and it is such a loss for future generations. What will the historians use to document these last three years of my life?

Luckily I do a lot more non-work related activities while in the office than I thought. I found a lot personal email from the past two years saved there... of course I had erased a lot of them as well thinking that they were also saved at home.

I know I have them backed up somewhere (at least those from before two years ago) but I am too lazy to try to find them. It's really sad that the world must suffer so much for my laziness.

* * *

On a similar, yet unrelated note about why computers and anything computer related sucks my butt. Just after I received a notification from the Internet security watchdog folks, letting me know that a security bug has been found in a software our servers use, I set out to update the software only to find it was too late with one of them. Those big bad hackers move fast.

That wasted a day and a half of my work time, and caused me to miss the train to Fujino which I was going to take at normal after-work rush hours just to check out how crowded it is.

* * *

Here are some of the recent "art" that has been trickling out when I have the time. I have started to branch out from nudie ladies, as they have grown tiresome. I just hope the lack of practice doesn't show Friday when the nudie model club resumes.


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* * *

I try not to use foul language on this site, but this time it is called for.

CRAP!

I just called the realtor. The apartment... my apartment in Fujino overlooking the lake is being taken! I just lost all sense of hope to have a life with any quality at all... But since I always look on the positive side of everything, I see it as a great opportunity to practice my blues guitar / harp tonight.

Scary Stuff

Although the sniper thing is obviously terrible, it is amazingly silly to me how it has "gripped the nation". I hear people in interviews from Wisconsin and Idaho talking about how they are now afraid to go outside. Give me break! I understand how people in DC and Virginia might be afraid, but for someone in Wisconsin? I would guess they have a much greater chance of being hit by a truck tomorrow than being shot by the sniper. But it all makes sense when I opened the Japan Times Friday to find a side-section about how to avoid sniper fire. It told people to walk erratically and in a zig zag motion. It told people to stay in the shadows. It told people to get behind their tire if there are gun shots near their car.

If the news is telling people how to avoid being hit by a sniper, I don't know who to blame for the crazy fears... the reporters (or their boss) or the people who read the stories and get carried away. Wouldn't it be better to have a section about looking both ways before crossing, wearing sun-screen to prevent cancer, not driving drunk, or using a condom?

Reflections on change

I wonder if it seems a little odd or even indecisive that I have, within the last few months, been talking about such things as 1) grad school to be a librarian (Information Science- Actually they do basically what I am doing at my job now) 2)Moving to the country, 3) Some other things. I think it is a little odd myself. I mean, am I really serious about any of them? I think I am serious about all of them, and yet, none of them is THE ONE. The one thing that they all have in common is that they are all change.

Two years doesn't seem so long when you say it "Two years", but seeing as how there has been zero change in where my life is headed in the last two years, it sure seems like a long time to me. Over the past few years I have thought about what I want to study in grad-school, and several options have come up... ranging from what I really want to study, but dismiss as crazy dreamy ideas (something art related), to things that are actually very lucrative and I enjoy tinkering with, but don't really want to go full-on 100% into (computer science / programming), to things that sound glamorous and I am are interesting enough to stimulate me, but I have begun to feel have little importance to me (marketing), to extensions of what I am good at now, and enjoy doing, but again probably don't really want to make a career out of it (Information Science).

I can't decide, but have settled on Information Science for several reasons, 1) I enjoy doing the work to some extent, 2) It is an extremely new field that will grow in importance, 3) I'm good at it.

Probably the biggest reason though for my settling on this, is it is what I was thinking about when the ever present urge for some kind of change grew too overwhelming, and I knew I had to change something NOW. I can't stay here in the same apartment, in the same job, in the same position (no room to move up in a company as small as mine since the only one above me now is the president).

After two years of no change, I grew to hate my job, hate my apartment, hate my whole situation. Although I have been learning all along, and can see a huge change in personality and personal philosophy (if I have such a thing) it is somehow not enough.

