Category Archives: Life and Stuff

A Forced Day of Rest

Not much to report as I got the migraine spot early and that ruined the rest of the day. At least until it got better.

Everyone was out and about doing various things when I got the migraine aura and took some medicine. I suspect it’s because the unseasonably cool weather has been messing with my head (or I need to get up and about some more).

Either way, taking medicine led to me being sleepy the rest of the afternoon which led to me accomplishing  very little.

Eventually, though, I got better and we enjoyed our youngest’s birthday.

More on that in a future post.

Not Many Excuses to Go

A number of factors have combined to keep me locked up in the apartment: heat, humidity, and an age related general lack of interest in going outside unless I have a particularly good reason to do so.

The latter has caused me to cancel planned outings even during nice weather. The typical process involves a couple days of making plans and more plans but  then the day of the plan arrives and my brain starts rationalizing staying in by second guessing the necessity of following the plan. My brain is suddenly concerned about spending and spent energy and all the bad and annoying things that can happen during the outing.

If it is hot and humid, or there’s a strong chance of rain, the process happens much faster.

In the end, I usually end up staying home.

This makes life kind of relaxing as well a whole lot cheaper. I just doesn’t give me much to write about.


Short Cut With a Hair Cut

The woman who cut my hair today laughed at my hair before she cut it. I deserved it, though. Sort of.

As I’ve written before, one of the odd revolutions over the past several years in Japan has been a change toward 10 minute, 10 dollar hair cuts. I’ve had them, as an afterthought, in train stations, and once when I was bored.

However, because I have a regular place I go, I often get the same barbers. However, I usually don’t get them consecutively.l

Today, though, I got the barber I’d got the last time I got haircut two months ago. She ran her fingers through my hair and laughed at how long it was. (Note: it wasn’t that long in a Beatles mop-top sense, but it was the longest she’d seen.)

I gave her some basic instructions and, after she finished laughing, she went to work. (Note Deux: I’m not joking, because I’m a regular, she knew my hair enough to laugh at it.) Because I’d timed it well, though, I got more than ten minutes.

In the end, it was slightly longer than I wanted but it looks pretty good. Next time I hope she won’t have a chance to laugh.



An Afternoon With Monsters and Popcorn

As has become tradition, I was recruited to escort our youngest to the latest Pokemon Movie. Unlike last year, though, I actually stayed awake for most of this one.

For reasons I don’t fully understand–I think some sort of Pokemon fan club was involved–our youngest secured a free ticket to the movie. She especially wanted to go today as it was opening day. I had lobbied for Monday when I’d get a cheaper ticket, but She Who Must Be Obeyed deviously produced a coupon that got me a cheaper ticket. (You can tell that she didn’t want to go.)

We arrived and secured our tickets and provisions and, after an odd delay that annoyed the father at the front of the line, we were able to go to our seats. (The delay was apparently caused by the cleaning crew having to clean up after a room full of kids.)

The movie was pretty good, or at least was more entertaining than last year’s version. I only caught myself drifting off a couple times which is a vast improvement over last year’s Pokemon and this year’s Detective Conan (I remember being there and that I ate popcorn and that Shogi was involved, but nothing else).

After the film our youngest complained about the endless line of trailers for an endless parade of other animated movies that delayed the start of movie. My only complaint, about the movie, was that even animated movies seem to have discovered that shaky-camera fight scene BS.

My biggest complaint, though, was the popcorn. It had random bits of other flavors scattered about in it. This meant that after several bits of salted popcorn, I’d suddenly get a stray piece of caramel popcorn or the theater’s dreadful Shoyu-Butter.

Those being the only problems, it was a good day out.

However, there’s another Pokemon movie scheduled for release this time next year. I suspect I’ll be attending that one, too. Hopefully I’ll get to choose a theater with better popcorn.


Of Phones and Inventory

I spent part of the day either on the phone or waiting for a phone call.

