Not Saddam

No time to write tonight because I was at work late because I didn't get to finish my work because I was on the Yahoo Messenger (because the phone is too expensive to USA) because my mom was trying to find a cheap airplane ticket for my sister to go from Fukuoka to USA in April because she is going to see a friend get married because the friend is in love because the guy is a stud. But any way I was calling around to travel agencies because my mom was going to buy a ticket that was outrageously expensive because it was in US dollars and because of the crappy exchange rate. I found one cheaper because I am great. I hope my sister buys the cheap one because she can use the rest of the money to buy my birthday gift, or to go to school in Sweden wich I would also like because I would go visit her, which would be cool because I used to study Swedish, and it is actually my second best language behind Japanese, because I havn't really studied German since high-school, because the Swedish girlfriend was from Sweden and not Germany.

* * *

I shouldn't write this, so as not to offend mom, but I think it is too funny, and if she can think the "Danm Beer" is cute for a kid, I am old enought to write this.

Last week a visitor came to my site from a search engine after searching for shiting pictures. Thats not funny, its just sick. But they must have been real excited when they saw the excerpt the search engine had from that page in the archive. Once again, the excerpts are from totally different entries, but taken out of context...

... (oops, I mean shiting) on my keyboard. ... Anyway, I took some pictures of her in the can, and in the end wound up getting some of the best pictures of Guri ever. ...
http://www.bastish.net/rememberwhen/000412.html - 30k - Cached - Similar pages

by the way, the pictures were of Guri in a pringles can.

Anobody Recognize This Guy?
Danm Messed Up Kid

Hmmm my site is nearing 350MB. If I'm not careful I'm going to have to start erasing clients' files to make more room. But I just can't stop sharing... Like this drawing my dad just sent me from when I was a kid. Somehow I have a feeling that I copied it from somewhere. If not, I was one danm messed up kid to be using language like that and drawing about beer.

* * *

More paintings of me, since I am the only model I can really find at 1 am when I do these. I better find my style quick. Only two weeks left.

They don't look like much, but compare them to my first water color painting back in October.

* * *

Apparently a new virus has been taking Asia by storm... and I'm glad. Today we got a call from a client saying they can't see their web site. I could see it no problem so we asked the only question needed to solve the problem 99.9% of the time. "Can you see any other site?" Which leads to the discovery that their modem is unplugged or the monitor is turned off.

This time however they could see other sites not on our servers. After a frantic time of trying to find something that would suggest that our server was screwed-up, the clients ISP was contacted and as it turns out, there had been other reports from other customers as well. The ISP blames it on the virus activity clogging up their lines. I haven't received the offending virus mail, so I am skeptical, but I am glad they have something else to blame it on other than my server.

* * *

Guri's been in quarenteen again for the last few days because she just doesn't look well. She has ecaped the grasps of death so many times before, so no reason to worry this time right?

People Of Our Caliber

I really worry if I can ever get better at painting. Tonight was supposed to be nudie night, but, as so often happens, I was stuck at work until past 10. The fact that I feel pressure to improve quickly in the painting / sketching causes me to hate it (the work that is). But I really have to question the authenticity of that "hate", since when I finally did get home, did I paint? Nope, the first thing I did was turn on the computer and start playing with the really cool web-stuff I discovered today. It's sad that no one really sees it when you look at my site, but it's there... trust me.

Anyway, the point is, I feel like I am not satisfied with what I am doing, yet strangely I love it.

* * *

Why is it I never hear anyone voicing doubts about themselves and their career and their insecurities the way I am trying to? I was talking with Cherry last night about Benjamin Franklin's auto-biography, and we talked about how no matter how interesting it is, and how "great" he was, it is really hard to believe his auto-biography because he didn't say much about self-doubt. According to him he is just plain great.

I realized then what I have been trying to do on the bastishnet. Although I obviously don't write the inner most personal things, I try real hard to push the envelope of how personal I get, especially in things that make me look like an insecure looser. Although I don't notice it much without focusing, and it may not seem so "open" to anyone reading, but I look back a couple months ago, and realize that I was too scared to write half the things I write now.
Anyway, I forgot my point. But I think it started with an email I got form yet another reader who, for some unknown reason, find my site interesting even though I don't' know him and the site is only about ME.

