Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

Follow-up questions…

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

This weekend, I had another one of these slumps… where staying at home seems a waste of time but going out is not much better because it isn’t really comfortable anywhere (at least in winter).

The problem was compounded by this dreaded feeling of “I should be doing something instead of nothing” and “I wish things were different”.
Steve Vai, in one of the many youtube interviews he gave, once went on record saying “he only felt bored one afternoon” which he seems to remember vividly as it was so unusual for him.

Great for him. Me on the other hand feel pretty limited in what I can do at my present location so I was lying in bed thinking “I wish things were different” – as a somewhat responsible adult with working experience, such a statement is not really useful though. The inevitable follow-up question thus is “how should things be different”?

I became aware of the requirement to ask a follow-up question thanks to age, wisdom and training (be it professional or as a result of bringing up kids).

Unfortunately, the answer to that is not really simple. Every decision results in some consquences with which you will have to live. How far you want to go is up to you.

A slightly cautious “happy 2019”

Monday, January 7th, 2019

Ah, well…. another year… I wonder what will happen this year. Anyway, if we’re really to talk about resolutions, I’ve decided to pursue my goals more vehemently although I’m somewhat afraid of the consequences for the people around me.

Nonetheless, to all of you out there: happy 2019, may your dreams come true!

Kabutomushi are awesome

Saturday, August 18th, 2018

In Japan, there is a famous and well-loved beetle called カブト虫 (kabutomushi), which goes by the common name of Japanese rhinoceros beetle.

Anyway, here’s the wikipedia link to it:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_rhinoceros_beetle

You might have seen pictures and if you watch anime, you will probably have heard of them. However, these things are huge. Check this out:

(No banana for scale but an adult’s hand)

They’re completely harmless but it scratches slightly when they hold on tight due to the slightly hooked ends of their legs.

They can be kept as pets although they don’t live very long. Since they’re mostly active at night they will sleep during the day. They eat jelly and fruits e.g. pieces of apples and watermelons.

For some reasons, they will invariably fight an other species of beetle called クワガタ (kuwagata) when their paths cross.

The above picture was taken at a exhibition on beetles in Shinjuku.

Can’t unsee it…

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

every time I walk by…

reminds me of this:

(shamelessly stolen from https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/en.futurama/images/9/96/Futurama_roberto.png/revision/latest?cb=20110619182621 )

The pain of moving…

Monday, December 4th, 2017

across continents. Moving to another continent at the end of the month and besides being scared shitless, there’s so much to do when you need to clean out your apartment. So much to throw away…. because there is so much that accrues over time. I found old guitar cables, not used for 15 years. They definitely need to go. And since I’m boarding the plane with just three pieces of luggage, I can’t afford to bring almost anything. Shipping is quite costly.

But then again, so much memories are buried in all that stuff.

Finally a good tracks layout…

Friday, August 25th, 2017

The Tomy tracks are a great toy. Not only for kids, also for parents and grandparents. And with all the available parts you can create some really astonishing layouts.

One of the properties of a well-planned layout is the direction in which the trains can run. Sometimes accidentally and sometimes on purpose, tracks limit trains running in just one direction.

This one is not and it uses all the special tracks parts that we have at the moment: crossroads, switches, the bridge:

If this doesn’t sound like much too you, try building some tracks for yourself and you’ll be surprised.

Is what I’m doing really alright?

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Sometimes I get a bit thoughtful and slightly depressed. There is so much going on in this world and without doubt I’m engaging in many activities as well.

But should I? Is it really ok to spend time, again, not with my family? Shouldn’t I be with him? Does it matter as long he is still very young?

See the previous post… preparing for that test took a lot of time although I spent many hours reading late in the night and tried to keep time away from the family to a minimum. Those were difficult three years. My resolution is not to let that happen again, at least not in those dimensions.

But then again, the business world seems to be turning faster and faster and keeping necessarily ends in concessions. With personal changes looming I wonder to what degree my environment will accept my resolution to put the family first.

Then again, I want him to proud of me once he is old enough to understand what that means. I want his eyes to light up when he says “my dad…”. I’ve chosen my path partly based on such considerations but as the future is hard to predict he might not necessarily share my interests, neither in profession nor in hobbies. But that’s alright – he is a different human being and should have his own interests. I just hope he will be able to see through different genres and recognize the effort I made to become what I became.

As for the future… nobody knows for sure what will happen. Plenty of people have ideas and expectations but that means exactly nada. Might as well pursue the path I’ve embarked on and pull it through to the end.

Already cold outside? Let’s go diving!

