After making the leap to WordPress 3.4 (from the mobile app… it was too easy), it seems my theme has been rendered inactive and null. So I suppose it has been just an imageless stream of text for the last month or so. I can’t get it back online right now, so I applied a canned theme so that the content is at least usable. I will probably take this opportunity to reboot the blog, but the priority for that is second to finding a job right now. 🙂
So, various factors of things changing at home have seen my writing take a dent in the last several months. I have posts, they’re just not migrated yet. I thought the WordPress Android app would solve all of this, but there’s a bug in the version that my phone uses that prevents me from signing in. In any case I’ll retroactively add those posts back ASAP, so follow the RSS. In the meantime, I now have a Google+ page where I also post my photography as close to daily as possible, so please follow. I will be making a David Ventura Photography fan page in Facebook soon as well, but for now I’ve cobbled together a working stopgap for the top page, which has been stripped down and is eventually going to target mobile, but it doesn’t look good in the Android browser yet.
Thanks for keeping up, and if you enjoy my writing or photography, follow me or subscribe with Google Reader!
At the beginning of my first serious foray into online presence, I had three things: a portfolio to get a job, a blog, and a Friendster account. The first became largely irrelevant after I was hired and moved out to Tokyo two weeks from graduation, and the latter was fraught with a lack of relevance and style, which quickly led it to obscurity. However, the blog, is something that I’ve more or less kept at faithfully for the better part of eight years. I began writing of my explorations in this fantastic land, and quickly supplemented that with the angst of trying to figure out what the hell I was supposed to be. If it was one thing you could count on it was my endless stream of diatribes yearning for import.
Over time I began to find my place, through the kindness of others and the occasional burst of learning from my own stubborn demands that the world fit my narrow-minded vision of right and wrong. I moved from writing about stray cats and working on weekends to endless, repeated praise for trance music and what I quaintly cherished as community. Then at some point I decided to start doing something public with my photography, whether people recognized me for it or not, and thus we arrived at end of the decade. In the time since ubiquitous computing (to use a word that was en vogue with SIGCHI when I was in college), the fragmentation of platforms, portals, and people has made it harder and harder to be noticed, with each microtransaction of communication becoming far and far less meaningful, any rare original thought swallowed in a sea of chaff.
Sheepishly I now realize that I’ve probably driven away the three or four actual people I had reading this public journal with the advent of my adoption of that watered-down sinkhole of information exchange Facebook. I say so much more often so much less, that it leads me to wonder in twenty years’ time will my children find interest in reading my journal or my tweets? The answer is probably neither, but just the same I’m glad I took the time to sit down and actually think about what I was doing before six months went by and I was scratching my head why 2011 felt so much more empty than any of the other years in recent past.
It’s most likely not a coincidence that the speed and density of my current background music, The Plateaux of Mirror, is likely nearly half that of the floor-rattling trance I usually have on at this time of night. Thank you Mr. Eno for helping me collect my thoughts and appreciate the last forty minutes a little more.
Now the real irony is I started this entry meaning to write about love… but there we have it, the attention span of mankind pared to a millisecond.
The gallery is back online. There was a server-side problem with one of the database tables being crashed, though I just realized it today. I suppose it may have been down for several weeks. Ideally, I’d like to receive some automated notice when it goes down…hmm. Anyway, sorry for the trouble, if you have trouble getting into the gallery or the random image on the sidebar again, I’d appreciate it if you let me know. Thanks.
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.
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.
[A brief conversation on MSN Messenger, sometime last autumn (paraphrased)…]
B: Why don’t you put comments on your blog?
R: Because Blogger doesn’t handle them well, the interface is all clunky and doesn’t look right with my template.
B: Well, it’d be really helpful if you had them. There’re so many things that you write about that I want to reply to.
R: If I had the ability to comment on my blog, you’d really use it?
B: Of course.
R: Alright. It’ll probably be really tough, but I’ll make something happen.
A couple weeks ago I struck some of the first blows to some long-delayed economizing so I can get my total budget under 1250 dollars a month. I’m not far off now, but I’m bound and determined to rub out my CMU loans by thirty as well build a sizeable “rest egg” for purposes yet undisclosed. As I said, things are in motion. I started with my phone service.
Softbank (formerly Vodafone K.K. formerly J-Phone formerly Digital Phone formerly…) promised upon their acquisition of Vodafone’s network low prices and simple billing. (Sound familiar?) The president of the company even went to far as to say something to the affect of, “I’m disgusted with overpriced service rates. I plan to lower the prices of our new service significantly.” Of course, I was all for this, since I never used my phone’s internet access, receive only about a dozen calls a month from one person, and somehow paid a variable forty to seventy dollars a month. However, the promises of people in power of course rarely amount to more than political /market posturing. What did we end up getting? A plan that proports 0-yen for unlimited calls and mail, which actually ends up costing about 4800-5000, plus the “unlimited calling” is only for the hours when everyone is at work (one of many fine print points in the contract). Is this starting to sound a little like an American provider? So there was that, and the staff have become even more not helpful than before. What pushed things over the top is the deluge of haughty endorsements with Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz the populace has been subjected to. So THAT’S what was siphoning all the money away from those rate cuts the executives promised.
