I guess I should start actively promoting Mfop2 once it's done. It should have a lot less problems posting, and even if it does, it sends an automatic debug message to the sender to let them know the problem as best it can.
This will mean more people can be served without my direct help, but it also means I am taken out of the direct contact a little bit. One of the things I liked best is trouble shooting a mis-behaving post together with the user.
Anyway, if more people can use it without problems, and the registration screen is much clearer (and oh is it ever a beauty! though suspiciously similar to the MT admin screen....) I should start actively trying to get the word out that I am here. So far it has been word of mouth. It all started with Ian at Domodomo on Blogger, and Carsten's Pocket Publishing. Somewhere along the way Kurt Easterwood from hmmn... found out about it (I think it was Ian's site?) and then the registrations started flowing in. It'd be neat to map where everyone heard about it... There are people all over the world using it now. Another obvious idea would be to have a map showing where users are based.
Anyway, what made me think I need to start promoting is this article on CNN that doesn't even mention Mfop! I couldn't believe it!
I myself came across the article from a post at studio2f where Jonathan is contemplating a system similar to Mfop
All emails you send to Mo-Fo with photo attachments get automatically posted to your blog (much like audioblog). You could add a couple of keywords- or text that would get parsed by the Mo-Fo system to set categories and add captions. Of course there's some sort of authentication that still needs to be worked out- so everyone in the world wasn't sending photos and having them posted in your blog.
Hmmmnnn, I wonder how many other people there are out there that are would like to use this now... but don't know it exists and how long it will take to get to them by word of mouth alone.
Jonathan also goes on to say
Somewhere in there Mo-Fo must get some sort of per post payment. Gone are the days of great free online services paid for by IPOs. Mo-Fo would need to a) make cash or b) become a value-add to mmode/sprint vision/etc and get funded that way.
That's another thing I'd have to consider if the number of users grows... I'd have to move it to another server, but that doesn't cost so much. I have had dreams lately that this could somehow be big enough that I could quit my job now and at least be able to eat from this, thus having more time to work on it, because it's a heck of a lot more fun than real work! Of course there is no business logic behind those dreams, just dreams....
There are companies out there, I doubt they make profit off it, but who ever said business was about posting profits? The companies have more time and money to make the site look spiffy but as far as aproaches to moblogging goes, I think Mfop is top. Of course I'm a techy guy, so like to do everything myself. i.e. have everything on my own site. Maybe regular people don't mind posting and hosting at a third party site. Unfortuantly, they also have investors who pay for that spiffy site... I wonder if there is any profit... and for the advertising and promotion.
I just recieved a comment tonight about how great it was that I am doing this for free, and I agree to some extent, that it is great to have a free option, but I also wonder how much better it could be if I spent even half the time I spend sitting in my office working on Mfop instead. Even if Mfop didn't require so much work as it is now, having the time would foster more related ideas...
Don't worry though, I'm not really planning to start charging you all... just yet.. :-)
I'm getting nervous now. A week before the First Annual Moblog Conference, and I get an email saying that they need a two line summary of my presentation. I'll be real happy if I can get two lines to BE the presentation! I thought I was going to be on a "panel" about moblogging applications. But I am actually slated for a 30 minute presentation together with Hirata-san who made another service like Mfop. I hope he has something to say that will take a lot of time.
Between sneaking peeks at the poetry book I illegally posted from yesterday, and scratching Klee's head, I am working on getting Mfop2 set up in time for the conference. Maybe Mfop2 will be enough to hide the fact that I don't have anything intelligent to say.
What can I really say anyway? I'm just someone who gets his thrills making other people happy... I don't even Moblog. The people using Mfop know more and have more ideas about what Moblogging should be than I do. I was hoping to go there to get some good ideas of things to add to the program. I often find that users think "I'd like XYZ, but it's probably impossible..." as the developer, I often don't think of XYZ, but when I hear it, it sounds so obvious and simple that I am ashamed it wasn't built in the beginning (unless I did think of it and left it out because there was no budget.) I am constantly telling the salesman at work "If you can imagine it I can make it...", because he often comes to me asking "Can you do this?" rather than the right question, "How much would it cost for you to do this?".
