Running through a castle by the sea

It’s no small secret that I have a considerable game backlog to get through, mainly a score of unfinished RPGs. For some, this is deserving, but others, it borders or sacrilege.

After getting home from the annual company review and workshop, I was pretty tired and was craving a little light media before an early bedtime. But my laptop wasn’t connected, and I didn’t feel like screwing with wires so I decided to play a game. At first I tried Star Ocean 3, but unfortunately with successive titles Tri-Ace seems to improve only on pissing me off more. The things that were frustrating in Star Ocean 2 are only more so with Till the End of Time. The dialogue is sickening, the voice acting an insult, and the mildly satisfying battle system is drowned out in a deluge of pointless cutscenes that just drag on and on and on. If the game ends up taking seventy hours to clear, it’s only because over 40% of it is spent waiting for the next poorly textured character to deliver a delayed response to some vapid one-liner. I don’t like quitting on games, but Tri-Ace has pushed me too far, and SO3 is now on moratorium for being unbearable.

Still, I decided I had too much time on my hands in cold, gloomy weather. So next I tried Code Veronica for another hour or two before realizing I was wasting my life playing a B game for the third time. Then I started fussing with Midnight Club 2 (which I helped develop), since I still haven’t cleared it. However, the difficulty and the frothy nostalgia from playing through the Paris level were too much. I guess I wanted a game that was mildly challenging and devoid of sentimental attachment, but most of all one which didn’t require a lot of patience.

So ultimately I decided to give Ico another try; despite having gotten stuck at in the first room of the game when last I tried it two years ago. Fortunately, this time was a lot smoother, and now I’m about four hours on, climbing through the middle of a very nice surrealist painting. Ico was on the ETC “suggested games list” six years ago, but I’m very slow to adopt new technology. I got the PS2 in 2004, and now three years later am just catching up to all those dust-collecting DVDs.

Ico has stirred up a lot of soft, pastel fantasy and I’m having a hard time putting it down. But I don’t think I can stay on the couch all weekend; autumn weather grows its own kind of spongy idealism that’s hard to ignore.

Just a little bit crazy

お疲れ様です。風邪です。緊張です。明日は年に1度の研修会です。色々なプレゼンをしないとだめだし、一番気になるはレコーダー演奏大会です。うちのチームは「上を向いて歩こう」(スキヤキ)を演じます。

さらに、本日は個人評価でしたので、いつもよりもちょっとした頭が混乱しています。明日神奈川の奥まで通勤しないとだめですから、強制早起きです。体調大丈夫かな。まだ荷造りが残っていますけどさあ、

とにかく、今週末までいないです。皆さん、幸運を願いってね。

And whoever the hell keeps calling me from a payphone when I’m not around… leave a damn message, or send me mail. You’re never going to reach me this way, just piss me off.

Night. 😉

Pleasures and people

The heat has finally broken, and tonight, coming in to my house, it was the first time I walked in the door and felt good in a long time. I am detail oriented, and try to keep a clean house. However, a household with the windows open in constant humidity ruins any valiant efforts to the contrary.

But today it was cool, though far from needing a jacket, but the first night I didn’t break a sweat coming home. Maybe it was the temperature, maybe the waiting at the railroad crossing for five minutes, but I cooled off more than just physically. First I went to 7-11 thinking about dinner, but with a few taut qualms about eating anything with preservatives in it. So halfway down the aisle I changed my mind and went to Sunkus, hoping for some penne arrabiata, but they were sold out, of course. So then I thought Ritz for the red cheddar in my refrigerator, but of course they didn’t stock those either. So, I backtracked to the kimchi store by the 7-11. The old woman that works there is fantastic in that she’s so not your stereotypically normal, cuddly Japanese senior citizen. She is polite, and kind, but there is a certain solemnness about her; a strength from experience, and an edge in her eyes. I always enjoy talking to her, almost as much as I do patronizing independent business.

So tonight dinner is simple. Lemon Water, red cheddar, and hakusai kimchi; made with aplomb.

Tenrinsai

Though I’ve been taking pictures of raves for seven years, I rarely ever post pictures from them. However, last weekend I went to Tenrinsai in Fukushima, and was set on taking a substantial number of photographs. I planned for varying weather conditions (Centuria), as well as extremely low light levels (Super Presto 1600, pushed to 3200). In the end I got through six rolls of film on the A-1 and Macha’s borrowed Holga, with a couple snapshots in between with the PowerShot. There are some very show-worthy shots, though if I can successfully integrate them into a theme is another issue.

I have some reflection to put up along with these, but for now just take a look the pictures, and get a little taste of Japanese country psytrance.

Back across the Tamagawa

Today I rode into Kawasaki for the first time in about half a year. I meant to take the Trek, and spent a good long time filling up the tires with the hand pump, but ultimately it was deemed unsafe for riding. Lack of use and being ferried in and out of the apartment half a dozen times has knocked a number of joints out of whack, and it’s not a stable ride. There are also the beginnings of rust on bolts and the chain, simply being covered doesn’t cut it, the poor girl is still outside most of the time.

