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메리 크리스마스 새해 복 많이 받으세요

С Рождеством Христовым и С наступающим Новым Годом

Bonne année

Buon Capo d’Anno

Happy New Year

WordPress and UTF-8 rock!

I’ll be up for the next three or four hours working on the site with ETN. If you’re browsing, ping me!


Ok, ok, the cat’s out of the bag. I tried very hard to keep your Christmas present from you until it was complete, and just “ta-da!” wow you with autumn tactics plus seamlessly integrated comments and tags on New Year’s, but it’s clear now that this is going be more than just a one-night effort, unfortunately.

So yes, we’ve finally kicked Blogger to the curb and are using extensible content management software. Oddly enough, Blogger Beta seems to just have figured out tags (that and a lack of unobtrusive comments were my main reasons for leaving).

In any case, I should have the template back to looking like it used to in the next few days, despite being mostly homeless. Top priority now is support for my legacy posts in Japanese, and after that titles. Then I get to learn just enough CSS to get the template fixed. And for dessert, I’m also making the long overdue upgrade to Gallery 2, which dovetails nicely with WordPress.

Let this be the beginning of better-organized, more aesthetically pleasing communication between us.

Just need to get through one more day at work… pray I can find a place to live this weekend.

Good night!

Fluffy cat visited at a kiri tanpo (absolutely delicious...

Fluffy cat visited at a kiri tanpo (absolutely delicious Akita winter stew on a ground rice base) party. November 2006.

This picture has a lot of flaws, but I only had my digital camera and little choice but to use the on-body flash or suffer mortal blurring from my impatient subject. So while yes, she is inside the focusable near plane of the lens and overexposed, the background is almost painfully sharp. Not a good photograph, but an interesting artifact. This a half-rotted, incredibly green pumpkin of an image. Consume the parts you like and pick around the others.

Volkswagen near Hikawa Jinja in west Honmachi, February...

Volkswagen near Hikawa Jinja in west Honmachi, February 2005.

A long time ago, before I even hade my first digital camera, my crude photography sometimes garnered feedback. While working on an third-party contracting job for a HTML medical information navigator, my employer (who among other things did contract photography) commented that my shots made good use of The Rule of Thirds. I’d never heard of this, as I’d never done study of any kind. The way I framed pictures was completely instinctual. But the “rule” is nothing more than an extrapolation of what is pleasing to most peoples’ eyes. So, I am in the general populace which can see the intersection of dominant lines. I can also occasionally reproduce them without thinking about it too much.

This picture feels strong to me; strong, aged, and loved.




What Christmas was

I’m sitting on the floor alone at a friend’s house, exiled from my own, having come back from another day at the office that ended with the beginning of the next. However, today that day is Christmas. But there is no tree, no warmth, no presents lovingly wrapped or stocking hung with care. There is only bedraggled me among a few dirty clothes piled up on the floor, my thoughts and a half-empty bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate the passage of time.

This is now my Christmas, estranged and lonely, a day in a month like so many others, culture and reflection taking a back seat the fast lane of the game development industry. Holidays, relaxation, time to enjoy the changing seasons, they are all second to the ultimate priority, my responsibility to others.

But things weren’t always this way.

There was a time when Christmas wasn’t a date, or even a commercialized season. Christmas was more than a moment, or a deadline, it was a full year’s worth of hoping, and wishing, and waiting. It was waiting for those glorious six weeks when all I could think about was the tradition and excitement; the glowing warm energy that wove its way into every breath of every day. The lights, the sounds, the food, the anticipation– the old cassette tapes played through my father’s car stereo on our way down US-15 on Thanksgiving Day. The wool sweaters were scratchy and the penny loafers were tight, but I loved it all; because every grain of effort that was put into the preparation reminded us it was special. This was a time of closeness and kinship, a time when no matter how we struggled with uncertainty through the rest of the year, we could take solace in the gathering of family and friends, of counting our blessings and enjoying the fruits of our labor. It was laying under the towering long needle pine ripe with sap. It was staring up at the rings of garland and light, listening to John Denver and the Muppets mingle with the gentle, mechanical whirring of the revolving center in the old, fragile, plastic star perched miles above.

Christmas was always my favorite time of year. It was my favorite because it brought out the best in everything, it was the time I always felt safest and most content. The joy, happiness, and hope of Christmas isn’t for just a group of religious believers, it’s for every man, woman, and child on this earth. For we as living things have all the same natural goals and desires: to be safe, to be happy, to be loved.

Every year I wish for the same thing, just the one simple thing to have peace in my heart. Every year it seems like I get farther away from it, and I wonder how old I have to grow before I find it, or before I break down completely. The dreams of my youth grow fainter with each passing season, and I acquiesce more that this is what it means to be an adult: to accept responsibility with the understanding that things aren’t easy and never turn out like you dream they would. One owes so much to so many others, so one’s life must be lived in repayment of those debts. Maybe it is a man that takes the struggles and pain in stride and smiles, never complaining. It’s those sacrifices that make one respectable, that make one a professional.

But maybe I’m not strong enough to be those things. Maybe I’m just me, a dreamer without the maturity for honest improvement, and so much lesser than that. Maybe this next year I’ll truly accept these things, and stop trying to be something I’m not. Maybe next year I’ll find a Christmas that I don’t let slip by like an ignored utility bill.

I’m sorry I don’t know how to be a grown-up and can’t be the things I think I’m supposed to. I love you. Merry Christmas.

This was a house across the street from mine in...

This was a house across the street from mine in Honmachi. Here it’s in the process of being torn down so an ugly concrete slab apartment building can be put in its place to garner more income for its elderly owners. June 2005.

Context is something very important for photography. You weren’t there, so you have no idea what existed outside of the frame. To me, this is less important because I remember with vivid detail what did, and what I choose to focus on is only the heart of scene. So pictures like this may turn you off. For yesterday’s picture, I very nearly put up an image of just the upper-left corner of the red building, but in the end I went with the full shot because the closeup, “sucks”. 🙂

Oh well, sometime for you, sometime for me.