So, enough was enough and for me– I wanted a sub-thirty dollar plan; and I got one. Willcom is my man now, a discount provider built on an antiquated, low-cost network commonly used for emerging economies (like much of southeast Asia). I no longer have leggy girls welcoming me into the service stores, because there aren’t any (girls or stores). I have a middle-aged, chronically coughing guy in a dirty jacket who sometimes can be found at Yodobashi being not too sure about a lot of the details of his company’s service. I have a prehistoric, palettized-display handset built by a network card manufacturer that looks more like an air conditioner remote than a cell phone. Supposedly I pay 2945 yen ($24.50) for basic service of about thirty outgoing minutes a month. However, any calls or email to others in the Willcom “network” are free. I haven’t gotten the first bill yet, so I’ll believe it when I see it, but this may fit my lifestyle, as it is. Amusingly, my cheapsie little phone grows faint after just a few days of non-use without a USB recharge to its dinky battery. I tried calling customer service today to update my address, but in a very non-Japanese fashion after receiving a busy signal was immediately placed on hold, and the phone died while I waited for the operator.
I’ve got a feeling things are going to work out just fine. But just in case, I kept my old phone for good measure. It does still have a working digital camera, compass, barcode reader, and television. Why waste a good piece of technology? 🙂
I’m really too exhausted to take a rational position on this, it’s been a hell of a week. Today’s hard lemon candy though is this. If you look closely, you may recognize the background of this chaotically assembled blog. Yes, it’s this, a shot from one of my trips to Saitama.
Now, I don’t have anything really against people enjoying my photography. If I was concerned about rights management I’d get serious and try to use a Creative Commons like license or something. Not that it would have any meaning to a teenage Chinese blogger. I think the general feeling is, “If you like what you see, it would be nice if you let me know.” But, how many times have I gone to Google Images and just grabbed a picture of a guy strumming a fish for my own purposes and given thanks beyond thinking it? So, not indignant, just amused.
It’s amazing the things you can find from web traffic logs.
Tonight I went to see the opening of Casino Royale tonight, and as I expected, it well worth the price of admission. Reserve tickets sold out the day before, and we barely got seats for the evening show, ending up in the third row. Still, it was fabulous and as my co-worker said while we waited for the subway home, I looked “very satisfied.” I’ll be going back to see it at least one more time, it’s not often that I have a chance to enjoy a movie in Tokyo, since everything is at least fifteen dollars a ticket.
Today is the first of December, and the start of a lot of things. Recently I’ve been making a lot of notes to myself about how I want to do things different for the last four, three, two, one months of the year, but despite recent general stagnancy, things will certainly be colorful for the next thirty-one days. I’ve given all of my memory cards to Rob for safe keeping, which means that I won’t be playing any games for a while. I’ve also imposed a “no food after ten p.m.” rule on myself, in an attempt to improve the quality of my sleep (and diet). Mothers tell their children in Japan, “Tabete kara nereba ushi ni narimasu yo“, which essentially means that people who fall asleep after eating will turn into cows. As I can’t think of any bovine qualities that are sexy, all the more reason to give up such nonsense, even if I do work until eleven at night. This just means I’ll have to cook more healthy meals to be consumed at dinner (albeit in front of my keyboard).
This weekend I’m decorating the tree (the same golden cupressus for the third consecutive year). Sunday I’m going to try and unload a mass of clothes and media at the village bazaar, and then try my hand at pottery. Next weekend there is a rave in a tunnel (yes) in Shizuoka, and the following weekend I am running in an ekiden (relay race), so starting on Monday I’m training to get my 3000 meter time to as close to ten minutes as possible. I’m wishing now that I’d gotten my Prefontaine video back from Nana before she stopped talking to me. After my run, on the 21st I’m slated to have a day off, which I may work a weekend for, since I have big secret plans for that day.
In between all this, I have a bunch of content upgrades coming down the pike which are set to go live by New Year’s. That’s my Christmas present to you, though, so I won’t spoil what it involves.
But what am I doing for the abbreviated winter holiday this year? Will I go to Vietnam at the last minute? Will I hitchhike to Aomori? Will I hole up at home like I did six winters before and work my tail off fabricating artifacts indicative of my future potential, that I may springboard into the next big phase of my life? Well, you know me…
The coldest blood runs through my veins
You know my name
My host provider, iPowerWeb, initially gave me a 500mb upload quota. Now new accounts get a 50gb quota. I’ve been hovering around 500mb for a couple months, mostly from all the pictures I store. Anyway, to get the 50gb quota that I’m entitled to, I need to move the site to another server, because the server that the site lives on is “full”. With RAIDs and what not, you’d think this would be transparent, but apparently it’s still a physical problem. Which means I have to back up all my files, and re-upload/configure my server and email to get to the new space.
Ok, well, thought I’d ask anyway. See you.