Anyway, I have to get back to work on Mfop2, or my presentation, or reading more poetry, or whatever... no time to waste blogging.
Yesterday I was in one of the used book stores I stop by every once in a while on my lunch break. I was browsing through the painting and photography books as usual and came across a book I had never seen there before that started me dreaming. I spent forty-five minutes just looking at the pictures, reading snippets, and dreaming. It was a book about Alaska.
There are the obvious reasons why one would dream about Alaska... The last frontier, moose, Northern Exposure, sea kayaking, float planes (1 out of 50 people in Alaska is a pilot.) I bought the book and dreamed a little more before i went to bed last night. I checked out some Alaskan blogs, looked up graduate courses at the University of Alaska, read about some of the places... Anchorage of course, Valdez, Ketchikan, Kenai, Nome, Sitka, Skagway, and Kotzebue.
What is this fascination with Alaska? Is it the cold? Yes. Is the nature? Yes. Is it the last frontier? Yes. But the answer is really so simple, and I didn't realize it today until I got a package from Amazon. I had totally forgotten what books I had ordered (one of those spur of the moment, orders where i was moved by something great I read on some site somewhere). The package contained two books of poetry by Don Blanding, the Vagabond Poet whom I wrote about a week or so ago.
The first poem I opened the book to held the answer of why Alaska is so appealing.
NAMES ARE SHIPS Names! The lure in names of places Stirring thoughts of foreign faces, Ports and palaces and steamers. Names are ships to carry dreamers. Pago-pago, Suva, Java, Langour, lotuses and lava, Everything a dreamer whishes, Buried treasure, flying fishes, Cocoanuts and kings and corals, Pirates, pearls and pagan morals, Rum and reefs and Christian teaching, Gin, and jungle parrots screeching. Kobe, Nikko, Yokohama, Views of sacred Fujiyama, Bales of silk and bowls of lacquer, Dragons on a sugar cracker, Temples high on pictured mountains, Purple goldfish, perfumed fountains, Amber, obis, geisha dances, Almond eyes and slanted glances. Places that I pray I may go, Rio, Terra del Fuego, Condors soaring in the Andes, Cloying Guatemalan candies, Pampas grasses, pink flamingos, Spanish girls who call us "gringos," Llamas, lizards, smoking craters, Armadillos, alligators. Cairo, Carthage, Congo...CONGO! Names that like a savage gong go, Paris, Venis, gay Vienna, Cocottes' kisses, genius, henna, Gorgeous vicious mad Manhattan, Misery, motors, rags and satin, Moose and mice and sin and sago, Yaps from Yap or Winnebago. Every name a ship with cargo, Brass from Burmah, wheat from Fargo, Pots and prunes and precious metal Mined on Popocatapetl, Chests of carved and stained catalpa, Letters from Tegucigalpa, Linnen from an Irish shanty For a store in Ypsilanti Sailing ship and ocean liner Bringing stuff from Asia Minor, Ferry boat or lazy freighter, Folks from China or Decatur, Mozambique or Madagascar, Slav or Serb or savage Lascar, Barber, Berber or Brazillian Clad in blue or bright vermillion. Fascinating names of places Stirring thoughts of foreign faces, Ports and palaces and steamers, Names are ships to carry dreamers. P.S. There's a place I want to go, A place called Paramaribo. I don't know and I don't care Where it is or who lives there But just as sure as Fate I know I'll go to Paramaribo.
Some more daily random shots. Probably the photo series (if you want to use that cool sounding name for it) that has gotten the most comments has been my voyeur cam action when I first got the camera. I was standing in the station for a few minutes today waiting for the train, so I decided to check in on Kentaro and see how he was doing. Kentaro is much more attractive than he was a few months ago.
Awii and Klee are getting along beautifully. Klee is much braver than Awii was when I first brought him home, but she doesn't eat much, just like Awii. I guess it's normal since she's under stress and what not, but it doesn't make me happy so I hold her by the throat and pour the food in. The guy at the pet store told me she could fly, so be careful, but I see no evidence of that. So far she just jumps off of high things and the best she can hope for is a soft crash if she flaps her wings had enough.
