The legend returns

Be it professionalism or Providence, my services have been requested yet again to lead our hero Captain Falcon to victory in the newest F-Zero title, F-Zero Climax. Apparently my reputation is gaining renown (much like a fearless swashbuckling buccaneer), as this time I actually get paid. Ka-ching.

On a related note, I played the role of a weatherman, new kitten newscaster, and public access TV commercial voiceover for an upcoming Sesame Street interactive book for Japanese children. It remains to be heard how much of my peppy wit will make it into the final product (I got to write my own script and sneak in numerous references to Frederick), but if even a small “and let’s take a look at the Doppler” makes it in, I’ll be sure to snag a copy and post it up.

I’ve noticed that I have an odd predilection for shouting “hadoken” and “oh yeah!” in my best 16-bit voice after receiving part-time work requests.

I have returned from summer vacation. All is well...

Back in black (not really)

I have returned from summer vacation. All is well (sort of). Aside from a short (but intense) anxiety attack this morning, I had a wonderful time.

As of tomorrow, my stalwart email (CMU) is unfortunately, dead. Additionally, my site is moving around. I have yet to procure a memorable domain. In the meantime, things live here, but thanks to HTTP redirects and address forwarding you probably won’t notice much.

Check out my garden, it did some crazy growing when I was away not caring for it… (I’m not quite sure how to take this).

[Notes: 1) The PET bottles with hoses and valves are a time-release watering system I set up before I left, kind of like an IV for flowers. 2) In the first picture are my mustard greens and spearmint, the second, correct me if I’m wrong, are a kind of impatiens.]

Well, I made it. I’m not quite sure how,...

On my way

Well, I made it. I’m not quite sure how, as I had a nasty fight with my cellphone this morning in bed. I think our relationship is on the rocks, at the very least we’ll not be speaking to one another for a week or so.

I got out of bed exactly two hours ago, and the situation was bleak. The Nozomi Shinkansen is the fastest way to travel inside Japan, almost to a fault. Like the concorde, you spend as much time getting getting to and away the thing from where you’re actually going, that you basically multiply the trip duration times two when going to Kyoto. Anyway, my house is an absolute mess of flower petals, dust bunnies and badly burnt popcorn, but I will have to deal with that next week. I’m on vacation, and I made it here with a spirited packing and caring for the flowers that encompassed a mere hour. I got some “mizuyariki”, or something like that, to look after them in my abscence. Basically it’s just a plastic tip you put on the end of an inverted PET bottle, which you place in the soil. A simple valve regulates air intake through a small hose and conversely, pressure balance inside the bottle which regulates the water dispersal.

This is the first time I’ve ever used a laptop on the Shinkansen, I think, though I may have had poor departed Cheyenne (which will be the name of my first daughter by the way) with me once on a job hunting trip. In any case, the luxurious amount of space between the rows of seats makes using my mammoth WinBook much easier than any plane. If only there were power outlets… However, the trip is so short (2:11), that I think I may be able to make it that long with the computer constantly on.

I’m listening to DJ Warden’s Sounds of Downunder Vol. 12, a mix that starts out really light and surreal, perfect for rice fields and villages whipping by at two hundred miles per hour.

I got myself a new shirt last night, which may not be out of the ordinary to the average man, but for me it’s quite a feat, as so much of my wardrobe is from the seventh grade to high school era. So you know I have to really like a shirt before I’ll pay for it. Anything else is just a conference freebie/guest’s nightgown. It’s this really swank dirty blue Citroen soccer shirt with dark blue shoulders and red stripes. This shirt was purchased (presumably new) for about twelve dollars because it met all the core criteria for my clothes: 1) it looks campy and retro, 2) it fits my thin frame snugly, 3) virtually no one else has anything like it. Its heavy synthetic urethane fibers are grazing my still tense shoulders as I type. In other tailoring news, I dropped off my “this is Rusty” shirt at the seamstress last weekend, as the shirt had become so worn that the stitching thread had literally decomposed and the sleeves were coming off. I’ll have to take a picture of myself in this shirt, so you can truly appreciate my vintage early eighties “Levi’s Action Shirt” which is proudly “tailored for men”. I’m not making this up, it says so on the tag. This shirt has accumulated so much experience and prestige, it has enough public support to hold office in several small third world countries.