Oh yeah!!! I remember now! I was going to talk about how good it feels to hear Tomoe's doubts and anxieties about her new job. Of course I feel for her and hope she doesn't feel too much anxiety and stress about how fast she picks it up, and if she is living up to the expectations, but on the other hand, I'm real glad to know that I'm not alone. I'm especially happy to be able to compare myself to someone of her caliber. Maybe only great people like us feel this anxiety. I know it's not true, but pretending makes me feel fuzzy.

My Curse

I was attempting a self-portrait last night as I watched survivor videos. It turned into a portrait of Tom Kriewall though... don't you think? (at least that's how I remember him)

* * *

I went out tonight with a friend from the hash whom I haven't seen in a long time. It's always good talking to her because she, as a small business owner, and mother of a newly-wed daughter (congrats Oo-la-la! --yes, her daughter's name is Oo-la-la) almost the same age as me has a perspective that I can appreciate... because it is totally different from mine, and Tomoe's, and most of the other people I hang out with. I always learn a lot about myself when talking to her.

For example:

Tonight's conversation, like many conversations regardless of who it is with, somehow turned toward the topic of money. Talking to Cherry (yes, her name is Cherry) I finally figured out why other people have noted that I often say "It's too expensive for me". It's not that I'm poor. I have never not had enough money to buy whatever I want since I started working, it's that I am miss-expressing my thoughts. I really mean "I can't justify the limited value that comes from purchasing that product and the minimal benefit I will gain from it with the expenditure of funds that can be used to purchase products and services that have more value and meaning to me." It's just easier to say "It's too expensive for me."

But I already knew that. What I realized tonight, is that the reason I can never justify the expense of most things, is that I am cursed with a tendency to over analyze it. No mom, I am not just cheap like you, although you started me on the road to developing my curse. I have this terrible tendency to look at not only what it costs, and if it will make me feel happy at the moment or not, but also why I feel that it will make me happy. And then to take it a step further, what influenced me to define the effect I gain as "happy". In most cases, I can't find anything that justifies the feeling of satisfaction. Usually I come down to the realization that it is just generally considered by society at large as "a good thing" and I witlessly accepted it as so.

Sometimes I really wish I could stop that. But in my own defense, I am not a hopeless cheapskate. For example, tonight, in the attempt not to bring up this topic, I ordered a draft beer instead of a bottled beer. Both taste the same. Any difference is psychological, and for people who haven't realized that yet I don't want to ruing their placebo pleasure, but a draft beer usually costs a dollar or two more, and has 1/3 less beer in it. See? I saw two dollars worth of value in not bringing up the topic. It came up anyway.

I also like talking to Cherry about Tomoe. It's a lot of fun to hear her take on Oo-la-la's relationship with her (now) husband. She probably wont like me to say so, and Tomoe wont eaither, but I often wish Cherry was Tomoe's mom. Not that I don't like Tomoe's mom, but in the past Tomoe's mom has not been so crazy about me. Of course Cherry wouldn't be so crazy about me if I was dating Oo-la-la either.

I used to talk to Cherry a lot about work and business topics, because she is someone I can look up to in that she runs her own small business with her husband. Since the last time I saw her (a year ago?) though, my entire outlook has changed. I have become much more like (but not "like") the people I used to complain to her about... the employee who doesn't care about their job, and doesn't "live for it" in a sense. Although I still care about my job, I have since grown older and wiser and realized that I was thinking and acting as though I was the business owner, even though I had none of the potential benefits (or risks) of the business owner. I used to devote way more time to thinking about and worrying about the company I work for than I am receiving compensation for. Now I am much closet to a "salary man" in that I am going in 9:30 to 6:00 and leaving it at the door (as much as I can) when I leave the office. Now actually the other people I work with are much more dedicated to the company than I am. The difference of course is that I generally get much more done in 8 hours than they do in 12. I also am probably not as reliant on the company as they are, since I would have no problems if my position no longer existed tomorrow.

Still it's interesting to me to see how much my ideas about work and career have changed in just one year.

Of course there is much more I could mention, but I can't fit three hours of cnoveration into twenty minutes of writing.