I thought she was amazingly cute... did you see those photos?!?! But apparently no one else does. The first thing my mom said was "Is she going to be gray forever?" And Tomoe said "Why did you get the gray one?" Well, I got the gray one because Awii is white. No use having two identical birds. I also got the gray one because she is probably a she. She was the only one to come to the door of the cage when I held out my hand, and oh yeah... gray ones cost 10,000 yen less than white ones.
I may have made a little mistake. As some of you may have seen in a video (I haven't put it on the web yet because it's over 100 MB, and I haven't gotten around to editing it.) Awii appears to be male. Some friends have told me that once their parakeet discovered what Awii discovered in that video, they couldn't let him out of the cage for ten minutes before he started humping on their shoulder. They bought him a female parakeet to relieve some of the stress, but the female was dead within a matter of weeks because the (extremely genki) male wouldn't give her a break to sleep... or even eat...
After assurance from the bird guy at the Shibuya Seibu pet store (top notch pet people! I know of no other shop in Tokyo that I would trust more than the old man and his younger helper who work at Seibu. If you are buying a bird, BUY IT AT SHIBUYA SEIBU!!!! they may be a little more expensive, but they are the healthiest you will find, and they are not just locked away in a cage in the back of the shop... they have human interaction many times a day on a regular basis. There is no need to "train" them to let you touch them. I have been to over 100 pet shops in Tokyo, and nothing comes close to the Shibuya Seibu)
Anyway, after some reassurance that the male humping the female to death is unusual, I wound up buying (they are also very good salesmen at the Shibuya Seibu) a (70% sure it's female) baby cockateil. She has yet to be named... any suggestions are welcome.
So what was the mistake? Well, the excuse I used to justify spending 20,000 yen on another bird is that Awii needs a woman. Maybe they'll have some babies, and I can make a few bucks off of them (though not more than the female cost). The mistake is that when I got Tashya(?) home, I began to think that Awii is female. From the minute Awii saw the new bird, he wouldn't even let me touch him anymore. When I brought Awii home, Guri hated Awii, but Guri was not angry at me. But this... only a female can be capable of such irrational jealousy.
I may have just figured out her name! You should all feel special that you were involved in her naming! Jelly. It sounds silly I guess, but I do have an acquaintance named Jelly who is quite unique, and the name doesn't sound too extraordinary to me. It is a bird, so there is not really any fear of the being teased by the other birds because of her name. Other names I have considered include Dali, Dari, Darma (I have a thing for Dahrma on Greg & Dahrma, though I felt no attraction to the part she played in Keeping the Faith), Tashya, and Shyata.
In the course of writing this, I have built up hope that the two will get along. Awii has let me massage his head, he has answered me when I make bird sounds to him, and even better yet, they have exchanged bird sounds with each other.
The new chick is not old enough yet to fulfill his needs, and I'm told to keep her in a separate cage fro a few weeks, but so long as they don't fight and kill each other when I put her in the cage I'm happy. Oh wait!!! Just ten seconds ago Awii attacked the new bird so I had to grab him and throw him across the room. Maybe that will teach him.
As for the new bird... Dang she is soft! She is much more adjusted than Awii was when I brought him home. Awii did not move for two days. I thought he had brain damage. The new bird has tried to fly (still a little young) and whn I place her away from me, she always returns to my shoulder. She has no fear of me massaging her chin, and has even started grooming my ear hairs. She was the one bird in the batch of babies at the shop that the pet guy was pretty sure is a female, but that is not enough to make me buy her. What made up my mind though, was that when he opened the cage, and held his hand out, she was the only one to run to the door. If the bird is already used to humans, it just means less work for me, and in the few hours she has been here, I see that she was a great choice. I'm sure she is still pretty stressed out, but she doesn't seem to have any problem with a new person.
A few hours later They both seem to be getting along great. Awii is over his little jealousy spat, and where he used to follow me around the apartment, now he follows the new bird around the apartment. The new bird doesn't go many places herself, but if I pick her up and put her someplace else, Awii is sure to follow.
Also I have ruled out "Jelly" as a name. It sounds pretty stupid.