It’s funny how sometimes the only way I can get pedestrian stuff done is when I’m forced to sit in a box with no exit for two hours. 🙂 I think it’s time to sort and clean up photographs, or perhaps read more of my PowerShot manual.

Ten minutes left in vol. 12 pt. 1, chanting, a charging tin arrow, over, and over, my fingers flex and twitch on invisible keys instinctively, like a kitten digging at a pillow for milk. When you keep virtually everything (as I do), things have a way of popping up and surprising you. I came across some pictures in a “to sort” folder on the desktop, an amalgamation of old email attachments and miscellany, it caught me off guard. But I am heion. I will be heion. The loop persuades me relentlessly. And I close my eyes, and I sigh inwards, and I think of Noah Wylie as I think of Steve Jobs, and passion that goes fully unknown.

Into the Blue…one of System F’s most uplifting pieces, it’s like a view of the ocean, where the waves crash in warm, crystal waters, and my heart catches on the wind, soaring and gliding along cliffs and over the hills, to a small city where cherry blossoms fall and children run laughing over cobblestone streets. DJ Warden must have the deepest respect for FC; through a transition and pop Gouryella springs alive, and I have to grin, grin with the smiling people of the world, those that know hardship but are not crushed, those that work on the land and bring beauty to the young. I want to go to Africa, I want to leave my plastic and my pain behind, and share smiles and meat and vegetables and stories.

The delayed hat. Sinking, coasting, into fields of blue, I can feel the shockwaves of sentinence rippling through the verdant horizon as I inhale. Life in, life out, a connection, a bond, a story, something to share and to keep. To take, and to give. Heat, cold, moist and dry. It’s something to celebrate, to wrap around oneself, and let it temper you with compassion.

Oh ho, I’m at the MSM sports complex, it’s astroturf and track rubber, I must indulge the riveting tangibility of it all. Sing, sing, sing, in a beautiful voice, she’s calling. Can I extend my hand and touch her with invisible feathers of grace?

I’m leaving later today for Kyoto. It’...

In search of a little peace and quiet

I’m leaving later today for Kyoto. It’s summer vacation but this year feels like more about escape and less about time to visit friends. I’m not sure how it will pan out, but I really need this. Really. So, look forward to more audio blogs, pictures, and deep ruminations in the next week. I hope this trip washes me soft and pure, because I’m buckling under the strain of hard and dirty.

I finally got through the rest of my audio logs...

Shanghai audio part 2

I finally got through the rest of my audio logs from Shanghai. In retrospect, I now realize that I need to use an external microphone with some foam on the receiver if I’m going to be recording outside. The tiniest breeze destroys the sound and I’m sorry that some of these clips have this problem. The best I can suggest is for now to tweak the equalizer on your playback software to filter out all frequencies except those closest to my vocal range. And turn down the overall preamp, if you can. Anyway, sorry for the quality, hope this is interesting.

Shanghai thoughts, part 2 (download .zip)
7.18.2004 – 020 Fight or flight *
7.19.2004 – 002 A demolished city *
7.19.2004 – 004 Today’s forecast *
7.19.2004 – 009 Simple pleasures *
7.20.2004 – 002 At the airport *
7.20.2004 – 006 Cynicism on begging *
7.20.2004 – 007 Sleepy memories medley *
7.20.2004 – 008 Fashion *
7.20.2004 – 013 Fun with Spanish *
7.20.2004 – 014 Pre-flight check *
7.20.2004 – 019 A mistake not to be made again *
7.20.2004 – 020 Bad comedy *

I went to temple yesterday seeking advice. I struck...

A beautiful life

I went to temple yesterday seeking advice. I struck the gong to wake the buddha, and threw two hundred yen into the offering box. I bowed deeply and pressed my hands together. I closed my eyes and asked for guidance. Where had I gone wrong? What was I missing? How did I get here? Why are some things going well, while others are reaching an all-time low? Who have I become? When was the last time I felt balance? My mind was black, with the faintest hints of light around the sides. Then it appeared.

It wasn’t a maybe, or a possibly, or even a perhaps, but it was there, and it was so clear I could see the edges like a newly engraved coin. It stood out in perfect focus, whether it was my answer or not, it was vivid, and it pressed itself into my conscience like a a stone seal into hot wax.

