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28Sep/060

Jet Lagged Hero

So I've arrived back from Japan.

Cool points:

People: Josie + Scott, Christine, Grant, Mike, Aaron and Denise are pretty awesome people. I'm not sure I made the best impression on those I didn't know (really everyone except Josie), but oh well, it was fun :).

Food: Izakayas have Great food, fun atmosphere even though we were there during the less crazy times. Scott claims there aren't any izakayas in Seattle. I am currently investigating to hopefully prove otherwise :). So far, it's looking like a big fat maybe. Yakiniku is yummy good. Fry your own meal is cool. The beef they have for these things is super great. We had a poor unfortunate vegetarian with us, who I felt bad for almost everytime we went somewhere for dinner. Noodle places, bakeries, and everywhere else seemed to have higher quality food than in the US (with like one exception). I think it was also cheaper too.

Karaoke: Holy awesome music collection + unlimited drinks = super great blast... x4! Let me put this in perspective... Josie has over 1400 tracks which is awesome. They had probably 5000+ in 1/3 of one book, and probably at least 5x that amount of material if you include all the japanese songs. While I didn't partake of the drinking (oh coke starts to hurt too after that many...), it was a really fun atmosphere.

Ghibli museam: Really super awesome spinning animation model. It's like animation flip books except 3d, and they spin it really fast and turn on a strobe light, and it was super great. Aardman exhibit was pretty cool. Giant Laputa robot on top of the building was super sweet. Special showing of a short film they only show at the museum (!?).  I think they've done on the order of 8 or 9 of them now.  There were two I really wanted to see, but probably will never get the chance to. The gift shop was awesome and would have sunk a hole much deeper in my wallet if I had less self control.  The giant cat bus play room was for elementary school and younger kids only. Bah humbug!

Tokyo Game Show: Smaller version of E3, more fan oriented, more booth babes that occassionally do weird little cheer-style dance numbers, awesome cosplay, and fewer carpets... = good. I would have survived not going, but it was sweet to see some of the Japan only companies. The cosplay I think was better than I've seen at Comic-con. All the costumes tended to be better in my opinion.

Shibuya, Shinjuku, Akihabara, Ginza: Cool places to bum around. There is good food, great shopping, super sweet train system (similar to London's but better in most every way).

Down sides:

Clothing is insanely expensive. Though a few things were pretty cool, it all was crazy expensive (e.g. $80 min for shirts, $140 min for pants). Also those people who actually tried anything on could find stuff that fit. That is too bad because there was some frickin awesome goth girl clothing that Josie was looking at in this place called Good girl, Bad girl. I mean wow. Oh well.

Occassional sewer smell. Only really bad in a few places.

    General smokyness. It wasn't actually too bad for the most part. There was one arcade that was hard for me to deal with, but the rest was ok. The bars were somewhat eh, but generally speaking the fun made up for it. Besides, I've experienced much worse.

    More good stuff:

    Another interesting thing is the generally great feel to the environment. I love all the natural stuff in Japan. Very little vegetation is crew cut like the vast majority of the US. And if it is, it feels more sculpted than just painfully sanded into submission. The natural sights on the train to/from the airport are beautiful. And this by no means covers any direct exposure to nature ala hikes and such. The use of space feels significantly more efficient and the houses look super great. I have yet to see a case of the plastic carbon copy syndrome which has taken the US by storm. Additionally, the air feels significantly better there. I felt healthier just walking off the plane. I don't know if it's the humidity or maybe something else in the environment, but yeah, it seems very good for me.

    Besides the language barrier I could be totally comfortable living in Japan. There is always the outsider issue which would never go away, but I could probably deal with that. I really need to get in contact with my host family from my exchange trip in high school. They were so great, and hopefully will be receptive to talking to me after all this time.

    And wrapping it back around to the subject of my post... I totally bested the jet lag on the way in. To the extent that I was generally the one with the most energy throughout the group I think. On the way back... another story. My ass is still sore (from the kicking... *sheesh*) and I am totally wired at 11 pm at night. I was almost falling asleep about 4 hours ago. We'll see how long it takes me to get back to a normal cycle.