I just found my new favorite blog. I have been saying for a long time how I am so sick of Tokyo, and just want to get out to where there is such a thing as quality of life. I always doubt myself though. I doubt my motives... am I just a lazy bastish who can't take stress and life int he city? I doubt if I would be happy... would I miss the convenience of having a choice of 5 convenience stores within three minutes walking distance from my apartment? Where would I ever be able to buy my over-priced chemical laden fruit and vegetables? I question if I would get bored... what will I ever do without the comfort of knowing that, if I ever wanted to, I could hop on a train and be in a dark sweaty dance club filled with drunken gaijin looking for drunken Japanese women who are themselves looking for handsome (or even butt-ugly) native English speakers? I question if I will be as intellectually stimulated with country bumpkins surrounding me instead of the group of wannabe motorcycle gang yankees (who don't have motorcycles) hanging out in front of the pachinko parlor?
This site is so captivating though... I'll be checking every day looking for more stories about people who actually have a life.
I have been adding some photos to my galler, though I would really like to make the entier gallery look nicer before actually promoting it. In addition to such random images as those you see above, I also posted from some Kazuyo's farewell party. It was also my farewell party, as Nobu-san seemed very eager to get me out of Tokyo. I'm not really sure why considering the fact that he doesn't even live in Tokyo himself, so it's not like I'm poluting his air. Of course it could have something to do with me talking recently about taking a bike ride around Japan, taking photos, painting paintnigs, and blogging it all.
For some reason, there has been a huge increase in Mfop registrations this last couple of days. It's tough when one out of five registrations requires a little help, maybe because Mfop was down for a day yesterday (sorry everyone) or maybe because Blogger changed their API, or maybe because I make too many quick patches to add a new feature someone requests without doing proper testing. Anyway, it has taken more time than before, so less time to post semi-good photos and drawings of naked ladies.
I'm not complaining though. It's immensely satisfying to have so many people using something I made. I love the fact that what you see in this photo below, resulted in what you see here at Gen Kanai's site
Anyway, all the new registrations, along with encouragemnt I got at the blogger meeting tonight really goes a long way to keep from straying and loosing interest. I was planning to go back out to Zushi this weekend to find someplace for my Kayak, but after talking with people about the upcoming moblog conference, I realize I better get to researching all things moblog so I can at least sound halfway intelligent when I am up on the panel... It wouldn't hurt if Mfop was actually working on that day too... it would be the ultimate defeat if a conference full of moblog freaks tried to use Mfop, and it didn't work!
Speaking of the blogger meeting... does anybody recognize this? I swaer it was clear plastic with a white handle when I left the building...
The weekend of sea kayaking was a bust. I head out today to E-no-shima with the intentions of (as I have several times before) kayaking across to the Izu on the miura peninsula. Normally it is only an hour or so trip, but I should have known it wasn't a good idea when only three minutes after launching into the high surf, I had lost my fresh water supply and maps overboard. At this point though it was more fun than scary, so I kept going, out past the waves breaking over my boat, to where the waves were just big, but not breaking.
Big waves are great when I'm with someone else, and nerve wracking when I'm alone, but so long as they are all coming n the same direction, and not breaking on top of me, the kayak just rolls over top (that's what it's made to do) and I can suppress my fears.
I picked a big rock on the horizon to navigate to, and started paddling in that direction. Unfortunately, the direction I wanted to go had all the waves hitting me broadside, which does wonders to destroy my confidence and sense of balance, especially since my boat is one of the narrower, less stable models recommended for advanced intermediate and up. I'd consider myself a lower intermediate, who hasn't practiced bracing, roles, self-rescue, or even been in a kayak in over a year.
I found myself turning into each big wave to meet it head on, much safer, but facing the waves head on meant paddling straight out into the middle of Pacific. Just thinking about it brings back memories of one of the most vivid nightmares I can remember as a child. I was in a lake in Michigan (not Lake Michigan) and had just learned to doggy paddle. I started paddling and was happy that I was actually swimming, but soon realized I didn't know how to turn. By now I was in water over my head, so I surely couldn't stop paddling... I woke up then, and have never been able to forget how I felt knowing that the only thing I could do was swim my self out into the middle of the lake where I would get to tired to keep it up and drown.
