Stopping for a moment

I can hear the blood in my ears.

In the distance, a rooster crows. My flesh is red from the late summer sun. Sweat is lacquer-heavy in my hair. The car smells like my grandmother’s old Cadillac; it’s the smell of early 90s cloth interior and wood trim.

In my mind I can still feel the waves of arresting pitch.

Another escape, another break in the tides.

A brief pause

Work has reverted to the Saturday/Sunday combo mode again temporarily, so most of my plans this weekend were squashed. However I did manage to leave on Sunday around 4:30 so I could visit my friend Daisuke’s restaurant in Edogawabashi. He’s in the process of renovating the new building for business, and selling excess dishware in the process.

I met some new people and made friends. It’s hard for me to remember names off the bat until I get someone’s personality lodged in my mind, so I try to associate faces with kanji (brother 聖也、sister 麻衣、father 弘).

You have been approved for transit

I’ve been planning it for a while, but a few days ago I finally decided to set aside the time for a trip to Vietnam. I took a couple days off of work and arranged a flight to the nation occupied so much of the American conscience in the late 1960s. Since our countries are still not the best of friends politically, an application for a tourist visa is required from the sleepy embassy in Moto-Yoyogi. Yesterday I did just that.

(This photograph was taken with my new 8-megapixel camera phone, not too shabby visual quality. I didn’t even have to apply any of my curve and sharpening Photoshop actions.)

I chose Hanoi over Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), as the city experiences 80mm less rain on average in September, though still technically the tail end of the rainy season. I’m just beginning to sift through the information on Wikitravel, but already it seems I have taxi scams, motorbike versus pedestrian, diarrhea, and cobra blood wine all waiting for less than three dollars. Hedging my bets, I’ve already starting digging up travelogues of vegetarian backpackers.

Oh Heart of Asia…

Strawberry Swing

Woken up in the morning, there was a fragrance hanging on. There was a painting hung in my heart and a melody strung around my head. I’d be asleep for so long, I’d nearly forgotten it. But the sunshine and the flowers were calling, and I ran outside barefoot to meet them.

They were sitting
They were sitting on the strawberry swing
Every moment was so precious

They were sitting
They were talking under strawberry swing
Everybody was for fighting
Wouldn’t wanna waste a thing

Cold, cold water bring me round
Now my feet won’t touch the ground
Cold, cold water what ya say?
When it’s such…
It’s such a perfect day
It’s such a perfect day

I remember
We were walking up to strawberry swing
I can’t wait until the morning
Wouldn’t wanna change a thing

People moving all the time
Inside a perfectly straight line
Don’t you wanna curve away?
When it’s such…
It’s such a perfect day
It’s such a perfect day

Now the sky could be blue
I don’t mind
Without you it’s a waste of time

Could be blue
I don’t mind
Without you it’s a waste of time

Could be blue,
Could be grey
Without you I’m just miles away

Could be blue
I don’t mind
Without you it’s a waste of time

— Coldplay

Leaving Las Vegas

There is a point in your life, that you realize, if not literally then emotionally, that you are more less alone, and being with someone is like a hit of cocaine: a burst of hot yearning doused with satisfaction, but then still just another papered-over hole.

You can fill it with alcohol, sex, ego or a combination thereof, but every time satiated it slowly empties, substance quickly seeping away like a linen bucket. For a man of apparent success and obsession, there are an awful lot of facades you can come home to. You gamble on your career because it doesn’t ask anything of you emotionally, and in turn that’s what you end up with: ephmeral pleasure and seductive lies you take to bed. You keep telling yourself you really ought to stop and just fold, but in the end you’ll die at the tables– you can’t leave Las Vegas.

The simple life

Today marks the first time I’ve had two consecutive days off in roughly two months. Though I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I have made a full recovery, my spirits are much higher and there’s a spring in my step that hasn’t been there for a while. I awaken with no difficulty, fatigue, or dread in my heart. I am happy to rise, and when walking down the street I am driven to song. As the bird says, “I’m not singing because I am happy, I’m happy because I sing”.

Yesterday I managed finally getting the winter coats and blankets into the vacuum compressed bags, as well as my grand recabling done. Dust bunnies have been relocated to the slums of Dubai and many a zip strip keeps the myriad of wires behind my AV setup manageable.

Today I will finish migration of my phone address book and tomorrow be rid of the accursed Willcom. I also will repair the steering column damage done to my green cruiser bicycle, in addition to finishing cleaning. I have prepared meals for myself two days in a row! I know this is your standard (well duh, you’re out of college, fool) terrority for those single age twenty-nine and over, but you have to understand how complete lethargy from overwork drives away all motivation to not only prepare food, but eat it as well.

Yesterday I had a three hard-boiled eggs and a bowl of natto rice for breakfast. Today I took the preparation a step further and made miso, carrot, and boned salmon soup from the last unfurried ingredients in the refridgerator. It was quite nice actually. And my rice got a power-up as well from today’s serving of white and brown with five grain mix added for good measure. I even brewed up a pot of my classic spearmint tea.

Nothing fancy, but the ingredients and the intention are pure.

I am counting the days until I remove television from my life completely. Once I assemble a plan for a filing system for prints and negatives, I will make the switch and my dear Toshiba will be reallocated for resale/recycling. Huzzah for books and music.

Last night I also managed to visit the darkroom for the first time in about three months. I am getting better, in terms of technique. It’s more a matter of patience and thinking before moving on (duh), but still I am pleased to have far less pictures stuck together or developer burns from poor washing. It bothers my conscience how much water and chemicals are used for my hobby, however.

In any case, I would show you the prints but as you know the monitor is an inferior medium for displaying images when compared to paper, so you’ll just have to visit me and come see my albums.

Speaking of albums, I upgraded Gallery to 2.3, the only change you’ll really notice though are the slideshows are far nicer than before, thanks to Piclens. Now if only the Gallery integration worked with WordPress properly…

Now that my workstation is nearly set up, I can start the DAM workflow I’ve been planning for months. Remaining big ticket items are raising the monitors to my eye-level, and a 64-bit copy of Photoshop to go with Windows 7.

…slowly, but surely, growing.

New to numb the old

Work has kind of shut me down physically and mentally the past several months. I think year on year I need to focus on achieving all of my artistic and organization goals by the end of June because summer just makes everything grind to a standstill. However, I’ve managed to take a collective twenty minutes at work and make a number of well-informed purchases to improve my life once I have the chance to live it again.

Since the passing of my Winbook J4, I have completed the initial phase of migration to my new PC, Cheyenne. I bought a 24-inch Nanao LCD to go with my monster machine and after figuring out a way to squeeze it onto my desk I’ve been enjoying it immensely. All that remains is a great recabling of my computer and AV area and I’ll be set to go. The only significant drawback is what plagues most media enthusiasts, lack of hardware support. The centerpiece of my photographic work, the DiMage Scan Elite 5400 II does not work in 64-bit Windows 7. My Handspring doesn’t seem to sync either, but this is less of a bother. The upshot is I have to keep my Windows 2000 box under the desk for the time being to handle the initial stages of data processing.

My POS PHS Willcom phone lived up to its purchase price and the microphone stopped working, rendering the device to be little more than a glorified pager. Since the dude at Willcom Counter was rude, unsupportive, and inflexible regarding my inability to communicate vocally unless I agreed to a two-year contract extension, the offices of David Ventura will no longer conduct business with the company, and I have jumped ship to au. I now have (for free) I new phone with an 8-megapixel camera and bevvy of useful accountrements for a measly 1400 yen a month, or about fourteen dollars (a third what I was paying with Willcom).