The rest of the day I spent cleaning and counting. (And denying. More on that in a minute.)

The phone calls were a back and forth with our cellular service provider.  What I was asking them to do turned out to involve lots of research and work on their part and I had to spend a lot of time on hold or hanging out at my desk waiting for them to call back. Luckily, our provider has excellent customer service and although they couldn’t do exactly what I was asking them to do, they told me how to do it. (And I will tomorrow.)

After that, I made one final pass through the pen hoard to decide what needs to go. That led to lots of second guessing and third guessing. That led to lots of pictures, some extra cleaning, and some extra research. It also led to me tracking down missing parts. (It also led to me including three more pens in the sale.)

That led to me deciding on prices which led to more research and a lot of doubt (so that I can avoid registering disappointment) and denial (so that I can avoid actually attempting to sell anything).

I’ll post the for sale list soon. There’s just one more thing I need to do.

Glorious Justified I Told You So

Because I have a lot of stuff I want to do but nothing I need to do I’ve been watching old episodes of American Pickers. This is a dangerous show. If you are a hoarder don’t watch it. If you love a hoarder, don’t let them watch it.

I remember seeing the show the last time I was back in the USA but only recently decided to look it up. When I saw it the first time, I didn’t realize how dangerous it was. The basic premise of the show (two guys digging through hoards for rusty, dirty hidden treasure) proves to hoarders that, yes, no really, that thing will be worth something some day.

Granted, the two pickers will walk into a farm containing 14 trailers full of stuff and emerge with only a few things, but the sale of those few things is enough to justify, to the hoarders at least, that their hoarding was. It also provides enough cash for them to acquire new pieces for the hoard.

I thought it might help inspire me to sell stuff (and it has) but it also puts that little seed in the back of the head that maybe that leg-shaped lamp is worth owning. That’ll be worth something some day.

Registering Up the Cash and Disappointment

As I sort through the pens and knives I want to get rid of, my head continues to dwell on a lesson I learned, for better and for worse,  back in Hayden, Colorado in the early 80s.

For reasons I don’t remember, there was some sort of sale going on in front of the old Quonset hut gymnasium at Hayden High School. It may have involved raising money for a band trip to California and I may have had some things for sale but that’s been long cast down the memory hole. (I have a vague sense that we were raising spending money but all I remember is that a sale of some sort was happening.)

What I do remember is that one key person associated with band had decided to sell a vintage cash register. It was pristine and in working condition and was quickly snatched up for a few hundred dollars by the curator of the local museum who had driven buy, seen the cash register, and then had done a high speed turn whilst pulling out her wallet. (Something like that.)

The key person associated with the band acted fairly smug with a few hundred dollars in his pocket until another band associated person arrived with a similar cash register. That was was not in working condition but they’d bothered to have a professional look at it and the professionals appraisal was well over a thousand dollars. (This was 1981ish when $1,000 was worth over $2,725 in today’s dollars.)

This caused great depression amongst both of the cash register people. The first was upset because he’d sold something valuable for a lot less than it was worth and the latter were upset because the former had guaranteed that their expensive item would never sell.

All this has me questioning what to charge for the items I want to sell. Which, of course, makes me overthink selling them. Cash may be king, but my brain thinks that a little more cash is even kinglier and that not selling things is quite safe and kingly indeed.

Something like that.

Necessary But Not as Planned

Today’s plans were much different than what happened, but what happened was necessary.

The plan was to sort the posts from this bit of blather into something resembling a book and then to work on the final exam for high school second year students.

Instead, because, well, because, I ended up organizing and reorganizing emergency kits and even managed to assemble a get-home bag to take to the school where I work. This started because I’ve been wanting to do this for some time and because I had a bag tucked away in a drawer and I suddenly decided to dig it out of its storage place. That’s when plans changed.