The other thought that comes to mind is unfortunately not a dream, but involves swimming naked on a Pacific coast beach in Mexico called "La playa del muerte". (the beach of the dead) It was named so because so many people were swept out into the ocean each year and die. The lifeguards here wouldn't even go into the water to rescue anyone, they simply yelled from the shore "Come back in!"
Of course Julio, a friend's boyfriend, and I somehow didn't see the connection between the name and the danger until after a huge wave swept us both out from the waist deep water, within 50 meters of the shore, to where we could only make out the brightly colored umbrellas on the shore. We both knew instantly that we were going to die. I turned to find him about 10 feet further out than I was, and will never forget the look on his face as he suddenly learned his first English words "Help me Kevin!".
Like the lifeguards, the only help I could give was to yell back, "Swim back in!". And I turned and started swimming. Each wave that came would suck me down for what seemed like minutes, and each time I came up I seemed further from the shore.
My life didn't flash before me, though I knew I was going to die. I thought about how I hadn't mowed my grandma's lawn yet that week. I also thought about the fact that our bathing suits were still lying up there on the beach (it was a nude beach) and when our friends came looking for us later that night, all they would find are our swimsuit.
To make a long story short, despite the fact that I knew I was going to die, I still kept swimming for shore. This time I just put my head down and swam, never looking up to see how much further I was getting sucked out. The waves kept coming, and never any sign of ocean floor no matter how long I was under. Until...
Still swimming full force with my head down, never looking up, I suddenly felt the sandy beach scrape up against my stomach, and stopped to find myself in about two feet of water. I stood up and looked around for Julio, wondering how I would ever be able to tell his girlfriend that when he asked for help I simply turned and swam. There was no sign of Julio anywhere... then I happened to look down and find him laying three feet away in water, still paddling with all his might.
We spent the next half hour laying on the beach puking. Put on our swim suits, and began to walk back to the hut we had rented, when we ran into the girls all smiley and happy asking if we want to go for a swim. We didn't. Instead we went back to our hammocks and puked until nightfall when it was time to start drinking. Next time I'll tell you the story of how we awoke in the middle of the night to find a friend lying on the beach next to the two-story, wall-less hut saying "I can't move my back. I fell over the edge".
So as you can see, I have a deep fear of all things water, and especially the ocean, and most especially waves. Despite that, I like kayaking, and the fear out on the ocean Saturday was giving me a good adrenalin kick. Until that is, I ran into the whitecaps 300 meters from shore. They were few and far enough between, allowing me to regain my composure after each one, but every time they cashed over me, the boat would take on a little more water.
A kayak can take on water. Hard-shell kayaks have airtight compartments in the front and back that will keep the boat afloat. Mine is made of canvas, which is generally not known for being air-tight, so I use large inflatable bags in the front and back. My boat can be totally filled with water, and I can still be sitting in it, and it still wont sink. But it wont move either. The heavier it gets, the less likely I will be able to paddle against any current or wind. I could have taken out my pump and started pumping the water out right there, but that would require me to remove the spray skirt which keeps most of the water from getting into the cockpit. If I did that I would most likely get swamped even faster.
I had only been paddling for about an hour, and was not even half way to the big rock I had my sights set on. Knowing I would never make it that far without emptying the boat, I headed in to the nearest beach to drain the boat.
This is the first time i have ever really had a chance to surf with my kayak. I have seen it on films and in photos, and it looks fun, but I never had any idea. This first time it was scary as hell, and when the waves picked me up from behind, I forgot all my kayaking basics. Luckily I was still able to stay upright for the first two, and by the time I lost it, I was close enough to shore to paddle back without worrying about being able to get back into the boat.
Dragging a sea kayak filled with water onto shore is not easy, but I managed to get it out of the surf, and get the water out. I put the bow back into the water, climbed in and waited for a wave big enough to lift me off the beach so I could head back out. It's here that dan voice of sensibility started nagging me. Maybe it was because I was sitting on the beach with my line of vision only about 2.5 feet above the sea level, o i was looking across at the waves, as opposed to standing and looking down at them, but they seemed bigger than ever before. And they were breaking further out than ever before.