* * *

I'm sure no one went out and downloaded the program I talked about last time, but I still feel that after inadvertently promoting that program, I should also promote the better program that I found the next day, also on sourceforge. It's still in it's development stage, and I have spent a couple hours fixing bugs, but it is much more intuitive in the interface and flow for non-programmer types. And even for me.

When looking at it as a programmer, I am partly blinded by my own role in creating similar applications. I look at the major value as "something cool and fun to make and play with". I often forget that many companies pays thousands and tens of thousands of dollars for similar systems. There must be value somewhere. Of course I do also see the business-value. After all, there are enough things for me to play with without fixing the bugs in this, but I downloaded it because it is something we desperately need in the office.

(note: While searching for the link to dotproject, I stumbled across a couple more systems that have features that I also want, so may be even better. It's difficult to decide which is best, so maybe I should just take the functions I want from each of them, and make my own all-cool system!)

Gettin Organized

Too much really to write about so I am overwhelmed and will write nothing. Actually, I have that problem often. I have too much to do on my to do list, and I wind up not knowing where to start so I just sit there. It's time to pull out coach Dietrich's wisdom.

The problem with you seminary guys is that your too dang smart! When you don't know what to do you don't want to look stupid and do the wrong thing, so you don't do anything. Goldangit! Just hit someone! That's why your all so good at track. The only thing you have to know is run fast and turn left!

It's a little different in that I am not "not hitting" any of my projects because I don't know what to do, but that advice still comes to mind.

* * *

I may have found the fix to this little problem of not knowing what to do. I have been unusually un-busy the last too days at work. Sure I have a million little things to take care of, but when I get this much time between deadlines, I like to just surf and learn. I spend a lot of time checking out other peoples programs and seeing how they do what they do, downloading new modules that look interesting and solve some of the problems I have had in the last few months, and checking out sourceforge.net/ for any nifty open source stuff I can use. This time I found zentrack, a web-based project management software in php. It's pretty basic in most ways, but it is a great find for me, since for the past two years, I have been making most of the functionality in this software from scratch, for use in our office, on a "do it when you have free time" but "by Friday" type of schedule. As a result, all the different "systems" are all separate and very un-useful.

The system is obviously made for web-application savvy users, and I have some real doubts about being able to implement it in our office, but at least three of us will be able to handle it. If I think it is too complex for "regular" users, it must really be too complex. In a recent big application I made, I built in all the cool functions I would need, and then before presenting it to the client, we went through and cut about 60% of them from the interface, to make it as simple as possible, thinking there is really no way to not understand what was left. The schedule had absolutely no time for user testing, so we agreed to make the client the user test, and that we would make adjustments as the need became apparent. It still amazed me what a lot of people can't do even with extremely clear simplified directions (written by our own village non-net savvy person after hours of one on one training). One of the major problems of course is that the client thought there would be zero learning curve. They expected it to be as easy to use as excel. In fact it is much easier as far as I'm concerned, but they seem to have forgotten that they also had to read a book to learn excel.

Anyway, It only took about an hour to install and configure (it took a while to realize I had to upgrade php on our server), and now hopefully we can do what doesn't really get done, and keep track of everything that is going on. The company doesn't have a project manager, and everyone is basically supposed to manage everything that comes to them. This usually results in a lot falling through the cracks as you can imagine. I rather enjoy the project management aspect of web projects, and would love to move to that role, but as always happens, there comes a time when we need to make money, and (like the last two months) I am filled above capacity with only programming / server work. No time to make sure everyone is in sync.

I know adding a new system like this wont really help that, but hopefully it will help speed up the clean-up process that takes place once the deadlines are done, and I get a chance to figure out what is going on in all the other neglected areas, smoothing all the little goofs that happened because no one was really paying attention at the time. At least maybe all the projects notes and history of who did what will be in one place.


* * *

I have also installed that system into my own provide little space to help me keep track of my own to-dos. The paper list in a daily planner has never really worked for me, because it is not flexible enough to edit and insert. Now I will never forget those important things i have to do each week like clean my bathroom (the deadline is Feb 23) and feed the birds (deadline March 4).