So why don't I just make a change? I am not really afraid, though I have doubts sometime, logically, I know that anything I (would) choose to do I a can do. I could quit my job tomorrow with no worries. I can move to the mountains with no adverse effect. So why is it such a big dilemma about if I should or not? It is part of the reason I feel such an urge to drop everything and change... I am a victim of comfort. (and I hate it). Why not move to the mountains? I really hate Tokyo, and hate the fact that someday I would like to live in a place like Fujino, but for some reason don't try it now. What stops me is feeling so comfortable with the routine of where I am now. My life is full of so many things that have so little importance, but for some reason I attach importance onto them... I love my apartment, it faces a nice river in a quiet neighborhood. I really wish it was a lot bigger, but it is not too bad for the three of us (Guri, Awii, and me). As much as I like it though, and realize that it is actually a great apartment for inside Tokyo, it is not really important... I have always been someone who can live anywhere, one of my strengths being my great ability to adapt. Why then do I put so much importance on it when faced with making a change? It's just stupid routine.

I like my neighbor hood, it is clean and small and has nice shops. Of these nice shops though, how many do I frequent? 1) the liqueur store, 2) The video store, 3) The grocery store. 4) The 7 eleven. All of them are actually places that do me more harm than good. I never stop at any of the nice looking rester aunts, because they are so dang expensive. Sometimes I go to the 100 Yen shop in Hamadayama, but usually get things I can do without. Why do I put so much importance on them... why am I afraid that if I moved I would somehow miss them? Why do I confuse comfort and routine with necessity?

One thing that makes me hesitant to move to my dream apartment (I am too young and poor for my dream house) is that I would be 1.3 hours away from Tomoe as opposed to .5 hours now. So what? She hd been gone for a year until two months ago. As it is now, I only see her on the weekends anyway, and 1.3 hours is nothing as far as train riding goes. In fact, I would probably see her more if I went to the hash or someplace else in the city and missed my train home. Another good reason not to worry about moving out to the mountains, is that I still have a place to stay in the city if I needed it.. in effect, we could even thing of it as our mountain house, and her apartment as our city house. That sounds richer than I am.

What about grad school? I am still taking the GRE and applying. If I move and then go to grad school I will have "wasted" about 500-1000 dollars in moving fees for only a 10 month stay, but I must say that I am having doubts about the whole grad school thing anyway. Not that I don't want to go... I would love it and love studying about a field I am interested in, but I can't really say it is what I WANT to do. In fact, I had been looking at the jobs I could get afterword in terms of my job now... of course they would be better, more opportunity for advancement and growth, more to learn and more people I could learn from, but if I didn't enter my job now into the equation, would I still want those jobs as much? I don't think so. How can i go to grad school without knowing what I really want to study? I know that studying anything will build value and benefit me, but to settle for something just because it is anything is not me. I deserve to do what I really want to.

Why can't it be clear like it is to people in magazines who know from the time they are 9 what they want to devote their lives too? Oh well, I guess I will have to devote my life to jumping around and changing, all the while of course I will be learning and growing in some way... hopefully closer to finding out.

Lakeview

It's a tough choice. I found two things this weekend that make it difficult to decide about moving or not. A reason that Fujino is not as wonderful as I thought is that no one is allowed to float a boat on the lake without a permit. I have to look into how difficult it is to get a permit. Even if I couldn't get one, part of the lake is in another prefecture so the same no-usage laws may not apply there. If so that is only a quick bike-ride away.

The reasons to move there anyway are in these photos. I found an apartment three times bigger than mine now, less rent, newer bath, balcony that spans two rooms, Two of the from have large picture windows facing south and both overlook... THE LAKE!!! I thought my apartment here in Nishieifuku was nice because it overlooked the river, but because of all the people walking by and looking in, or rain sometimes, or cold in the winter, I rarely open the windows. In the lake-view apartment however, there is no way anyone can walk by and look in. Even if it is cold and I have to keep the window closed, it is a clear window as opposed to the cloudy windows i have now that are meant to prevent people from looking in. So even if it is closed I can still see out.

This is the view from out the back balcony.

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Here are just some general views of Fujino.

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Downsized-(edited a little)

Tokyo - 2,187.05km2
Fujino -64.91km2

Tokyo - 5,404 people/km2
Fujino -169 people/km2

Tokyo -11,818,845 people
Fujino -10,958 people

Look at that middle statistic! How great is that!

* * *

Some photos from last weekends trip to Fujino.


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* * *

Some painting I have done... Please keep in mind that including these, I have painted less than 50 pictures in my life.


