Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hurry Onward Lemmiwinks Or You Will Soon Be Dead

So Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg.  Or, that's the story that he is sticking to so far.  The way my fantasy football season is going I am surprised he isn't on my team.  Nice move Plax.  
Went for a walk around the Imperial Palace today and had my first experience on the subway.  It was extremely painless.  It was also Sunday afternoon and my understanding is that this rush hour is the time you want to avoid the subway system.  The palace was cool but because I am a lazy bastard I didn't make it to the palace in time to check out the gardens which close at 3pm.  I got some photos though which I would be sharing if I hadn't managed to leave my mini USB cord at the office.  Tough for you I suppose.
Did some Japanese lessons this evening.  Progress has been relatively slow but I am able to pick up more each time.  The structure for the Rosetta Stone stuff is actually pretty good.  They have various methods to teach vocabulary and grammar.  There is a lot of repetition and the software actually recognizes the quality of the users speech.  I am halfway through the first unit and I am pretty far from actually speaking Japanese.  Slowly but surely.
OK, time to go to sleep.  The second week of work in Tokyo starts tomorrow.  
Grind hard.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

When It Rains It Pours, The Barrage Hardcore

Watching a lot of Japanese television.  I just saw the retirement ceremony of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks baseball team manager Sadaharu Oh in which roughly half of the team cried.  While I am a firm believer that "there is no crying in baseball" I have to say, it was pretty moving.
Wikipedia had a pretty interesting tidbit about Mr. Oh:

"In 2001, American Karl "Tuffy" Rhodes, playing for the Kintetsu Buffaloes, hit 55 home runs with several games left, equalling Hawks' manager Sadaharu Oh's single-season home run record. The Buffaloes played the Oh-managed Fukuoka Hawks on a late weekend series in Fukuoka. Rhodes was intentionally walked during each at-bat. Hawks catcher Kenji Johjima could be seen grinning as he caught the intentional balls. Oh denied any involvement and Hawks battery coach Yoshiharu Wakana stated that the pitchers acted on his orders, saying, "It would be distasteful to see a foreign player break Oh's record." Rhodes completed the season with 55 home runs. League commissioner Hiromori Kawashima denounced the Hawks' behavior as "unsportsmanlike." Hawks pitcher Keizaburo Tanoue went on record saying that he wanted to throw strikes to Rhodes and felt bad about the situation."

Apparently, in his day, the guy could hit baseballs.
I have also been watching this show which is pretty damned hilarious.  They take comedians and challenge them to make 5 randomly selected audience members laugh.  The audience members try their hardest not to laugh and the comedians are all put in the same set/situation.  Even not knowing the language, that junk was funny.
Japanese tv is all about food.  Man its hard watching tv here if you are hungry.  That and ice skating, good gravy there is a lot of ice skating on tv.  
Went for a walk around Shibuya and Harajuku today.  It was pretty awesome.  The park at Harajuku is pretty amazing.  I need to spend more time there.  I am thinking I will try to hop the train tomorrow and go into central Tokyo, maybe check out the imperial palace.
I have some photos from today but I'm not in the mood to upload them right now.  Tough noogies for you.
OK, hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

You Need To Watch The Way You Talkin' To Me Yo

Survived the trip to Tokyo.  Fairly painless really.  Flight was about 12 hours and I watched about four movies the best of which was Step Brothers.  I am pretty glad United decided not to edit it for content.  It would have been terrible if they cut the swear words.
I arrived in Tokyo Friday afternoon and was hurried onto an airport shuttle towards the hotel in the building the office is in.  I wandered around for a bit and then was met by (OK that was weird, someone just dialed me from downstairs and asked if I had a bible - the answer was no) the representative from the real estate people.  The lady was quite nice and threw me into a taxi with my bags for a 5 minute taxi ride to the apartment.  Anyway, long story short, I made it.  I found a grocery store bought some Suntory and ate some instant noodles.  
I spent the next couple of days settling in and getting familiar with the neighborhood.  Its been pretty interesting walking around seeing a mixture of small neighborhood shops and gigantic lcd screens at the Shibuya crossing.  The combination of grow shops, hippy stores with rasta hats and "rest" hotels in my neighborhood is awesome.  I need to start trying the restaurants around here.  There is literally a restaurant every third storefront. 
I took a few photos walking around.
That was a lot of people.  
Started working on my Japanese language software and now I can tell the difference between "the boy is drinking milk" and "the girl is drinking milk".  I feel pretty good about that progress.
Today was a holiday from work, Labor Thanksgiving Day.  I got soaked walking around this afternoon.  My goretex coat is apparently no longer waterproof which I am a little steamed about.  I think it might have to go back to REI.
Oh, and if you haven't seen the new Kanye video - you're welcome.  The video is inspired by the movie American pop - which frankly I didn't like but the style is bonkers.  Kia said it better than I ever could have when she said "I like animated Kanye better than real Kanye".

