Category Archives: Random

Once More With Caution

The guy I wanted was there, but he’d just finished another guy so I ended up with a woman.

This actually ended okay.

A couple weeks ago I got a haircut at my usual place and a woman who’d cut my hair before was in a mood to ignore almost every instruction I gave. The result was a decent hair cut that was much longer than I wanted. This wouldn’t have bothered me that much except they guy who’d cut my hair before had done a great job and she hadn’t.

Today, just over two weeks later, my hair was already starting to look shaggy and since I was in the area I decided to stop by and see if the guy was there. If he wasn’t, I was going to walk past and try again another day.

Luckily he was there and appeared to be finishing with a client. I walked in and was immediately redirected to a woman who walked out of the back room.

This woman had cut my hair a while ago and, as is the tendency of the women in the shop, she’d left it kind of long.

However, this time she seemed to understand what I wanted and did a surprisingly good job.

I kind of wish the other woman had been there, though, so I could show her what to do next time.

Better Belated than Never

Today I finally decided to do my New Year’s cleaning. That left me with a bit of a mess.

However, a bit of a mess is much less of a mess than was there before.

Today was the purge of the “No, really, some day I will; no really I will” projects and artifacts. I did this to clear things off the floor and get them on to shelves. This is always my goal when cleaning.

This meant I had to throw out a lot random scraps of lumber (long story), some of which had frozen to snow outside (even longer story), and shed the last of the handmade notebooks. This involved actually pulling them apart so that the paper can be recycled. The disassembly process is complicated enough that, for a few minutes, it made me reconsider getting rid of them.

The next step is to purge more things from the shelves, especially the random bits of things that have begun to gather on the top.

The final step will be to convince our oldest and She Who Must Be Obeyed to do the same thing to the other side of the variety room.

I don’t have my hopes up.

Piled Higher and Deeper

Every couple of years we need a snow shovel. This is why we don’t actually own a show shovel. This gives us a lot in common with our town government.

This past Monday the Japanese government finally flipped the winter switch (no, really, they have one, look it up) and we got 10.6 inches (27 cm) of snow.

In order to get work, I was volunteered to warm up and clean snow off the car. This meant I would have to shovel snow for the first time in a millennium. In fact, if I remember correctly, the last time I had to shovel snow was during the George H. W. Bush administration. (That was in the last millennium, which was a thousand years ago. Do the math.)

I had to shovel this time, though, with a folded cardboard box.

The first thing that impressed me was that the snow was terrific. It was a perfect skiing powder. Not too fluffy and not too sticky. It’s the kind of snow that rarely falls on Japanese ski slopes and it made we want to take my bad knees skiing. This also made the snow easy to clear, although my neighbors seemed to struggle.

One kid, who had an actual shovel, was clearing snow as if he didn’t want to do it or didn’t know what to do. He was chipping away and bits of ice, but was avoiding the worst patches of snow. I almost offered to take the shovel away from him as I was faster with the folded cardboard.

I cleared the snow off our car and from in front of our car; then I cleared the spaces in front of a couple neighbors’ cars. After that, I just sort of walked around enjoying the cool air and the snow.

Luckily, whilst I was clearing snow to go to work, I got the notice that work had been cancelled.

Of course, because we only get a snowpocalypse every couple of years, our town government doesn’t have any snow removal equipment. This makes our car clearer than the roads it will be driving on.

Starting the Wrong Things in the Wrong Place

One of the problems with visiting the in-laws for the new year’s holiday is that the new year gets started in the wrong place.

Any plans I have to start something new have to be delayed until I get to my usual place. Until then I’m subject to the plans and whims of others, much of which I’m not informed about until the last minute.

The result is that the bad habits have already started.

Today I did get a few merciful hours of time alone which I used mostly productively. The problem is I don’t have all the usual tools and it was easy to waste time doing other things.

Once I get home, I’ll already be out of the habit of starting new habits and will most likely end up falling back into old ones.

I’ll find out tomorrow when we get back to the usual place.

I will also probably have to shed a couple pounds or four that have been put on thanks to the permanent “all you can eat and drink and if you say no there’s a fight” system at the in-laws. We’ll see about that too.

Cleaning Up Before Cleaning

I should have been cleaning, but instead I was straightening and organizing, which is sort of like cleaning but not really.

It’s the season of cleaning here in Japan and we are getting ready to head off to my in-laws. This means we spent more time organizing the house for our return than we did actually cleaning.

The suitcase we won’t need was stored away, but that involved moving and then replacing/reorganizing the pile the protects/blocks the storage closet.

I was organizing the things I plan to drag along as if I will actually work on the things I drag along. Bringing them, though, makes me feel as if I have the potential to be responsible so they do, in fact, serve a purpose.

I will probably not review the notebooks I’ll be finishing on the trip, but I will be able to take some pictures.

Christmas Cheerishness

Today, our oldest had club practice. She Who Must Be Obeyed had work. I had nothing to do. A few presents were opened, but most had already been purchased and delivered.