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Yes, you read that correctly!
It might be slightly nippy but that’s no reason at all to hang up the ol’ diving suit and wait for summer.
Do as I do and get yourself a Waterproof D9 breathable (http://waterproof.eu/en/products/drysuits/d9-breathable/) and the Waterproof Dry Glove set (http://waterproof.eu/en/products/accessories/drysuit-accessories/ultima/) and the cold will not be a problem anymore.
I’ve gone diving almost every week in November and December (and the previous months but the temperatures really started dropping in November) and I haven’t had any problems.
In 30m depth, it’s cold anyway, so why not make the best of it.

Cross-stitching a Chinese character (hanzi)

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

How to cross stitch a hanzi from Zero to Completion:

1) Have a friend give you a cross stitch set for X-mas 2011
2) Get started on it
3) Persevere (or not)
4) Finish it in February 2013
5) Brag about it in your blog

 

The completed cross-stitching. The keyboard behind it should give you an idea about its dimension.

The completed cross-stitching. The keyboard behind it should give you an idea about its dimension.

This is very good picture because it shows how exquisite the handy work is without revealing the flawed spots

This is a very good picture because it shows how exquisite the handy work is without revealing the flawed spots

For more detailed instructions read on…

So maybe you started learning Chinese (or Japanese) and you joined a learning group or managed to get some Chinese friends. Then, for X-mas they give you this cross stitch set which will let you cross stitch a hanzi (or kanji) and there you are.
The package sits there, unopened, glaring at you and your consicence is nagging you. Finally you open the package and things don’t get better. Alas, it’s a complete set including needles, yarn, the fabric and a sheet with incomplete instructions, maybe even written in Chinese (or Japanese) which you can’t read.
Intertubes to the rescue! Google “how to cross stitch” and all the results seriously impede on your masculinity as technocrat. Middle-aged+ ladies explain how to hold the needles, where to start a pattern and what yarn to use. You can already see yourself ending up with a bent back, shaking fingers and bad eyesight after years and years of labour and being laughed at by your friends who meanwhile hack out c0de.

Well, it’s not all that bad. Life is about broaden your horizon and if you should be glad to get such an opportunity. It’ll be an experience! Admittedly, if you’re spending every single minute outside frolicking then you shouldn’t start this li’l project when the beach volleyball season starts. Maybe pick a time where you can spend more time in the house like winter… and consider this: once you’re done, literally everyone will a) unable to refrain him/herself from making a comment on your hanzi (kanji) cross stitch and b) you get the pleasure of seeing their jaws fall to the floor when you tell them you did it all by yourself!

Alright, let’s get on with this… the hardest thing is to get started. But how do you get started on something like this? The instructions I found on the intertubes told me to get started in the middle of pattern. So, find the middle on the pattern sheet and the middle on the fabric. On the fabric you can get the exact middle by folding the fabric diagonally. Then, look at the pattern sheet. How many units to the left of the middle do you have to start? In general, once you find the starting point, work yourself horizontally to the right and back until the line is done, then move on the line below. Until you have completed the whole pattern!

For some good infos on how to cross stitch for beginners, check out this page, which I found very helpful: http://yarntree.com/007begin.htm

In the beginning, I meticulously kept track of how much time I spent on this:

research prior to starting: 5 hours
1.1.: 1 hour
2.1.: 1 hour
3.1.: 1 hour

Quite a long way to go...

Quite a long way to go…

4.1.: 2.5 hours
5.1.: 1.6 hours

Still not there...

Still not there…

6.1.: 1.2 hours
7.1.: 2.2 hours
8.1.: 2.1 hours

I think I can already read this... or not?

I think I can already read this… or not?

9.1.: 0.7 hour
10.1.: 1 hour
11.1.: 0.7 hour
15.1.: 2.3 hours
16.1.: 1.3 hours
17.1.: 0.7 hour
18.1.: 1.8 hours
19.1.: 2.5 hours
21.1.: 4.8 hours
22.1.: 0.9 hours
23.1.: 0.5 hours
24.1.: 1.0 hour
25.1.: 0.9 hours
28.1.: 1.2 hours
30.1.: 2.6 hours
31.1.: 2.0 hours
1.2.: 1.0 hour
3.2.: 1.1 hours
4.2.: 1.8 hours
5.2.: 3.9 hours
6.2.: 1.0 hour

Maybe I gave up writing down the times after that. Also, other things became more important again and I didn’t seriously continue working on this until November 2012… and finally finishing it in February 2013.

Creepy pearl solution :-)

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

In the game called “pearl” you have to run a line through all dots on a board. The goal is to create a loop and the black and white dots have different requirements.

The principle is very simple and the game is some good diversion in times of stress.

Recently, I’ve come across this creepy solution:

Proof, we’re being monitored by machines? Who knows… I for one welcome our mechanical overlords. Can’t get any worse, can it…

If you want to try it, on Ubuntu it can be installed by the command “sudo apt-get install sgt-puzzles” which will install a whole package of other puzzles too.