I sat there for at least twenty minutes, waiting for a calm period to make my move. When it was clear that none was coming, I looked up and down the beach for a calmer area. The waves didn't look so deadly off to the left, so I climbed out and dragged the boat in that direction. No matter how far I dragged that boat, the waves in front of me were always enormous, and that calm spot kept moving off to the left.
I heard a train behind me, so I had two choices. Call it quits here, pack up and catch that train home, or try to make across to Izu. The big dilemma was that if I tried to make it, and gave up later, assuming I made it past the cliff portion of the coast where there is no place to land the boat, I would be out of range of the train, and still not to my destination. I wasn't looking forward to paying for a taxi either.
If I go home now though, and still want to go kayaking the next day with the people I was supposed to meet up with, I would have to disassemble my boat here, lug the thing back home, then again at 4:30 the next morning lug it all the way back to Izu, assemble it again with hands that are already aching at the joints from putting it together this time (thanks for the arthritis dad), launch from Izu and paddle an hour or so (if the water is calmer there) to the meeting point.
Not an appealing idea, so I made up my mind to head out thought the waves and give it another go. I made it out past the breakers on shore without experiencing any of the scenarios my imagination had constructed in what has now become forty minutes of staring at the sea. That was never the major worry though, and sure enough, the waves were still breaking further out, and still found myself paddling directly into them, and directly into the middle of the Pacific.
By now, it has also started to rain. This is not a direct problem, since I am already soaked, but the big difference is that where there was once a seemingly solid wall of sailboats a couple hundred meeters further out to see, between me and Hawaii, now there was nothing. If I get sucked out to see now, there is no one there to signal for help. All the people on the once crowded shore have also started to head for dry ground as well. Except for a pack of surfers, I was totally alone.
Being the clever boy that I am, I kept going because the destination rock was closer now. I was still close enough to shore that I could probably paddle back if I was overturned, and the inside of my boat was dry giving me more control than before. Then I ran into the pack of surfers. I can't go thought them, and of course I can't go between them and the shore... And I really don't like the thought of going further from the shore...
The moment of truth arrives, and I am a little chicken bastish. I turned to shore and surfed in where I unloaded my gear, pumped the boat, and spent the rest of the afternoon perfecting my surf kayaking. I packed up the boat before it go too dark, caught the train at a station which was luckily only about a half mile from the beach, and here I am.
Did I learn anything? You bet. Surfing with the kayak is kinda kick butt. I'm a little chicken bastish. As I was walking away from the beach, the waves looked so small and harmless. I now know that even if waves look big and scary while I am in them, it's all just an illusion... They only look dangerous because I am so close. And finally, I learned that I have to find a place to keep the kayak in Izu, so that I don't have to assemble and disassemble it, nor carry a waterlogged piece of canvas through four different train changes each and every time I take it out.
Oh yeah... I also learned I am a little chicken bastish.
I'm getting a late start on the Kayaking, as I realized as I was about to walk out the door, that my camera battery was dead. It's taking an awfully long time to charge.
In case I disappear, I'm heading out from E-no-shima today and just putz around until I get to 葉山公園, near Zushi, where I am supposed to meet up with some other kayakers tomorrow morning at 8:00.
I hope I can sleep without my fan...
The Double Life
By Don Blanding
How very simple life would be
If only there were two of me
A Restless Me to drift and roam
A Quiet Me to stay at home.
A Searching One to find his fill
Of varied skies and newfound thrill
While sane and homely things are done
By the domestic Other One.
And that's just where the trouble lies;
There is a Restless Me that cries
For chancy risks and changing scene,
For arctic blue and tropic green,
For deserts with their mystic spell,
For lusty fun and raising Hell
But shackled to that Restless Me
My Other Self rebelliously
Resists the frantic urge to move.
It seeks the old familiar groove
That habits make. It finds content
With hearth and home dear prisonment,
With candlelight and well loved books
And treasured loot in dusty nooks,
With puttering and garden things
And dreaming while a cricket sings
And all the while the Restless One
Insists on more exciting fun
It wants to go with every tide,
No matter where… just for the ride.
Like yowling cats the two selves brawl
Until I have no peace at all.