* * *

I have been simplifying my aspirations for what I will submit to the exhibition next month. I always seem to get these crazy ideas to make something cool, and then reality hits. I was going to make a nice little painting based on Chicken Truck, only it would be "Guri Truck". The original sketch turned out great. In order to push myself to the limit, I included a great looking old time pick-up truck, driving across a beautiful mountain landscape bathed in early morning sunshine, with a huge "Guri" riding in the back. When I started painting though, I remembered that I'm not really so good at painting landscapes yet. Add to that a truck, and then a giant parakeet on top of that, and I don't stand a chance.

Instead I am going to do a nude portrait of myself with a well-placed semi-giant parakeet to keep the rating down around PG-13.


Wasted another weekend sleeping. I decided to take a little nap today at 6, and didn't wake up until past 9. That together with the fact that I slept till 3 yesterday doesn't sound good. For the record though, I went to sleep at 4 both Friday and Saturday nights. I'd love to sleep earlier and wake up earlier, but it is so hard to justify "wasting time" sleeping when 2am rolls around and I am not tired. On the other hand, it is so easy to justify wasting time sleeping when 9am rolls around.

* * *

Today I made a point to wake up early so I could get over to Ueno to visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, which I have been wanting to do for some time now. The problem of course is that the museum has crazy hours. They close at 5 pm. This is fine if you live next door, but what about regular people like me who live over an hour away? By the time I get up at noon, get ready and get over there, I would only have 3 hours before it closes. At 1,300 yen for a ticket, that's not much time.

Anyway I woke up early this morning and made it out there by noon. I feel like a fool for worrying about not having enough time to spend there. In fact, there is no real set exhibition at the museum. It is a bunch of rooms that get rented out by other groups for their arts and craft shows. There actually is one rotating exhibition, but from the brochure I couldn't imagine that it would be worth paying 1,300 yen to see furniture.

Anyway, the extent of the art I saw today was Tokyo grade schoolers', Tokyo grade school teachers', and one fine arts high school graduation exhibit. The good thing about this is that it gave me a lot more confidence to show my own painting in a few weeks, seeing as how much of what I saw today looks like at about the same level as mine (I'm not talking about the kids' stuff). In fact, I noticed that when a not so good painting is surrounded by better paintings, and in the context of an exhibition, it looks much better.

One discouraging thing was that some of the kids' stuff kicks mine works butt! Our technique is pretty much on the same level, but their "artistic vision" seems to be light years ahead of mine. I probably should have their names to give credit for these. If you click on the "Huge" ling for each picture, you should be able to see the name next to the paintings.


I'm gonna have to do a lot better than this for the exhibition...

* * *

Had a good meeting this morning. I didn't do anything, just listen to the salesman sell one of my creations, and sit there in case there are any questions that require my "technical expertise". What made it a great meeting is that until now, "the project" has never really seemed complete because there is so much I want to add to it and change but the original client doesn't have the money. But listening to the presentation, and seeing the new probable client's reaction, I finally felt some closer. It is good enough the way it is, in fact it is pretty awesome. Every point he raised was covered, either by a function already in the program, or a function I originally built in but left out of the interface for simplicity's sake. All that is left to do is build it into the interface and turn it on. Seeing it presented in a nice neat presentation is a lot prettier view than I am used to also. All I really see is the code, and the html, and the places that I regret not having "done it this way instead".

* * *

Got a chance to see a nudie woman tonight too. I had been going through nudie withdrawal because I haven't been able to get to the nudie club for a few weeks now. I became an "official member" tonight so that I can participate in the exhibition. It's really weird. Even though I have been going since June::07::2002, tonight is the first time people really seemed to show an interest in talking to me. All of a sudden they are acting as though we had just met. I thought I was just weird or scary before, but I guess that it's just the whole membership thing.

As for the drawings, I've done better in the past, but I haven't drawn a nudie lady for several weeks so I was a little rusty tonight.


I wish I could just make up my mind about hating work or not. Tonight I was at work until 10:30 and I actually liked it and it made me feel good. If I hated being there so late it would be so much easier to leave. Of course I know that it is just some psychological thing about making myself feel important, even though most of the work I was stuck doing late is stuff a reasonably intelligent monkey could do (although it seems quite hard to find a person to do it in my office). I also think one of the things that makes work more fun now is that all the deadlines are crashing down on me. At work I always feel like I'm surfing and I'm usually just a few feet ahead of the wave, but for the next week it will be catching up and crashing on me and then come March 1st, I will shoot ahead, and then it will get boring again, and I will complain again, and then at the end of the month it may pick up again.