I don’t know if who I am will change because of it, but I want to believe so. I want so badly for this to be the answer I’ve been looking for, the road to a better place, and an end to the rotten fumes that creep out of my footsteps. Please.

I want the neon and the plastic to meld with the rain and the wood. To live in harmony with the future and the past, spreading more kindness and peace than I consume.

Sengawa, where I work, is a quaint little community...

Having a blast, wish you were here…

Sengawa, where I work, is a quaint little community that’s just about as close knit as a town can be in the twenty-first century. They have, among many other niceties, a discount stamp card for their stores, relaxing music played over PA for shopping afternoons, and the annual summer matsuri (festival). Last year, I saw the Power Rangers show and ate yaki soba. This year, I danced in at least seven or eight bon odori, which are dances to celebrate deceased ancestors and their spirits returning to visit their families. (There are countless numbers, from town to town.) Corny and wrong, but if you’ve seen The Karate Kid Part II, you may have an idea what I’m talking about. As I said, it’s a close knit kind of place, I had various shopkeepers telling me how good I was the day after. ::blush::

Anyway, the festival is over the evenings of three days, and the coolest for me was the Okinawa traditional dance. It totally rocked, being mysterious and beautiful (much as Okinawa’s history is). Gotta go there soon.

Sengawa’s mascot, Harmony Cat and I send our regards.


Just… …

You last like a song
I’m deflated
I am pieces on the wind

Cos it’s easier to fly
Than to face another night
In southern sun
And your love is all around
In the air to set me free

Just looking out the window I saw the rain clouds...

Chapter dinner

Just looking out the window I saw the rain clouds, moving off, breaking up, the sun set ten minutes ago, the sky still a pale blue above, fading to watery yellow and orange below. I remembered Charlottesville, and events with Theta Tau, the evening setting in outside of Olsson, or off of I-64 in the Shenandoah valley. The day drawing to a close, Frank in his grizzlyness and beat dark blue UVA hat, and excitement in my heart. Tomorrow, the future, fraternity, events, new people, so many things we would do together, those my senior that I admired, myself so on my own in the world, away from home. Soon chapter dinner, a pledge test, and watching the X-Files, everyone together.

Blogger and I are going to have to have a little...

Bless this mess

Blogger and I are going to have to have a little talk about bloatware. For those who use it, maybe you know what I mean. Ever since Google bought Blogger things have been changing, a lot and mostly for the worse. Yeah I guess the profiles are interesting, but now the editing environment has all these different modes. Some of the core features are gone, and now CSS is used for everything automatically. This is messy and clunky, and rife with formatting errors. I spend most of my time fixing the junk generated by Blogger. It also has a bunch of bugs involving files and paths, and I’ve had to manually redo a bunch of stuff that it’s mangled. I guess if things don’t change I’ll have to move to something else like livejournal, or perhaps better yet, moveable-type, if I can find a server to host in my price range (free).

Anyway, sorry the image tables and spacing look like crap. Blogger isn’t even playing nice with my browsers anymore (Firefox _or_ IE). I guess mostly I’m apologizing to myself, because it really bothers me to have shoddy work associated with anything I do.

So, it’s been a funky weekend. Actually, I...

Neck strain

So, it’s been a funky weekend. Actually, I dodged some pangs of loneliness after as the Beatles say “a little help from my friends.” My neighbor Mrs. Kimura cheered me up and gave me a little encouraging talk about friends and the burden of being a salaryman.

In summary, I went tooling around in NW Tokyo on my bike Saturday in ninety-two plus degrees, sweltering my way through living and sporting goods superstore Olympic, in addition to nearly finding my friend Arka’s wife’s restaurant in Toshima-ku, and swinging by Musashi University and an amazing recycle shop off of Senkawa dori.

Like I said, I got home around three, and Mrs. Kimura raised me from my aimless ruminations, and then I proceeded to play Final Fantasy with the walkthrough on PC next to me on the floor.

Around nine today I got up after another dream about Ashe and fighting with the keitai alarm for an hour. I was SO enthused (see previous post) about the weather, and I charged off to Akiba, supposedly to look for a lamp, but ended up just having a ball as I always do, high on good, clean, geek entertainment. My wrists are getting a little sore so I’ll explain the rest of my adventuring with audio blogs and photographs. Peace.