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Quality of Life

Though I didn't really think I was serious about it, moving to Fujino, in the mountains, really seems like a great idea. The only negative point is the extra half hour in commute to work.

I am going there again this weekend to take a look at it from the stand point of a potential resident. I already know that rent can be almost half what I pay now... that more than makes up for any extra transportation fees considering I never really need to go into town as it is. If I do happen to have something in town and cant catch the last train (which is 30 minutes earlier than my current last train) there are other places to stay in the city.

I have a lot of crazy ideas, but I think this may be one of the sanest crazy ideas I have ever had.

Moving Day

I saw something today that is meant to make people feel old. I don't really feel old after reading it, but it sure gives me a sense of how fast I will be old without even realizing it.

Each year the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list to try to give the faculty a sense of the mindset of this year's incoming freshmen.

Here's this year's list:
The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in
1983.

  1. They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.
  2. Their lifetime has always included AIDS.
  3. Bottle caps have always been screwoff and plastic.
  4. The CD was introduced the year they were born.
  5. They have always had an answering machine.
  6. They have always had cable.
  7. They cannot fathom not having a remote control.
  8. Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show.
  9. Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
  10. They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.
  11. They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are.
  12. They don't know who Mork was or where he was from.
  13. They never heard: "Where's the Beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel," or "DE plane Boss, DE plane."
  14. They do not care who shot J. R. and have no idea who J. R. even is.
  15. Michael Jackson has always been white.
  16. McDonald's never came in styrofoam containers.
  17. They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.
  18. Do you feel old yet? Pass this on to the other old fogies in your life.

And what have I accomplished?

* * *

I have decided to move to the enchanting town of Fujino. Tomoe and I went there two weekends ago when I destroyed my bike. (I fixed it last week for only 4,000 yen) and went back again this weekend. It amazes me that such a great place that doesn't resemble Tokyo in the least could be so close. If I had a place there, it would only take me 30 minutes more to get to work than it does now. And there is that great lake with kayak launch point.

This weekend we rode our bikes around the mountain to the "art street", which is a small area in the woods where a lot of photographers, artists, singers, etc.. live. We also stumbled upon the Japan Permaculture Center where they are "supposedly" self-sufficient. I don't know if I trust them about that, but even if they are only half self sufficient, seeing their garden and fresh vegetables is almost enough to push me off the edge. My hatred for Tokyo as a place to live has been festering for over two years now. It's just not fit for human beings I think... It can't be good for us to ride the crowded trains, or go to the crowded festivals, and breath the crappy air, and never have even one moment where I can feel alone... meaning I can have the window open and the radio on and be naked and no one will see or hear. I'm not sure I can handle seeing much more wide open natural settings without leaving it all and moving into my tent in the mountains.

Of course I wasn't serious about moving to Fujino, but the more I think about it, the greater it sounds. I live in a neighborhood about 30 minutes from the "main" part of Tokyo where all the "exciting city life" is... As it is now, I go out of Tokyo more than I go into Tokyo. Other than to buy a book, a computer part, or some bird food once a month, I feel no need to even travel in that direction since my job is in the opposite direction. Think of the money I could save by not having to travel to the mountains because I live there... not to mention cheaper rent and veggies.

Smunch in my hair

Amazing it is. Another week end is almost over. But wait! It's a holiday weekend so I have Monday off too.

Where did this attitude come from? What's more amazing... the fact that the weekend was so fast, or the fact that I am lamenting it? I'm not sure when this feeling crept up on me, but I sure know I used to go to work on Saturday, and then feel restless Sunday until Monday rolled around. What causes motivation? Is it just some chemical in the brain as the science people would probably have you believe? If so, that chemical must react with some other chemical... and if so where does that come from? I know that smoking pot is supposed to repress these chemicals, or stop their production or something. If so, there must be some other drug that promotes their growth. I think if some bio-tech company could find that they could make a killing.

* * *

Today we went to Shibuya where there was a "Hokkaido Festival". Basically it was just a bunch of booths selling the same fish and crabs from Hokkaido that they sell in the supermarket or department store. It was an average of 50yen cheaper. Being as cheap as I am, you may think that this is heaven for me, but YOU'D BE WRONG!