Anyway, I have a meeting tomorrow at 9:30 so I have to be in the office at 8:30 so I have to get up at 7:30 so I have to go to bed.

Google Craziness

When searching on google for kumiko pillow, my site comes up as about number 9. The description of the site as it appears on google is

... Of course it could have been the power of Kumiko's magic massage ... She sits next to the pillow (sometimes right on the the pillow next to my face) and screams and ...

I really want to see the face of the person who excitedly clicks on that link to find that "Kumiko's magic massage" is referring to a trip to the mountains where a friend hurt his knee and Kumiko massaged it for him, and that the "person" who was "sitting next to the pillow (sometimes right on the pillow next to my face) and screaming" was actually Guri, and that was from an entirely unrelated story.

I am making a mental note that the best way optimize a web-site for google, is to include a blog that talks about as many different topics as possible. And make sure that any single phrase in the body of the blog, has wild meaning when taken out of context in connection with any other phrase on that page.

Other great search phrases (not necessarily google) that have caused people to stumble onto my site in the last 12 days,and really make you think twice about the true value of the Internet include those below. I didn't have the time or inclination to find out what my ranking is on most of them. I assume it's pretty low, and it really amazes me that people didn't find what they were looking for before they came to my site. But anyway...

i stepped on her
attractive transsexual
shinjuku strip club
cave for rent
apealing websites (no suprise there)
lavender underwear (I'm #7)
fish that change from male to female natuarlly (I'm #1 BABY!!???!!?)
cairo naked massage
shaving habits of french people

* * *

The total offerings collected by my church here in (actually way outside of) Tokyo was about $49,500 for this year. I am just curious as to what the yearly offerings are back home at St John's. I can't say that I had never noticed before how huge and wasteful the church building seems... the heating costs alone must be an enormous waste, but I notice it even more after being in Japan for so long and being exposed to the fact that people don't really need huge cavernous houses and churches and offices. I'm sure they're not rolling in money either, and that the pastors wouldn't mind a little raise... I know that it is not only based on the offerings of the congregation, but still recognizing that the money given is wasted on something like having a "cool" church building must make one want to give less. I wonder how many years it would take to break even if the church paid to have that huge high celieng covered with some tiles at normal ceiling height. And I'm just talking about visible savings to the congregations budget., not environamental savings.

Of course the church here has the same high ceiling, and it's the only building around that is like that. It's (not?) funny how they try so very hard to make it as "American" as possible.

* * *

In case you haven't yet, you should check out the spiffy cool new design I set up for my little sister's site. It's getting to be depressing that I make everyone elses site look good, and mine is just... well....

Cute kid

Still feeling as though I didn't explain well what I meant about why I am interested in making a career change to an art / design related field. It sounds like I hate my job. That isn't true. As I said, I like programming and find it interesting. It pays well, and I don't have a real problem doing it now. I do, however, realize that in the future, I do not want to keep up with the lifestyle I am living now, where last night I was in the office until 10pm. If I know I will want to change that in the future, I had best get started now.

I think it is extremely possible to continue programming and making web-sites, and still work many less hours. Of course I would not expect to get rich but that's OK. I could do that, and not feel too bad. But why should I? If I think I would rather do something else, why not try it?

As for the whole idea of not liking the fact that I am making web-sites for is a little misrepresented too. Today I went to meet a friend who I am helping out with his business site. He imports medical devices from the US that make a real difference for people with hearing disabilities. I have learned about so many things that I never would have known existed, and I can feel confident that (most) of my work there is actually improving the world, as opposed other sites (which will remain nameless) I work on that... well...

That's all I wanted to say.

* * *

Have you ever wondered where law enforcement agencies and hospitals buy their restraint equipment? Neither did I. That's why I was so fascinated to find a catalog for this Humane Restraint. There is some pretty cool stuff in there, such as locking leg braces that can be worn beneath clothing. The brace prevents the restrainee from running or kicking, yet allows them to be taken inconspicuously aboard an airplane. Their version of a "straight jacket" is called a "Humane Jacket"... lots of interesting stuff in there.