Tonight, as is our family tradition, we had chicken, lots of bread and cheese, and way too much cake. (Wine, beer, and Japanese whisky might have been involved in a couple cases as well.)

Tomorrow the Christmas lights around Japan will be gone as if Christmas never happened and the focus will be on the New Year’s holiday, which is the real winter event in Japan.

Now, we have a few days to prepare for a trip to visit my in-laws. This means we’ll do nothing for a couple days and then madly pack at the last minute.

That’s part of the fun.

ps: Merry Christmas, everyone. All the best.

If Not Purging Then Modding

I have a bunch of things I’ve planned to work on over the winter break, including purging a bunch of crap, some via a giveaway, and that means I spent a good portion of yesterday and today modifying pens.

Specifically I have a bunch of gel ink pens that I’ve acquired by various means and although I have no plan to use them because I don’t like the design, I like the refills in some of them and I want to see if I can salvage something by making them fit in my Tactile Turn Mover pen (which takes Pilot G2 sized refills).

The modding process involved a lot of cutting and crumbling of aluminum foil and a bit of swearing. Eventually I found an old Pilot G2 refill and pulled the black plug out of the end of the refill. After a careful bit of shaving, trial and error, and more swearing I made it fit the Sarasa refill and it seems to work in the Tactile Turn.

This means I now have five refills I can swap in and out as necessary. (The rest of the pens, most of which came from various ISOTs will be given away someway, somehow.)

Of course, I didn’t think to record the modding process so there are no pictures. More on that, and  few pictures I hope, in a future post.


One Little Piece at a Time

I was worried our youngest might learn some new words, but in the end, things turned our much simpler than I thought they would.

I mentioned before how my headphones and video card all died on the same day. Via the magic of the internet, and a part of a day spent not marking, I managed to find a part that seemed to fit my ancient, in computer/dog years, PC and didn’t cost more than a replacement computer. I also found easy to follow instructions for installing it.

This means, of course, that I was expecting problems.

The part arrived and I warned our youngest not to listen to anything I was about to say, especially if I sounded angry. However, I was able to get things up and running surprisingly quickly and without any swearing.

I was also informed that I’d be getting a replacement set of headphones. Eventually.

This means all technical difficulties are more or less solved (except for a couple other parts that need replacing).

Then there’s the problem of the dead fly in the cheese. More on that in a future post.

More than Enough is Plenty Enough

As is typical of the way I do things, I’m once again buried in empty notebooks.

I’ve been making good progress getting through them, but they still abound whilst more get delivered to my door. It’s fair to say I’ve reached the state of STABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy).

Because of this, I’ve decided not to renew my Field Notes subscription after I receive my last installment. I’ve enjoyed being a subscriber and getting the occasional surprise bonuses that subscribers get, but I’ve reached the point where a subscription is not worth the money and the lack of storage. (I suspect, that now that I’m not renewing my subscription, Field Notes will now produce its greatest editions ever and give the best freebies ever.)

I used to give away the craft versions that accompanied the first installment of every subscription, but lately I’ve been giving away the “Colors” or limited editions because I know I’ll never use them all.

Anything I like I can usually buy here in Japan. (In fact, I’ve got a monopoly on America the Beautiful editions thanks to my favorite source.) Or, if I’m in a hurry, I can order them directly from Field Notes while supplies last.

Letting the subscription die also frees up a bit of cash to try out a copy or two of other brands.

Granted, that defeats the purpose of winnowing the stash, but I find it harder to acquire new notebooks if I have to pay as I go, rather than paying all at once. Also, because I live in Japan, there’s always a cool notebook with better paper that has to be tried.

This time next year I’ll probably still have too many notebooks, but at least I’ll have pretended to try to do something about them.

Another Year Mercifully Gone By

Well, that was another one I’m glad is now days gone by.

I’ve mentioned before, although I can’t find the post to like to it, that the one year of my life I wouldn’t want to repeat was when I was twenty. I was in a bad mood that alternated between cranky and dazed and then all of a sudden one day I was 21 and the spell seemed to break.

Now I have to add age fifty to the years I don’t want to repeat.

Lots of stuff happened this year that caused lots of extra stress. There were deaths and illnesses and lots of extra crap from work.

There were also pressures from extended family, mostly as a result of illness and injury and that has muddled things up on this side of the island as such things stress out She Who Must Be Obeyed.

As for writing, except for this bit of blather, I’ve been in a bad mood that alternates between dazed and lazy. I’ve asked friends to read things, sent them manuscripts, and then gotten no response at all (I’m zero for three now). That has me feeling down and has Kimberly laughing and saying she told me so. Unfinished projects seem to abound and I’m stuck about what to work on first.

There are a lot of decisions that keep getting put off.

That said, I got through October better off than normal. I haven’t been productive, but I’m finally getting ink inventory out of the house which has picked up my mood some.

Now we’ll see what fifty-one is like.