I used to be cheap, focusing on price, now I have learned to focus on value. Of course to some degree I always used to, and would even try to explain to my mom how driving to 4 different stores each 20 minutes apart may not be worth the ten-cent-savings over buying everything at the closest store. But I have grown even more to see the value of value.

The minute I arrived at the "festival" I realized I wanted to leave. I can get the same experience riding the rush hour train, except that at least on the rush hour train no one spills Crab Soup on you. It was just packed with people drooling over saving 20 yen for something they would never have bought anyway. Granted the grilled crab legs were almost 100-200 yen cheaper than buying them at the store, and probably even 400 yen cheaper than getting them in a restaurant, but I am sure that paying 200 yen more and being able to eat them in a calm relaxing setting may be worth the extra 200 yen... unless you are one of the rare people who can recognize the charm of standing in the middle of a busy sidewalk eating out of a newspaper. I would even rather pay 400 yen extra to eat them in a restaurant where ther is a table.

I saw one woman with 8 bags of potato chips. I wonder when was the last time she bought eight bags of potato chips... If they were less than 50yen per bag I say go for it, but I doubt that was the case. It seems so easy to make people loose any logical sense (assuming they had some) just by putting up a sign that says "Today is a special occasion" I wonder why so many businesses fail? They must not know.

We did buy a big salmon for only 1000 yen, but I really wonder if it was really what it after I carried it all around Shibuya. Probably not, considering that and the 20 minutes or so that where shaved off the end of my life by the stress of being trampled by a crowd of old ladies looking for sea-urchin rice bowls.

* * *

On the way home we stopped by my favorite pet shop for some bird seed as Guri and Awii have not had food for a week. I gave them the healthy pellets, but they would rather star than eat them. At the pet store of course all the birds eat only that. Awii too, was once fond of them. That lasted until the minute I got her home from the pet store.

No matter how many times I tell the man at the pet store that my birds wont eat that crap, he insists if I put it out, they will. I asked how many months I should starve them before that happens, but according to him one week is too long. Oops. He recommended some other seeds that I can tell will never get eaten, except my me trying to demonstrate how delicious they are to the birds, but Tomoe was there also and she is a little more optimistic than me so I also had to carry home three bags of various birds seeds. As starving as they are, I gave them the two doubtful seeds first, and as starving as they are, they both picked it up and spit them out... but you already knew that right?

* * *

I had a great dream last night. Awii flew up behind me and, as her and Guri often do, stood near the small of my back on my belt. This time however Awii seems to have been feeling affectionate because she reached around with her big feathery wings and gave me a hug. I don't remember exactly how long it was, but when she finally flew away I called to a group of friends in the other room to come see, and this time she flew right up and wrapped her wings around my neck.

It was quite a change from the times I wake up to find her sitting on my face, and later find a pile of dark green bird smunch (that means poop) in my hair.

Eureka!

Since I moved to the new Moveable Type system, I thought it would be real easy to set up another web-log for anyone else in my family. Kelly could have one, Mom could have one, Shannon and Tim could have one, blah ... But then, as I was ripping off the color scheme and cute fruit logo idea from sourjayne.com because it fits perfectly for a design I am working on (although I will use a cute wine logo... and don't ever forget I had the big sensual orange photo on my site since spring!!! I didn't steal that.), I thought as long as I am ripping off some of her design idea, I might as well steal the idea to turn the bastish net into the Cameron family web-log, rather than just Kevin's web-log. It sure can't get any worse!

I am going to look into setting this up. There are a few obstacles of course...
1) If I decide to do it now, it wont happen until next March.
2) I don't know if Kelly (who lives in Kyushyu Japan) has even gotten connected tooth Internet with the new computer she bought while back home for Tim and Shannon's wedding.
3) Tim and Shannon are probably too drunk to add anything (as wedding gifts they received 32 margarrita glasses, 12 martini glasses, and enough champaign glasses for the Chinese new year)
4) Mom just learned to use email. Before that she would type her emails on the typewriter and give the paper to my dad to "put into that 'puter thingy".
5) Tomoe already has a web-log I set up for her the other day, but she has never even looked at it yet!

Can I really count on these people to contribute to the Cameron family blog? And probably the biggest problem then would be, if they are all writing, who is reading?

The more I think about it though, the scarrier the idea sounds. Once mom figures it out, she will probably be writing 7 time more than me. Maybe I should give mom her own blog, and keep the bastish net for Kelly and me... the lost children in Japan....