* * *

I have been going through my computer to clean it UP! and backup what I don't want to loose to CD. I came across a lot of old email backups from a few years ago, some "projects" I had started and never finished, and these pictures...

* * *

I don't know how reliable it is, since they dont cite the studies, but I found this at The Center for a New American Dream

Recent scientific estimates indicate that at least four additional planets would be needed if each of the planet's 6 billion inhabitants consumed at the level of the average American.
Tonight's contribution (3 am)

I didn't realize people were really reading my site. Jim responded to my post yesterday however, and I started to feel self conscious about the fact that what I write is not always well articulated and thought-out (actually what I am writing about is very well thought out, but when it comes to writing it all in ten minutes I fall short). I think I have a pretty good excuse, in that I just don't have time to nit pick about everything I write, but I suddenly feel an urge to clarify.

To write everything I am thinking, I would probably crash your browser, so I will clarify based on Jim's comment.

What exactly do you want to gain from being an artist?

What I want to gain from doing something that I think I will enjoy more than my current job (or anything else I can think of) such as being an illustrator, art teacher, graphic designer, or some other art related field, is not coming home at night feeling as though I have just wasted a day because what I did all day didn't gain me anything. From doing a job that has no distiguishable value to me.

How is that different than my job now?

1) The job I am doing now has no distiguishable value for me. The only value for me I can see from doing my current job is that I can get better at it and become more of an expert, which will make me more valuable in the future. This true of any job. But the deeper I get into that, the more I have to rely on that expertise. Other than that there is little value to me.

Yes the Internet does have value to me, but I can live without it. In my job however, I am making web sites that I would never look at if I didn't make the site. I don't care about what they are selling. I'm not buying. I would never optin for any of the mailouts I send. I would never register for any of the campaign sites I create. I sit in meetings and think "Who cares?!!?". I see lots of the value for the client, but that doesn't translate into value for me (getting paid doesn't count, because I can get paid at other careers too).

I was once fascinated by the psychology of manipulating people to buy things they don't need (marketing). I now see how ironic that is since i am a marketers worst nightmare. I look at ads and think bullpoop!. I don't believe it and I don't want to hear it. I wont buy it. It is because of this that I have ruled out marketing from my list of career choices, although I still find it fascinating. I would much rather teach other people how not to be fooled.

All of this I learned when a few months ago, disatisfied with my job, I was getting ready to apply to grad-school for Information Architecture. It dawned on me then that if I am going to devote a lot of money and time to get good at something, it had better be something I really want to get good at for more than just the sake of being good.

2) A job doing something art-related can have value to me (even if it was an illustration for a product I would never buy) because I feel immense pleasure and challenge from drawing, and now from painting. In contrast, I feel only interest when programming. I don't hate it, but not hating something is not a reason to devote your life to something.

It seems that you're already drawing and painting *a lot*.

Yes I am, but not enough to satisfy me. I want to paint more and more. I can't believe how wonderful it feels. Even when I feel too tired, and start only because I feel like I have to to get better, as soon as I pick up the brush or the pencil, I can't put it down until I force myself to go to bed at 3 am so I can get up for work.

Even doing it *a lot* is not enough to progress at the rate I expect to progress at. That is why I feel the need for art schooling. Although I can learn it alone, as I did programming and web-stuff, I think I can learn it much faster with help, as I could have programming and web-stuff if I had someone with experience around me when I was learning. I find that the one thing I am envious about Tomoe with her new job at GE, is that she gets to take one of the (supposedly) best training programs in the world.

Do you want to become rich and famous, or just be better at it? I mean, 'better' is such a subjective thing, anyway.

I wouldn't mind being rich of course, but it is not a goal. I don't want to be famous, but I want to be known as a professional. And yes I want to get better at it. I want to be good enough that I can make enough to live and be someone that a client would come back to for repeat business. I also want to get better in that I am always learning something I didn't know before. This is the same as my goal in web-related work. And so far in the web work I am fulfilling all of them.

Your work that I've seen on this site is honest and interesting. There's no affectation or pompousness.

Thank you.

I'd say, just keep doing what you're doing and don't worry about it.