    22Sep/060

    Enter Japan

    So I just arrived for my trip to the Tokyo Game Show. Once again, way more humid than I was expecting. I mean who sweats in 65ish degree weather...

    Anyways, rode the JR rail to Shibuya. Pretty much all the country side is beautiful in Japan. I forgot how much I liked it. A lot of the construction seems less disruptive to the land (generally more vegitation). Also, the plants are awesome, and ironically enough, packed fairly tight in many areas just like the rest of the Japanese population.

    Anyways, once I got to Shibuya I wandered around a bit before asking someone to clarify where I thought the hotel was on a map. I was close, and just missed it by not looking across the street. The hotel is sweet. It's more spacious than I thought, has free breakfast and a free LAN connection. It also has mini versions of appliances including a washing machine (I don't know if it dries...). I WILL have to go buy an adaptor for my laptop power charger since all the plugs don't have the 3rd ground wire.

    I think the food on the plane was definitely the worst plane food I've had in at least around... 9 years I think. The meat and rice dish they served first was so aweful. I had to stop eating it to keep from getting sick. Off to go buy some food that does taste like plastic and make me sick.

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    8Sep/060

    Resolution to the madness

    So, despite the section pissing me off a ton.  Two Thrones was a pretty decent game.  It has its downsides, but considering the general fluidity of the platforming, it was good.  The two sections I thought sucked lots turned out to be lots lots easier with access to rewind (I just happened to not have it the first time).  Gateway problems plague many games (where you're punished severly for going through somewhere and not being able to get back), and that's certainly a better problem than the ones I had mentioned.

    The interesting part is that while the controls suck in some cases and there are other weird issues, being able to immediately reverse problems a finite number of times removes almost all feeling of irritation and disappointment.  Rather than thinking, oh that was retarded and cheap, you think, suck, go back, go back, go back.  They definitely struck gold with their hardcore platforming (you fall you die) and rewind.  One interesting thing to see is how applicable it would be in other environments.  I don't think it would be terribly effective.  There are very few games where you can have tons of very high stakes gameplay with a small enough window to make rewind effective.

    In other news, I will start running my first Exalted Game this weekend.  We'll see how it goes, I'm not exactly sure the level of preparedness I'm going to need.  Hopefully I'll be there.  I have tons of plans, I just hope I can trim it effectively and get them all into the game.  Speaking of role playing someone handed me a card for an RPG they were working on.  It sounds maybe interesting, see newdarkage.net.  In any case, it should be fun, if perhaps a bit painful.  We'll see.

    23Aug/060

    Fun, fun, FUN… PAIN!

    The story thus far... Two nights ago at about 21 hundred hours... Ok, I can't keep that up. Mike is in town, soon to be followed by Nathan, Samo and others. They come for PAX, and if you believe them to visit the people they left behind. We had lunch with a bunch of people. It's very hard to talk to 15 people all at once. I think I need to go to lunch with the ArenaNet crew again soon since they were at the other end of the table.

    Continuing with the festivities, Mike, my girlfriend and I went to Karaoke hosted by his ex-coworker of his Josie Nutter. It was super fun. One thing I have discovered is I suck at using a mike. Not to mention, staring at a screen makes performance much more difficult. In any case it was sweet and I plan to go again.

    Tonight my girlfriend and I got home cooked dinner and watched Mona Lisa Smile. A super great movie. I'm not necessarily a huge Julia Roberts fan or Kirsten Dunst for that matter, but everyone was crazy good in this movie. It reminded me a bit of Dead Poet's Society. In any case, after the movie I ran into a particularly relevant blog post by Josie. It contains a link to an article. An article actually published by Forbes. A very badly researched article. A very aggrivating article. Using vagueries, pathetically tied implications, and insane conclusions to support such a misogynist outlook... makes Adrian very... SMASH!