Not Quite Naked

After reading more of Naked, I am beginning to feel more and more inadequate with my postings on the bastish net. Of course the main reason for making the site was just for practice with some "cutting edge" technologies that clients don't want on their site because it will look different in different browsers. Of course no one reading this should know what I am talking about since no one would even give the site a second glance if they were using Netscape 4. I also noticed that since I moved to the new system, it has fallen apart in Mozilla browsers and IE on Mac. I will get around to fixing it one of these days.

Anyway, as I was saying, the reason for making this was only to practice and keep mom and dad happy so they wont be able to complain some day to the nursing home staff that I never did anything for them. I never really expected anyone else to read. Naked however is a collection of very blog-like autobiographical stories by David Sedaris. I guess I can't really feel like I have a chance to compare... after all, some people seem to think he "just may be the funniest man alive". I must say, I would have to agree. I have laughed in the train more in the last three days while reading his book than I have since I arrived in Tokyo three (or four?) years ago.

As I was writing this, I was struck with a thought... He must have an interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air! Sure enough, he does... in fact, he is a regular on one of the NPR programs which I will have to start listening to. He has a whole list of interviews actually. I would list them all here, but I think it would be best for your to follow these simple directions.

  1. Go to the NPR Fresh Air website
  2. Copy David Sedaris' name -- David Sedaris -- from this page.
  3. Paste the name into the box above the "Find A Guest" button.
  4. Press the "Find A Guest" button.

I found later that there is also a list of other interviews here.


* * *

I was pretty disappointed today to find that the nudie lady drawing club was canceled today. None next week either. When I told Tomoe she sympathized with me, realizing that that is one of the things I look forward to most every week. Not because of the nudie ladies of course, but because I really love drawing.

It just so happens that the club I got hooked up with draws nudie ladies. This in turn causes me to draw nudie ladies in my free time. I suppose one day when I master eh nudie lady and can draw in the club with the confidence that my drawings are the best of anyone there, then I can move on to drawing other subjects while at home.

Of course there is something interesting about drawing the forbidden nudie lady of course... as opposed to a chair or an apple that is. To tell the truth, I have begun to grow a little bored with the typical nudie lady poses every model does every week. If she had clothes it might spruce it up a bit. Having a clothed lady drawing club would also save me a lot of time when drawing at home. I find that as I search through the nudie lady sites for a good picture to practice with, all the pop-ups and windows that refuse to close have a habit of crashing my computer. Rebooting it only twice each day could cause me to loose around 36 hours each year!

Cave for rent?

I haven't posted any of the nudie drawings from the last two live model sessions since summer vacation ended and the group resumed. I want to keep an accurate record of my "progress" but it is hard when I look at the drawings and think they are crap. Although, the other day another member of the group let me borrow his pastel in a pencil, and I loved it! I can't go back to pencils anymore. Bad for my wallet, but who cares I guess.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently bought watercolors and have been experimenting. I have been pretty disappointed with the results... until tonight. I made two "works" that I finally feel comfortable with... of course they leave much to be desired, but having painted less than twenty or so watercolor paintings in my life, I can't really complain. I also had a few good sketches with the pastel.

(Apparently Awii doesn't think much of my work... she shat on it twice.)

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I have some other photos from this weekend. Nothing so great, but my own sister finally looked at my site after six months, and she said she wanted more photos.

You can see Tomoe working on the bike, a little shack that had some cool artistic saw blade we noticed before we knew it was an "art town", and the beautiful lake there.

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As I drew tonight I listened to The Connection where the host was talking to a woman, who is a Buddhist monk and had spent twelve months in a Himalayan cave, too small to even lie down, in the mountains meditating. At one point she describes her typical day. Basically she woke up at 3 am, meditated for three hours, had tea and bread, meditated more, had more tea, shoveled snow from the door, meditated, more tea, more meditation, and sleep. As good as that sounds when I feel like just running away from all responsibility and my to-do list, I can't imagine doing that for 10 days in a row, let alone 4,380!

There goes the neighborhood

You may have noticed that the site seems to be falling apart... Or maybe you didn't. I am in the middle of switching over to my new system, and you may see some broken links and out-of-layout glitches.