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Guess Jeans, She Charged 35 Beans

Shuttling towards the city for the last time for a while.  Headed to Tokyo tomorrow morning at 11am.  Today was pretty kosher.  I didn't get to catch up with everyone completely as I had hoped.  Such is life.  
Printed some key information (flight stuff, phone numbers, a map or two) before I left work so I feel like I am armed with enough information that if I am reduced to pointing and grunting I should be able to fumble my way through the airport to apartment process.  
I am pretty ragged at this point.  I have been operating on 5ish hours of sleep the last week or two. I have gotten pretty used to getting up at 5:30am to make the 6:30am shuttle to Mountain View.  Its a little rough in the morning but the commute down is both fast and I don't have a tough time sleeping as the shuttle leaves early as nuts.  Getting in at 7:30am has been nice because I feel somehow more productive if I am in early and there are always Lucky Charms for me.
Going to Bar Tartine tonight with the wifey.  That restaurant is fast becoming one of my favorites.  I took my brother over there when he was in town a couple months ago and he was appropriately impressed.  
Saw the Quantum of Solace movie last night and it was pretty good.  James Bond shot some people and beat up a few more.  I like the casting of the recent movies and the lack of terrible puns has been a welcome change.  
This track came on my ipod as I hopped on the shuttle and I'll be damned if its not worth sharing:

Unnnh.  Grimey.
OK, some BI to handle this evening.  
挽くハード (grind hard)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Next Year You're Jamaican Eating Tofu Steaks

OK, going to be a quick entry.  Already in the city on the commute home and I am jumping off at Civic Center to meet Kia at the movies.  Going to go see the new Bond movie.  New Bond (Daniel Craig) is my favorite second Bond based on the last movie, but supposedly this one kind of stinks.  It might be back to Moore as my second favorite before the evening is over.  We will see. 
Work is winding down in Mountain View.  Reviews have been delivered and I have my last big presentation tomorrow.  I have scheduled time on my calendar to clear out my desk but I think the hour I have booked may not really cover the time needed to clean up that nightmarish mess.  Screw it.
Had a good weekend.  It was pretty relaxing but we spent a big chunk of Sunday running errands in order to get me ready to go this week.  I haven't packed a single thing but whatever.  Clothes and an Xbox and I will be good for about 3 years.  
Excitement is being weighed right now with some anxiety but that seems pretty healthy.  Had a pep-talk from Sara earlier which was encouraging.  
OK, grind hard.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Attach Dynamite To Opportunity, Blow Your Chance

Think your vote doesn't count?  Wrongo.  Well, wrongo if you live in a swing state or you happen to be registered in AK and voting for senator.  Apparently the latest tally of votes has Mark Begich leading Ted Stevens by, wait for it now, three votes.  Three votes!
Good gravy.  
Almost back to my stop on the shuttle.  Laundry tonight and probably something quick for dinner.  Still trying to get my life in order before my trip next week.  The nervousness about the trip is wearing off and being replaced with excitement.  Neil said he would be disappointed if my ringtone wasn't the "I'm Turning Japanese" song.  Shit, who needs a ringtone when I can sing the song and do the flashdance running in place dance move?  
"I'm a maniac, maniaaaac on the floor!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Form A Line, Jack Ya, Then Pawn The Shine

Tuesday.  Done. 
Getting on a plane for Japan on Thursday of next week.  What does that mean?  Mostly it means I am busy as shit trying to get my life together before I blow this popsicle stand.  Finished writing reviews for my team today, it always takes longer than I originally estimate.  Lots left to do both at work and not before I am actually ready to go.
I have been getting lots of advice from coworkers who have been to Japan before which has been really helpful.  Mostly they are giving me advice on what food to eat and mostly they just keep saying Ramen.  I'm cool with that.
Thinking about bringing my Xbox with me.  I don't think the PS3 would make the trip and it weighs about a ton and a half.  I am trying to scoop a few games to bring with me to Japan so if people have recommendations holla atcha frog.
I haven't blogged for like 5 days or something and they were an eventful few days.  Friday was the big Wurmcock (Wurm/Hitchcock) wedding.  The wedding itself was on Baker Beach in the afternoon.  It was a good thing they scheduled the wedding for the afternoon too because around 5pm the fog rolled in fast and the beach was about 15 degrees colder and a lot less photo-friendly.  Right after the wedding our alternator died on the way from the wedding to drop the dog off before the reception.  After the tow truck dropped us off and our buddy came and picked us up we made it to the reception which was - bonkers.  It was pretty damned fun, the DJ was very legitimate and I danced like a raver on ecstasy when the "Barbie Girl" song comes on.  It was the perfect combination, sweet wedding and serious party.
The rest of the weekend was spent recovering and spending a little time with Mike and Maria who were in town from Santa Fe and Jules who was down from Anchorage.  Easily three of my favorite people.
OK, made it up to the city.  Going to shut it down.
Grind hard.

*Update - So it turns out my last post was November 3rd and so if your main source of news is this blog I feel obligated to point out that Obama won.  His election made me proud to be from this country.  Or, you know, technically from part of Canada.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Night Can Never Come Soon Enough For Me

Yeah OK, so this post is mostly YouTube videos.  Don't like it, well go read some election news.  Speaking of the election, holy nuts, everybody is pretty whipped up about this one.  I have to admit, I am pretty excited to go vote tomorrow.  Old school, dropping the ballot in the box and getting my sticker.
Check out some music:
A little Raphael Saadiq:

He re-works that Dre beat pretty damned well.

Another Saadiq track:

The video to this one is pretty alright, but some dumb ass on YouTube disabled embedding - thanks Universal Music - asses.
While I am on the whole soul music thing, the new Al Green album is pretty legit (based on what I have heard on YouTube so far).  ?uestlove produced the bulk of the album and I am pretty impressed that he was able to get pretty close to Al's classic sound with the tracks I have heard.  

Get 'em Al.  
Someday I will do a post about my love for old school R&B and *some* funk but that day is not today.
Go vote.  Oh, and please, please don't deprive my home state of Alaska their much cherished Governor for the remainder of her FIRST term.  We need her to solve the moose eating bushes issue in Anchorage.  Is chicken-wire the answer?!  We need her help!  Wasilia needs its leader!
OK, grind hard.