I agree, but doing what I am doing now includes worrying about it, which causes me to strive to move forward, and get better, and gives me incentive to do things that may be scary, such as leave a paying job for an uncertain future if I should so decide.

If it's technique that you're after, go study that.

I do. And that's what I want to go to school to study if possible. I'm just frustrated because it takes so long.

If you're looking to put direction and meaning into your life, I'd say go study Accounting or Law or something more mundane. Those things are way more quantifiable in terms of your being a success.

This would be no different than the programming. Both of them are interesting, great brain candy, and would pose a challenge, but I have no personal interest in them.

As for success, that is such as subjective term. I don't see anyway to achive success in those fields, just as I see no way to achive success in my current job. It took me a while to realize that I have been mistaking other people's idea of success for my own idea of success. I now realize that my current idea of success will be to have a job that I don't regret every day, and a family that I can spend time with, and the freedom to live in an environment I do not despise. This idea of success most likely rules out high salary, as I do not want to work the hours I work now, and I do not want to work and live and raise a family in a dirty city.

Maybe it's all my dad's fault for setting a bad example and having a job that allowed him to have the summers off and go on month long vacations with the family. I guess I can blame all my troubles on my parents.

For now, write, paint, draw, discover, look, remember, consider, think... Art in any form is basically about letting people come to know your own peculiar perspective on the world by what you put in front of them somehow.

Thank you, I will. And I will continue to worry and be stressed out about it, until I find the courage to free myself.

Need for Speed

It must be that time again... or maybe I just have too much time to think today, but compared to last week I seem to be spiraling down down down into one of my regular depressions. Again it is for the same reason, namely that I don't recognize the change that is happening in my life, and therefore feel as though I am simply standing still.

I was checking out Art / Illustration programs in US schools, and although I can definitely afford it, there is that big voice in the front of my head saying, "You will never be able to succeed! Don't do it! Resign yourself to playing with the web because you already have a good start in that field!". Makes sense? Not if I think it about it calmly and cooly. After all, three years ago if I had thought "I want to be a web-developer" I would have seen no way to make it happen, and it would have seemed even more impossible since I could barely use a browser. Of course three years ago I was three years younger.

I saw a documentary last night about an art contest in Japan, and they profiled the lives of some of the winners of the contest. All of them were making a living off of something art related, and two of them didn't even start painting until they were in their 30's. They weren't rich, but I don't worry about that. I do however worry about not making any money.

One of them was a carpenter, and was afraid of the same thing before he decided to paint full time (after many years of practice of course), and in that sense I should feel in a better position because even if I couldn't get work as an illustrator, I always have the web to fall back on, and there is such a grand field as web-design.

Looks like not much of a dilemma, and it's not really, but I want to start moving toward it NOW. Sure I paint every day and might be getting better, but I want to go faster. I am looking for art schools in Japan, that I could go to part time, but then there is the matter of that pesky little Japanese test. I unofficially (in the privacy of my own home) passed an adequate level a few years ago, but having been concentrating on web-crap for the past 2 1/2 years, I am afraid to find out how much i have forgotten. I know it's a lot. This means a year of studying Japanese in my free time instead of practicing the painting, in the hopes of passing that test which allow me to take the classes. Assuming I can get the application in for that year, I wont even be able to start moving forward for another year. Miss that deadline and it's 2.

Of course there are other ways to learn to paint and illustrate, such as self study, but I tried that with programming and web-related stuff. It's easier to study this on your own I think, because of the wealth of information on the web itself, but the going is incredibly slow without anyone to show you where you are screwing up and what you could be doing differently. Sometimes a challenge is good. Sometimes a challenge just wastes time.

To make things worse, I spent several hours tonight working on a practice painting for the exhibition next month, and, although I expect don't expect it to be perfect, it looks too much like crap.

* * *

On a lighter note, Awii jumped under the shower by herslef today. Usually she comes in an sits on my head while I shower, and if I put her on my hand I can sometimes convince her to go directly under the shower head. Once under there she seems to like it, but has never expresed a visible desire to go under there. Today though, she flew in, landed on my shoulder and ran right under there.