***

I had time tonight to listen to some NPR. There was a great show about Wind Resistance in Nantucket Sound. The debate is about a wind farm being build six-miles off the shore in Massachusetts. It is something you would expect if they were trying to build an oil rig, but how can people be against helping the environment and reducing our dependance on oil?

On one hand, I agree with the group opposing the project. It will not be nice to see huge windmills when looking out across the ocean, and at night the lights that will have to be on them will probably be an eyesore. But....

As sad I feel that what is undoubtedly a beautiful coastline (I barely remember being there) will be tarnished by development off-shore as well as on-shore, I think it's just too bad that no one has the luxury to dispute based on aesthetics anymore... It would appear that that area is pretty much screwed due to global warming and rising sea levels, and dying wildlife as it is... if they really care about the environment, is there really much choice? How can they (pr anyone) say "I care... as long as caring doesn't effect my lifestyle or property value"?

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One other thing that this report made me think about is just how great the web really is... It is a topic I have mixed views on, since a lot of my clients at work really don't add any value to the web as a whole, but when I listened to this program, I was able to check out the links to sites regarding the development project, the opposition, greenpeace (who is in favor of the wind farm by the way), and just wind farms in general. I shudder to think how long it would have taken me to learn what I learned in less than an hour if, like less than 10 years ago, I had to go to the library and research it a limited collection of old books.

This also gives me hope if I were to go to grad-school to be a modern librarian. With all the data at our finger-tips now that never was there before, who knows how to keep it straight... how can we ever make it easy to access? It is easy to say the web does that... but even so, who knows the best way to structure data on the web? What about information in a companies private intra-net? I have a friend whose company sells only intra-net systems, and most of what we do at my own company, though on a much smaller scale, are primarily in-company data/information solutions.

It can only get more complicated too. I am sure that before I die we will all have wireless connections to the internet implanted in our brains. With this, besides being able to download entire texts to our personal hard drive, eliminating the need for memorization, we will also be able to transmit everything we see to someone else as digital signals that will stimulate the receiver's optical nerve area or brain stems or whatever is there... They can already do it with hearing aids as I am learning recently. Imagine having Yahoo! chat in your brain so you can communicate with anyone at anytime (provided they want to communicate). Ever wonder if ESP was real?

The other day Tomoe and I where brainstorming what it would be like to have this ability... what possibilities are there? Remember how when you were a kid you wished you could have a robot that looked like you go to school in your place? Well, if we have hard drives and internet access in our brain, as well as clones, this is possible... Teleportation? who needs it? If I have 10 clone Kevin's, some in the US and some in Japan, I can keep all but one in a state of suspended animation. The clone in Japan will of course save all his memories and thoughts, and when it is time to have a meeting in the US, all he has to do is transfer these memories to the US clone. The US clone would take over as if he as the guy from Japan. Of course w don't need clones, and rich people would be buying poor peoples bodies all the time to do "bad" things... but just think about it... the possibilities are endless. I would have a sports Kevin that is more physically fit that the business Kevin. He might also have alot of broken teeth because I wouldn't have to worry about it. I after all, I am only sports Kevin when I play football.

We would have as many lives as we have clones. If one clone was in a plane crash, the only thing that woudl be lost is the memories experienced betwen the last transfer and the death of that clone... unless of course that clone had time to send the latest backup.

Thrill-seekers could jump out of a plane, sending the last memories to the clone safe at home only moments before SPLAT.

***

I am a little disappointed that having taken a looong break from my daily NPR (and basically all news updating) I have not seen much about Is real and Palestine... I guess everything there is all hunky-dory now. Of course if I had really tried, I could be extremely informed just by checking the web, so I am just as disappointed in myself, but I will take a while this week to theorize on why the news suddenly? (or has it been a while?) stopped covering that.

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Please note that the new Comment link at the bottom allows you to not only send me a comment, but to write a comment that will be automatically viewable by anyone.

Scrapped

Some cool stuff and some not so cool stuff happened this weekend. I'll start with Sunday. I woke up early to go out to the mountains with Tomoe and our bikes. The final repairs having been made to bike on Friday (or so I thought) it was a perfect day to test it out.