So, since I had a date to keep I got on the unflagging Enjoy and did another 36 kilometer dash into my western neighbor. It’s ironic that a hundred dollar Chinese made jalopy made for shuttling between the grocery store and back is so easy to maintain. The odometer is over 2300 kilometers now, but that belies how much mileage I’ve put on the thing, since the device is less than two years old and I forget where I put it half the time after locking up. So probably we’re somewhere around 8000 kilometers now, but I have a feeling the battery will give out before I turn over 9999.

Anyway, as I said I had a meeting today in Kawasaki’s Takatsu-ku, recorder practice for my obligatory company band recital of Sukiyaki Friday. I made pretty good time, but unfortunately almost every convenient way into Kanagawa is a real pill to do on bike. The major roads are loaded with cars and buses, the air quality sucks and the street is all torn up along the very narrow shoulder. Once you get into Kanagawa though, and start down the nice jogging trails they have along the river, it’s all worth it. The rocky clouded skies at dusk are always dramatic, the lights of Kawasaki twinkle, and a flood of memories come rushing over the bank. It just about this time two years ago that Mikiko decided she was going to France for study, and we spent a quiet evening by the river drinking cold beer and talking in hushed, solemn tones.

I saw Ratatouille the other day, and I blanched a bit when Gusteau was spurring Remi out of the sewer for the first time, “If you always are looking back, you’ll never see what lays before.”

Oh, but what a hell of a look back it is.

Kyoto speaks to Pittsburgh speaks to Tokyo speaks to San Diego

In rice fields, past town centers, a slowly dying shopping center, an express train on the fours, a zoo, an Italian restaurant, and the end of me believing.

Yes and no, time is moving and no it doesn’t really matter because we all learn, and the days fall off the calendar. I looked out over the Kamogawa with the same eyes I saw the sun set on Heijo, and a hundred thousand men before me dreamt of power while I only thought of Keihan Shijo. One man’s agony is another’s delight, for the woman that left went on to be something I’ll never know, and it’s not worth really recognizing. The wheel of that damned rental Ford slipped through my hands, and in between the pools and sauna I beat my head on the dashboard while praying to God to cut my heart out.

The song haunted me all spring, I remember it on the radio while coasting up the off ramp at dusk as fresh as the full moon. Pavement, urban sprawl, Capcom and Tiajuana, it wasn’t meant to be anything for me but an ocean to drop to my knees before and look across.

San Dimas High School football rules

I have over half a dozen unfinished blog posts sitting in the queue, awaiting grammatical edits, lyrics, and photos. The problem is that my WordPress db was axed a last week and now I’m in a disorganized knot.

I think this is okay, because I sense that readership is down anyway… lots of photographs, half-thoughts.

This weekend I’m going to a hippie village in the middle of nowhere for a rave over the three-day holiday. I anticipate much writing, photography, psytrance, experimenting, and live, clucking poultry. If we’re lucky, I’ll muster the concentration and perseverance to get it up here for you to read about.

Things are such a mess right now, I wish I could go to bed and wake up an absolute master of HLSL.

Something worth remembering

Honey you are a rock
Upon which I stand
And I come here to talk
I hope you understand

That green eyes, yeah the spotlight, shines upon you
And how could, anybody, deny you

I came here with a load
And it feels so much lighter, now I’ve met you
And honey you should know, that I could never go on without you

Green eyes

Honey you are the sea
Upon which I float
And I came here to talk
I think you should know

That green eyes, you’re the one that I wanted to find
And anyone who, tried to deny you must be out of their mind

Cause I came here with a load
And it feels so much lighter, since I met you
Honey you should know, that I could never go on without you

Green eyes
Green eyes

–Coldplay

Less talk, red rum

I know the server has been down a lot recently, I’m sorry. Please write your local congressman and tell him to vote through the appropriations bill I put together to move AT to a dedicated server with a different host. But first we have to straighten out domain registration ownership.

This sign has been in my office a long time, longer than I have, in fact. It’s origin can only be told by probably three people in the company, but I didn’t feel it was prudent to ask them about it before I rescued it off of the “disposal heap” from last week’s spring cleaning. Someone might remember where it came from and get nostalgic, someone with seniority over me.

But now, it’s mine, bestowed with hardly masked indifference by our operations officer. Though it’s been a long time since I’ve had Abercrombie girls up on my walls, and in general one could say I have been moving towards a more adult-contemporary decor (well, aside from the Love Hina collector’s wall clock), I think this is a much needed step back to my roots. Call it a mid-life crisis regression, thirteen years early. In any case, it’s here now, glowing blithely on top of my dish carts, until it’s properly installed on the wall.

Look forward to seeing it for when you eventually come to visit, because as they say at Motel 6, “We’ll leave a light on for you.