Once the bag was out of the drawer it started a cascade of cleaning and organizing. The bag had stuff in it, but a lot of it was old and needed to be updated. This is the good news, as it means that six years after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami it hasn’t been needed.

Of course, a lot of it was crap, too. A shocking amount of it fell under the “at the time seemed like a good idea” concept. Also, the bag had originally been organized as a “get home from Tokyo during a disaster” bag and that meant it had a lot of fire-making and cooking related items that I most likely won’t need to walk home the seven miles from work.

Instead, I decided to turn it into a large first aid kit with a few emergency items, including flashlights, water, and multi-tools.

This required lots more extra work than I thought it would and led to me reassembling first aid kits for other bags. It also led to a couple trips to the internet to order replacements for things.

Somewhere in there I sharpened a couple knives and figured out in which order I’m going to eat the outdated emergency food.


The Law of Diminishing Electronic Returns

No matter how you look at it, despite a lot of energy spent on my part, today was a wasted day.

I set about trying to figure out how to upgrade an old Android tablet and get a writing program working on Linux. The results were mixed.

The Linux project actually went well, eventually, and then it didn’t. I finally figure out how to install WINE, which in classic Linux tradition stands for the tautological “WINE Is Not an Emulator” (This makes more sense when you realize that Linux is actually GNU/Linux and that GNU stands for “GNU is not Unix.)

WINE lets me run Windows programs on Linux. After some tinkering I got the writing program running. The problem is that although I could open a new project, I couldn’t open the old one. After much fiddling and restarting, I finally gave up and checked to see if things were working as they should on Windows.

They were, with no trouble at all, and that means I have to decide if I want to spend more energy on making things work or if I should just give up and try a different program.

This is representative of my only problem with Linux: although it’s free, it represents a new hobby. You have to decide you want to understand it and have to want to work with it. Even the easy to use distributions such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint are great right up until something goes wrong and you have to learn how to learn how to fix it. For example, I started using it at work back in 2006 and liked it a lot. Then the school where I work got a new printer that wasn’t compatible with Linux. I never did manage to make things work and gave up on Linux for a while.

As for the tablet, once She Who Must Be Obeyed and I remembered the PIN (long story almost resulting in divorce, sort of) I was able to get things working. The trouble is, the plan to root it and install new software hit the snag that 1) the tablet is made by an obscure Indonesian manufacturer which means 2) most information about it is in Indonesian which means 3) I’m not sure what’s compatible with it.

At this point, I’m trying to decide if trashing it might not be more worthwhile than playing with it. I already have enough hobbies, Linux, for example.

On the other hand, if I’m just going to throw it out, I might as well see how badly I can ruin it before I do. That might be kind of fun.

Playing with Old Stuff

After last week’s adventure with an old computer, I thought that today I’d play with more old stuff.

Electronics tend to gather the way old, unread books do. They represent the triumph of hope over schedule. I intend to read the books, someday, and I tend to use/modify the old electronics but there are other things in the way, usually other books and other electronics. And other hobbies.

First I messed with the old computer for a while, and managed to avoid swearing at anything. Tomorrow, though, I’ll try to make some software work on it and I suspect our girls will learn some new words.

I also decided to play with an old tablet computer that I bought for She Who Must Be Obeyed a few years ago. My plan was to win her over the same way I won her over to digital cameras: introduce a cheap but useful one into her life and let her see the benefits. It turned out, though, to be a bad choice. The tablet was cheap and proved to be hard to use and she didn’t use it more than a couple days before abandoning it.

I kept it with plans to jailbreak it as a way to practice jailbreaking such things. Instead, it’s waited in a drawer for a long time. I’ll play with it tomorrow and see if it’s worth playing with more. If I can remember the pass code.

There’s also another tablet that I might get to play with, too. After the initial failure I bought a better one but it was barely taken out of the box. In fact, I think our oldest used it the most after we took her tablet away.

I’ll need to learn the pass code to that one, too.  I’ll have to ask our oldest about that.