    Let's start with a disclaimer: much of the research may be valid. I'd be interested to actually see the statistics he claims to be using. I'll try to keep this short. I don't know how many of these studies were built to correlate (doesn't sound like it), but combining them ALL together blindly is just plain wrong. This is not even to mention that all of these concepts are relative to insanely loaded preconceived cultural values. This causes bending of perceptions to the degree that it's hard to tell what is valid. These concepts also push up against important psychological issues, like spousal vulnerability and personal confidence levels. This appears to be nothing more that just another instance of misusing social statistics. And it pisses me off. I'm done, I could go all night with this.

    What is hilarious is that the movie Mona Lisa Smile has so much a better and deeper commentary on housewife vs career woman concept. I think that there a itsy bitsy grains of truth to the core concept that marriage has risks and variances in psychology (due to differing roles) can affect that. However, as an individual who firmly believes in self-improvement, one should not make policies to avoid confronting one's own personal weaknesses. And that's all I really gather from considering the arguments (the way they should have been written) present in that stupid stupid article.

    Rargh!

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    19Aug/060

    Shipping funness

    So I ordered a 2nd Exalted core book from amazon with 2 day shipping ('twas only like $3). I then realized they had released some other exalted books I wanted. So I ordered those too except picked super-saver shipping (because I'm a cheap bastard). Sooo, the first one shows up. Then the 2nd one shows up a day later.

    Now I thought, that's weird. Maybe I ordered them over a weekend. Nope. I'm basically out of ideas. In the days when 5 to 9 minus 2 equals 1... I start to go fuzzy in the head. Mmmmmm, fuzzy.

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    18Aug/061

    My voice is my Passport, verify me

    Can you guess the quote?

    I got my passport in the mail today. Quick turn around is good considering the extra $60 it costs. Picture is pretty decent too for one I took with hair that needs cutting and after walking about 10 blocks in drizzling rain. It was actually kind of fun. I might try and take up bike riding, even during non-ideal weather just for kicks. I used to do it all the time long ago. Riiight, well, we'll see. All is set for Tokyo trip. I'm pretty excited :). Although, one person I know has warned me that it has a reputation for a certain smell. I'm guessing no worse than Comic con, which was totally tollerable.

    We were reading this hilarious preview of Too Human at work during lunch the other day. The moronic writer was overanalyzing to the point of bringing shakespearean metaphor and Nietzsche's philosophy in to. It hurt my brain. It probably also hurt my opinion of the human race. He was talking about what if kids come back from a game and start spouting philosophy. Have you even read Nietzsche before!? It really pains me when people talk about things they really really really don't understand. Especially like that. Rargh! In reality it's funny, but I can't think about it anymore or my head will explode.

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    15Aug/060

    Frustration and Awesomeness

    Don't you hate it when someone you're arguing with has to have the last say even if you've already agreed to do something their way. Well I do. It sucks. In the future I think I will keep my opinions a bit more to myself.

    On a different note, I'll be going to the Tokyo Game Show this year. I've got some vacation to burn and it sounded like a fun idea when I heard it mentioned. I'm going with some people I have a loose acquaintance with, so at least there'll be someone to do random stuff with and people who know their way around. Expedia, who I booked the flight with, also has the option to rent a cell phone for not too expensive. This is good since Verizon has apparently no service over there. Should be fun.

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    15Jul/062

    Burlesque night

    So I went to see my friend audition for a burlesque troop yesterday. Halfway through I was freaked that she hadn't shown (I asked one of the judges), but luckily she showed up during the intermission. In my own defense, I brought my girlfriend with me.

    For some reason, I was expecting singing, so I still haven't seen her singing. Oh well, on to the review.

    There was an interesting mixture of performers. I think there were around 6 women and one guy performing. My favorite performers were the ones that were really interesting and the ones who looked like they were really enjoying themselves. There was one or two that just looked uncomfortable, which didn't come off well. The boy-lesque, as I've heard described, was ok. He could move well, but I think overall came off a little creepy (e.g. Willy Wonka music). Probably the same sort of creepy that my "Little Red Ridinghood" solo inspired in one of my choir mates a few years ago.

