Our house

You may or may not have heard from me directly about it, I’ve moved. About a month ago, I was lucky enough to have an end put to my suffering; for about four grand and more hoops than I can count, I have a new place to live. In many ways it is superior to my previous lodging, slightly less convenient in others, but overall I’d call it a minor improvement. The strong points this time around are (per specification): safety (two dead bolts and a chain), a reduced chance of disputes with neighbors (reinforced concrete, user-installed carpeting), and a balcony. I have only AM sun for my ever-expanding leafy family, but I have a nice view of southwest Shinjuku, which is especially pretty at night.

The challenges presented with my new home include: kitchen space shared with the sleeping area and, no closests. I do my best to meet these issues with liberal use of my many windows, and a planned downsizing of my wardrobe in concert with a clothesrack from The ‘Ho.

I’m pretty much settled in now (thanks to a self-imposed deadline of my first dinner party), so all that remains is to decide how to minimize wall damage from my many framed things, and wrangle the cable monster that is the result of five game systems, stereo, computer, half a dozen USB peripherals, and a synth/analog mixing setup. What I’m probably looking forward to the most is the growing season, since I have a fairly good size balcony and plenty of space for planters. What shall I plant this year?

Lift the paw!

吸収 (kyushuu) is the Japanese word meaning, “absorb” or “assimilate”. That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing this week. I don’t know what it is, but personal things have been getting progressively better as the year picks up speed, and it’s been helping my mood. Work being in a transitional phase with little in the way of deadlines and bugs is probably helping too. The upshot is, things are snowballing into a katamari of improvement and I’m sucking in ridiculous amounts of knowledge as a result. I’m becoming able to build considerable overlap with my study of physical theory and what I’m doing at the office, so I have a lot more structure and motivation during the day. I’ve been spending about as much time devouring Wikipedia as I have been sleeping, and this week I’ve run down close to a hundred articles on optics and music. It’s at the point where I’m reading so much I have to make notes as I go along so I don’t forget the material I’m consuming. If this starting to sound a lot like school, that’s probably why I’m so happy.

I’m standing up straighter, I’m more amiable when people come to me for questions, and I’ve been for the most part in less of a hurry, more relaxed. It would be great if I could maintain this kind of pace for the better part of the year. I’m sure I”ll run into some walls again, but for the near future I don’t see the format of my daily life changing much, so in the meantime I’m looking to make some considerable advances in craft this year. I already have a mile-long laundry list of techniques to experiment with at night when I get home to my tools (toys).

I think I’m going to take another break from gaming starting next month. I’m loaning my PS2 to a co-worker after GDC, so I’m kind of on a binge to finish Silent Hill 4 now. There’s nothing really wrong with playing games, it’s what I do. But an unfortunate disadvantage of games is they’re generally one dimensional; I consume them and that’s it. They don’t change me very much, I don’t produce anything in consuming them, so in the end they’re still just emotional snack food. I have a limited amount of time, in a lot of ways. How I spend that time is one of the most important decisions I can make in my life. One of the core tenets of my philosophy is that humans are not just consumers. We’re gifted enough to be much more than that; this is an important factor in dilleniating us from animals. My goal is to be as efficient a medium of life as possible, of converting as much of what I take in to something once again useful. Refine knowledge, refract life, be a thick lens for chemical energy. This is why time exploring, time studying, time creating, is time well spent. I’ll probably never give up hamburgers completely, but I’m sure going to try to make them a very small part of what I eat.

Spooky – Little Bullet

Nights, passed exits.
The self that waits in line doesn’t stand still.

This isn’t a cross, or a box, or a waiting room.
This is now.

This is what I will make of it, and so, I choose to have it be a remake of myself.

All I need is the fuel. Give me the fuel and I’ll run forever.

Regression

I’m on my way back from skiing, coasting down the Chuo Expressway with a sore throat and a lot of contemplating miles under my belt.

This weekend I visited Nagano for the first time since my semi-disastrous skiing trip to Kita Shiga in 2004. It’s kind of hard to believe that I’ve spent more winter seasons in Japan than I did at UVa. This time I went to Shirakabako, which is pretty close to Tokyo for a ski resort. By bus it’s about three and a half hours, with roughly forty minutes of rest stops in between.

The dantou (warm winter) has had a considerable effect on the area. Though it is the middle of February and the height of ski season, the snow was sparse and barely appeared right before the base of the resort. There were a lot of adventurous plants poking throguh the frost and most of the heavily travelled routes were solid ice.

I had a great time, however, and it was a pretty good value, ringing up to 19000 yen for a two-day jaunt with everything included except for lunch. Unfortunately I wasn’t as adroit on the slopes this time as last February, when I spent six hours as an amateur skiing god. It may have been the ice, it may have been a year’s rust, bad rental skiis, or a nasty cold that hit me at the end of last week, but I didn’t really get into the swing of things until it was three-thirty and my last run down the mountain before catching the bus.

I’m not the kind of guy to buy gear for a fad, and will suffer with the most beat and (to my naive mind) cheap setup as long as possible before committing to another ten pounds of bulk to make the next move all the more difficult. However, in doing the math of going skiing two-three times a year for three years, possibly more in the future, I decided it was time to buy my own gear, especially for these single-man economy runs that I’m growing fond of. So right now I have a pair of entry-level Dolomite boots and Kazama poles, and probably next weekend I’ll buy a pair of skiis. I wanted to get used by haven’t had much luck, so it looks like a little of my stock money is going towards some shiny powder rails to decorate my foyer. If only I can hunker down and get the chops to cut my own little slice of the mountain without it taking a chunk out of me.

Paris in Winter

below grey skies
and leafless trees
you spent your winter alone

walking down wet stone streets
to the sound of car tires in rain
half asleep you found your way home

but the bread was dry
and the long nights empty
a space full of things
but little warmth

you spent all that time
by yourself just searching
for what unsure, but nobly

through the months quietly on
an independent sort of dream
a barren winter of adagio