Chicken Truck

I didn't realize how soon the exhibition will be. I have one month to become a great painter in time to be discovered. It's sad to see that although my ability to handle a brush has improved (although not much as you can see from my quick sketch of Blind Boy Fuller) in the past 20 some years, my imagination has gone to pot. I wonder what inspired me to create "Chicken Truck".

* * *

It may look to some people like I am loosing steam in the upkeep of this site, and rather than having thou courage to just come out and say "I quit", I am deliberately posting content that will drive anyone who may read this site away. Nope. But still, I am going to post, once again, the results of my weekly trip to the supermarket. This is mostly for future enjoyment... maybe 10 years from now I will get a kick out of seeing what I bought back then (now). Or maybe somebody out there would just like to know what things cost in real life Japan.

Category Price in JY Price in USD (based on 120yen = aprx $1.00) Item Description
Cereals and Bakery
Cereals and cereal Products 1,680 14 5kg bag of rice (should last 3-4 weeks)
Dairy 100 80 4 Pieces of Cheese
Bakery Products 158 1 8 pieces of bread
Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs
Poultry 356 2.97 1 pkg chicken liver
1 pkg chicken gizzards
Eggs 178 1.48 10 L-size eggs
Fruits & Veggies
Fresh Veggies 680 5.67 Spinach
Green pepper
1/4 Chinese Cabbage
Other Food at home
Junk Food 250 2.08 1 can Pringles
Soup 228 1.90 1 quart container of pumpkin soup
Bean products 446 3.72 2 pkg natto
2 pkg tofu
* * *

I went out to dinner and drinks with a client last night. I love getting a chance to speak with them about non-work related topics. It makes it so much easier to work with them. Although that may not be the case in many peoples jobs, I'm in the business of creating things that these people end up using, and when I create something, like a program or a web-site, every extra bit of motivation I can find to make it just a little better really helps. If I know the person I am making it for (and am on goods terms) I am onehundred (based on very scientific calculations) times more likely to put in the little extra effort beyond the contract, and this makes everyone happy... except my boss because improvements that we could charge for slip by as included. This is not a concious decision on my part, but i guess it's just a natural side effect.

Gone Away

No more pictures of birds. That should make some of you happy. Tomoe left for Osaka today and she doesn't have Internet access there so there is no need for so many bird photos.

Instead, I'll keep loading the site with paintings. I will be having my first exhibition in March or May I think. The nudie lady drawing club rents out a gallary for a couple days and we get to display there.

* * *

Like I say, Tomoe is gone to Osaka now to start climbing the corporate ladder. At some time a year or so ago I would have envied her. Now everything they tell her about how she will be rewarded for her hard work, and how satisfying it will be to devote 120% of her life to the company just sounds like a load of crap.

I do envy the chance she has to learn, but I'm glad it's not me. I can't even manage to learn all the things that present themselves to me with my tiny little going nowhere job. But I still have time to try to learn other non-job related things too, like how to make my backgrounds and brush strokes look more even.

I just missed the application deadline for Musashino Art University here in Tokyo. I checked their web-site about a week after the deadline. Dang.

Living The Good Life
* * *

This has been a month of excess in which I've been living the good life. First Tomoe and I went out for dinner on Dad's credit card, spending 3 times more than we ever would have, and now Friday night we got a chance to spend the night in one of Tokyo's most expensive hotels, The New Otani. Once you get over the wastefulness of it all, the enormous amounts of energy it must take each year to heat and light such a huge building, all the cheap (in quality) disposable toiletry goods that going to the landfills each year, it is clear that there is really nothing to it. Without all that it would just be a campground.

It's always interesting to see though how the other half lives though. In this case, Seb was staying there on his company's expense account, and we missed our last train so forced him to sleep on the floor of his own room.

Everyone hears how crowded Tokyo is, and how small peoples apartments are, and how space is such a rare commodity. It is of course with 5444 people/km2, but when you see hotels like this, it's hard to feel sorry for Tokyo. It's really amazing to see how huge this place was, and how much empty space was wasted to achieve an illusion of quality. How any four member households living in a tiny, cramped apartment complex could benefit for a more well thought out city plan that actually uses space like that.

I can't complain about everything though. I did get a great view of the Tokyo's light pollution.

* * *

There is very serious talk now of going to Spain in May for Seb's wedding... Time to start researching campgrounds.