    There was a burlesque mime who did a few duo performances with a guy dressed as the laywer guy from Half Life laywer dude (GMan). It was interesting and kind of cool, but in the end felt more like a surreal subject commentary that wore on me a bit (think Ghost in the Shell 2 maybe). My friend's performance was cool because it was probably the most expressively complex pieces (think reason for nudity in theater). The more I think about it the more I'd choose her depth oriented performance over the entertainment focus most others had. It leaves more of a lasting impression for people that like to think about things like me.
    As for fun, there were a few really good numbers. One I particularly liked was a very energetic piece set to the Jekyll and Hyde song "Bring on the Men". She lip synced the entire thing near perfectly. It was great. There were many others that seemed to enjoy themselves, which made the performances way more fun. There was one especially, where the pasties and underwere were all Elmo themed. I was laughing non-stop for a while.

    It was a fun night. The MC was great and I finally got to meet Jossie Nutter, and she's every bit as entertaining in person as online. It was also good to see my friend again as I haven't seen her in a long while. Hopefully I will be able to hit one of her singing shows so I can round off my list of performances a bit :P.

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    13Jul/060

    Update to the update

    So, since I posting my big summation mail, I've decided to do it again. Hooray! :)

    So I recently bought a new car, which I think I failed to mention. It's a 2006 Prius. Hooray for green (metaphorically that is, mine is actually Magnetic Grey)! The best part about it is that I got exactly what I wanted in like 2 weeks. That's amazing considering it normally takes around 2-3 months at the dealership I went to. Now I just have to bring myself to get rid of my old car (now that I have the title somewhere around here) and get insurance for my new car (owwww).

    I went to work out again on Wed. (having taken Monday off to cheer sick girlfriend up by taking her to Pirates). It's weird because the last two wednesdays I've gone have been just me by myself with the instructor. This time felt a little less odd since I've been to her classes before. We went running, and I did better than I was expecting. There was a decent amount of up and down hill involved so yeah. It was good though, I got some advice on loosening my hamstrings (the super super non-flexible part of my body). Good stuff though, I'm thinking about going more, partly because I can't actually go on Wed. when school starts up because of choir. I did audition for a Jazz group, but don't know if I'll make it in or not.

    Posting is fun. However, I do think my livejournal and myspace pages could use some work. I'd like to just synchronize my posts from here to both of those. However, all the scripts found on the net are old, and making one of my own would take time. Who knows, maybe someday.

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    11Jul/060

    Super Caribbean Transformer

    Just got back from Puerto Rico. It was alright. It has some very nice natural environments. The fort in San Juan is decent as well. I was, however, disappointed with the history (not enough and not in my favorite time range) and the general feel of the place. A lot of places I went I found it depressing. You could be in front of a very nice place with no obvious damage and go immediately next door to find a ravaged, condemned building with the windows bashed in. The dichotome felt weird. Also, some of the other evidences of economic grief depressed me, like the animal section of the science complex we went to. It's good that the beach and rainforest were nice.

    Went to see Pirates of the Caribbean. It was alright. I was disappointed with the pacing and the uber extreme cliffhanger at the end. I hope the third one doesn't turn out as crappy as Matrix: Revolutions. Saw Superman at some point too. It was good, somewhat better than I was expecting given what I'd heard. I thought the way they portrayed Lex Luthor was cool. The no-holds-bar calculating villian is interesting. The one big issue I had was that the main threats were never particularly manifested. I've been told that I need to go see Cars. I did see the teaser for the live action Transformers movie. Who in gods name thinks it's a good idea to start advertising 1 year before a movie comes out. If I ever find out... there will be... something bad....

    I am also getting more convinced I need to try doing some TDD development. The main downside will be that I still have to work the opposite direction at work. It will definitely be good to try out some ideas I have for better pipeline/engine organization. Now to muster up the time and energy. Maybe I need to become a schedule nazi like my friend Nathan.

    No matter how many problems I have, I will always have this:

    Adrian Bentley --[noun]:

    A human transformer (Robot in disguise)

    'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

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