Thoughts in Chiyoda-ku (just grab the .zip file here)
I’m hopeless
I _could_ blow all my money
RC mania
I’m doomed
King of the UFO catcher
Doomed again
Foodstamps needed
Yeah, Super Potato, yea
Outside Super Potato
A sweet, sweet, coma
More SP
Beautiful music
Work for games
Not approved by the FDA
Great on a resume’
Not Tokyo style
Sometimes I do think like this
Very proud of myself
Kiiro sen no uchigawa made

When I am in a really good mood, it’s quite...

Dance on fire

When I am in a really good mood, it’s quite plain to see. I just ran to the convenience store to get some snacks for my continuing FF7 adventure, and I was bopping and swinging every step. Every turn on my bike, every beat was methodical. I hop curbs with perfect timing, wave to my barber standing outside his shop, and swing my right leg effortlessly over the cross bar as I toe in my ride at Sunkus. I even did little dance steps up the aisles and bank around the corners, a bouncing little jig in reverse to grab a pint of pineapple juice as an afterthought. And I could even pull off small talk with the clerk about cool weather, the end of summer, and the odd chinese cent in my change. Be-bop doobity bow!

I don’t recall exactly what spurred my deep...

Good times

I don’t recall exactly what spurred my deep resolve to play Final Fantasy VII this weekend, but whatever it was, it worked. I started about four hours into the game at three-thirty after returning home from my roaming yesterday (Saturday), and pretty much played for thirteen hours without cutting the system off (of course there were the obligatory bathroom and mini-mart runs).

Strange, at my best (early college) I could do only a six to eight hour stretch of gaming overnight before calling it a day. Those triumphs were earmarked mainly by the Final Fantasy VI glory days on Snes9X in Emmet, First Left. Nobuo Uematsu’s unrelenting battle music became such a familiar figure piece in our flip-flop shower fiefdom that Paul Mysliwiec, aka the self-proclaimed “Crazy Polack” would often charge into The Hulk’s and mine’s room, thrusting his pelvis emphatically to the intense 16-bit staccato. As I recall, he particularly enjoyed Sabin’s Bum Rush. However, those days weren’t all level ups and wicked summons, as I usually started rocking back and forth and cursing under my breath for a save point around four a.m.

This brings me back to my original point that I’m amazed I have played so much this weekend and not even begun to get sick of it yet. Maybe because this is on the PS2, instead of the PC. My seat is much more comfortable (an hourly rotation of zabuton and sofa), and it looks/sounds great on my entertainment system, instead of just a 17″ monitor. Anyway, it certainly is “natsukashii”, rife with nostalgia. This game, seven years ago, started the whole jaw-dropping CG revolution, “eye-candy” as it were. How many days did Frank spend in the Bice playing this while Andy and I stared aghast? “Rusty!”

Here’s a quote from the game that juxtaposes fittingly with recent discussion during my annual review at work.

“A pro isn’t someone who sacrifices himself for his job. That’s just a fool.”-Reno


Sweet Mother McCree

IT’S RAINING AND 66 DEGREES OUTSIDE!!! 66 GLORIOUS, COOL, DEGREES!!! I do not need a fan, air conditioner, or any climatic supplement other than my beat AM/PM umbrella! I can wear jeans! I can wear my frickin’ jeans jacket! This rocks so much I feel fifty times more alive!!! I am leaving the house right now, unshaven and in my Seahawks hat bound for adventure and lamp-shopping!! Halleluah!

I’m starting to buckle under the extra tasks...


I’m starting to buckle under the extra tasks I’ve been putting on myself lately, in addition to a couple new games. I think I need to review Randy’s time management talk again, and after that make a list of priorities, because there’s just too much I’m trying to do now and I’m not getting much of anything done well.

For now, here are some more select audio blogs from day 2 in Shanghai (I’m determined to get through all this China material before one month rolls around).

7.18.2004: ~2:00p – Stupid tourist mistake #45
7.18.2004: ~2:07p – Neophyte language droid level 1
7.18.2004: ~5:40p – Girls hit boys
7.18.2004: ~6:50p – Watching a pond
7.18.2004: ~7:50p – Different people