One eye turns to the forward track,
The other eye looks sadly back,
I'm getting wall-eyed from the strain,
(It's tough to have an idle brain)
But One says "Stay" and One says "Go"
And One says "Yes," and One says "no,"
And One Self wants a home and wife
And One Self craves the drifter's life.
The __________ Fellow always wins
I wish my folks had made me twins.
Which fellow wins for you? When I read this poem, I realize how much I have changed in the last few years. Until about 2 years ago, I would have inserted "restelss" (as is the actual ending to the poem). Now I read it and I feel "Yes! Yes! that's exactly how I feel!" until I get to the last stanza, and realize that lately the quiet me has been winning every time. It's the root of all my complaining about work and Tokyo, and anyhting else... I have stoped moving forward and I hate it.
I've been busy working on some other web stuff, helping some people with Mfop, and Tomoe was in Tokyo yesterday for a meeting, so no Internet last night.
I'm burring myself at work again... it always seems to happen that I take on way too much. I have three programs due in the end of this month, numerous little odds and ends that for some reason we can't charge for, a big usability testing session coming up for a client in the first week of July to prepare for, and a web site that I am supposed to be managing the production of, even if I don't do the actual production work (although I made the design for it a long time ago, and the client is just getting around to moving forward) This is an interesting one though. When I started it a couple months ago, we thought it was going to be a plain brochure site with about six pages, but the client is now talking about blogs, and it looks like a perfect chance to start using Moveable Type for work.
Oh yeah, and today I was laying carpet in the new office which we will be moving into in about a week. Moving should cause me to loose a day of production time... and of course we have to move the servers that are in the office, so I have to move anything that can't be offline for a few hours to the server in the hosting center. We'll be getting a new range of IP addresses, so I have to take care of all the dns registrations and what not...
The good news is I'll be going kayaking this weekend on the Miura Hantou. It's been a long time... actually I think the last time was a year ago. I suppose I should feel that it was wasteful to buy the Kayak since I only go once or twice a year... but just owning it makes my day dreams so much more interesting.. it's still worth it.
Dang, after reading this article comparing digital and film cameras (via esthet), I find that my camera that I was so happy about until a few minutes ago is crap! I can't get a new camera for another couple years either... I have to get my money out of this one first.
And I was planning to go for a nice bike trip tomorrow with my piece of crap camera.
I never feel like I'm getting any better at my drawing and painting, but I was just going through some of my old photo collections, trying to get everything into my new Gallery, and I realized that it has been exactly one year since I went to my first "art class" which was really just a friend's sketch circle. I see now that I have made some progress in the last year. The sketch on the left is from last night, and the one on the right is from exactly one year ago.
Mom, you may not want to read past this line.
I have never had such a frustrating night at nudie club. The model tonight had an awesome body! On one hand she was way too thin, but on the other hand, but she was ripped. You could see every muscle every time she moved. The frustrating part was that I couldn't draw a good sketch of her! Usually, the models are curvy and soft... kind of the "classic" look, and I guess most people like that. For those models I of course try to do a good job of sketching, but I am a lot less impressed and so don't feel as bad if the sketch doesn't do her justice. This time however I was really "inspired" if you want to use the word, but my skill didn't live up to my inspiration. She could hold great motion-filled poses that other weaker models can't, and I usually do best with a "motion" pose compared to a "stationary" pose where the model just looks like a still life on a chair.
Maybe part of the problem was that looking at her muscles, I was incredibly aware of how my once-fit 18 year old body has grown into a pile of flab over the past ten years. It makes it hard to sketch freely when you are so aware of your own arm. I'm sure you must have experienced the feeling of you muscles screaming to do some physical exercise. Simply flexing every now and then would have satisfied my drawing arm for the time being, but I would have looked like an idiot, and again, it's hard to draw when your flexing you arm constantly like some kind of tick.
Anyway, even though I often feel like I should get more exercise, my body hasn't screamed for it so loudly in a long long time. It's gonna take a few more beers tonight to bring it down to the proper state of sloth and shut it up.