Waking up early should grantee a full day of bike riding in the mountains, but (thanks to my low blood pressure for sure) I didn't actually wake up until 2 hours later. This didn't prove to be a problem since we were only planning to go 1.5 hours away anyway, and actually likes the looks of a small town (Fujino) only an hour away so we hopped off there.

I'm going to make a long story short. My bike was not fully tested and on the first uphill span, I found out the hard way that my back gear shifter was not well. Now my bike is almost officially a scrap heap.

So after ditching the bikes, we decided to hike to the top of the mountain, which probably was better for not breathing in too much car exhaust, since most of the roads around there were pretty busy. On the way back to the station we found a cheap veggie man who sold us a huge bunch of fresh eda-mame and some other goodies for dirt cheap.

Perhaps the best find was that this little town is a magnet for artists from all over the world. Many Japanese artists who lived in Tokyo fled here during the war, and it appears that many people followed. There are some big festivals going on next week so I will probably go back.

Another great find... a beautiful calm lake with beautiful mountains all around and campsites where I can launch my Kayak from. The great thing is that this is even closer than the usual place I Kayak, and the water is usually pretty rough there so I am too chicken to practice anything dangerous.

***

I have been trying to make little programming improvements to the site every now and then, and even though I learn a lot, I have decided it is plain dumb for me to re-invent the wheel and write my own system that does exactly everything existing systems do. I have finally broken down and begun porting my site into one of those other free blogging software systems. I thought I would be bored using someone else's, but actually I love it! There is still enough freedom for me to play around with the code and do things that aren't really needed, and I don't have to waste time on the basics that are needed.

I am not totally finished setting it up, but as soon as I am I will let you know.

Disconnected

I have not been able to access the Internet from home for the past 3 days, so I am doing a no-no baddy by writing this at work.

I don't know for sure the reason, but I assume it is because the credit card I had been using to pay them was canceled a couple months ago when Next Card went out of business. I had sent them five or six emails asking how to change my account, but apparently they don't read their emails. Tomoe says it's because I didn't say "yoroshiku onegaishimasu" (please be nice to me) at the end.

Anyway, it wont matter for long because I have applied for a real analog phone line, meaning I can get ADSL in a couple weeks. I am moving up to the big time now... It will be a great improvement over the 64kb I get now, and it will also cut my monthly phone/Internet fees in half!

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I finally forced myself to buy a big brush for painting yesterday... I hate being so cheap that I spent the last month trying to use the teeny tiny one I had. The problem was always that a wider one costs 1,500 yen. I found a cheap crappy one for only 400 yesterday, and luckily I don't even know the difference between a cheap crappy one and a good one!

***

Oh! I forgot to write about the big birthday bash! Anyway as you may know, Tomoe and My birthday was Tuesday. We hardly ever go out to eat, and even if we do it is to some cheap izakaya (bar-restaurant). This time we decided to force ourselves to dress up (a little) and go to someplace we would never go to otherwise. As the day went on and we tried to decide where to go, the area of Tokyo we decided on grew closer and closer from the high class areas to Tomoe's apartment (still a very nice area, but not where people expect fine dining).

It was just as well that we did't spend time and money on the train to go too far, as the city was deserted that night. The (supposedly) biggest typhoon since WWII was passing directly over us, and despite the fact that a regular storm a couple of weeks ago had much more rain, and the wind was barely noticeable, the newsman says the word "typhoon" and people get so afraid. Tomoe herself showed up in full rain gear with a hood and umbrella... I had never seen her with a hood before, let alone on a day with no rain. But it was a typhoon, so I suppose there was little choice.

Our fine dinning experience turned into a stop at a little deli in Shimokitazawa, but the food was awesome, and they had great selection. I wanted to sit no the veranda, which was covered with plastic to keep the rain out, but I didn't even bother asking, after all, even thought there was no rain, and hardly any wind, it was a typhoon.

The waitress was nice, and overly happy for us that we have our birthday on the same day, so she gave us some nice dessert for free... I think it was free, but I didn't look at the bill really. She was also very worried about having to go to school in the morning in the big typhoon. I wonder where she grew up... and where she had been all summer. I have not had so much experience with typhoons, but have been through a few in my years in Japan. The one thing that you can be sure of (besides the fact that the amount of wind and rain will be disappointing) is that the next day is always clear and sunny.

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I should get back to work.

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