For those of you who were thinking nasty dirty thoughts when I mention "frustration" and "satisfaction" in the same post as "nudie" and "awesome body"... you perberts! Before I started this nudie night drawing thing a year ago, I thought the "artists" were just sukebe old men. They may be, but it's not as easy as it may seem to get aroused staring at the naked lady with a great body for a couple hours. For the most part 92% of the concentration is going into nailing the sketch. The other 8% is going into not scratching the itchy spot near your crotch, because you don't want anyone to think your doing something else.
I just saw on my sister's blog, that my mom wrote to her saying
I didn't realize it but I was biting my lip when I ate. Pretty soon I saw blood on my ear of corn and realized what was happening. By then the
right half of my lower lip was puffed up really big and it still hasn't gone down yet.
I finally got the photos from Saori's wedding on the site. There are a bunch more here.
The wedding was held on a little hill nearby my old apartment in Sakaide. The chapel looks over the Seito bridge, which probably could have been romantic for Saori and P if they hadn't invited so many guests. The wedding itself lasted all of about seven minutes. Had I known I wouldn't have been saving my shots.
The first party afterword lasted quite a bit longer, but wasn't a "dance into the night" ordeal as a weding reception in the US. We left the reception hall while it was still light, I went to the bride's mom's place to grab my stuff and change into my party gear for the nijikai, or "second party". This was a bit more relaxed, held in a nice Izakaya, everyone wearing jeans.
The nijikai is for friends and acquaintances who didn't get invited to the actual ceremony and reception. It keeps the cost down for everyone I would guess. I don't know how much it cost Saori and P to per guest at the wedding, but to be a guest is a couple hundred bucks. (remember, we didn't have to get them any martini glasses). It's a nice way to invite and include some more casual acquaintances without making them pay all that money.
After the nijikai a couple of us went on to the third venue, and by the fourth party, our numbers had dwindled to five. I think I was the first to notice the that groom had disappeared, but the bride was still with us. When I asked, Saori just said, "Oh, he went back a while ago".
Around 3am getting a taxi in a town like Marugame would have taken over an hour, but were able to hitch a ride back to the hotel with some stranger we met at the bar. Everyone really wanted to see the VIP room at the Sakaide Grand Hotel, so Saori let us all in where we found her new husband sitting at the edge of the bed in his underwear watching Speed Racer cartoons. The bride bringing lots of friends back to the hotel must be a Japanese custom, because the honeymoon sweet had a large meeting table with eight chairs around it.
We didn't stay long though, and I had to be up at the crack of dawn to be on a ferry to Kobe, so my story ends there.
* * *
In Japan, people don't usually give the newlyweds a bunch of gifts. (I guess they don't drink as many margarittas here). Instead, the couple gives each one of the guests a little gift bag. This is what was in mine. It's funny that I don't remember eating that cake... let's see, I left Shikoku on ferry to Kobe, while my then-roommate Kazuyo carried my suit and my gift bag back to Tokyo. Come to think of it, that's the last time I saw those cakes.
The interesting one is that catalog. When I first opened it I was angry at whatever company prepared the gift package... I'm sure Saori forked out a lot of yen for these gifts... you would think they would give her a bag without an advertisement in it! A while later someone explained to me that the catalog is actual for me pick something for a gift for myself. I haven't decided yet. It's a big deal... what if I get the folding director's chair that can fit in my backpack when I go to the park, but a couple days later I hear on the news that tea is actually a carcinogen? I'll be kicking myself for not getting the coffee maker.
Congrats to Simon Parker and his family at Simon Says - words and pictures from Simon Parker. He used Mfop to get photos up on his site for friends and family within 40 minutes of his daughter Emily's birth at 5:03 today.
It won't be long before new fathers, instead of handing out cigars, send pictures of their new-born children live to their moblogs from the birthing room. This is also news, of a kind of news that is of interest to a restricted group of people, admittedly, but worthy of record nonetheless.
Kurt's many many great moblogs of Kaika unfortunately didn't happen from the hospital, and he says
I wish I had read this when he had published it, it would have hastened the purchase of the new phone, and indeed it would have been great to have moblogged pictures from the hospital.
So, as far as I know for now, the new record is 40 minutes. (Simon tells me he would have moblogged the photos even sooner, but "my wife didn't quite agree with my version of priorities.")