Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

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.

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.

5 serious drawbacks of sleeping on your tummy you might not realize if you’re lucky enough to sleep on your back

Monday, May 7th, 2012

*disclaimer*
This article is little writing exercise in the style of cracked.com articles. No material was copied from that page, i just tried to impersonate that style of writing for practicing purposes.
*endofdisclaimer*

When you’re young, you can probably sleep anywhere, even with your head down a toilet. But when you’re getting slightly older, you might find the bending-over-the-toilet-and-taking-a-nap position suddenly and inexplicably a bit uncomfortable and you might look for a more appropriate sleeping positions.
My sleeping position was on my tummy. Numbers diverge but i seem to belong to a group as small/large as 13% of the population [1] – even when i was a baby, I could not sleep on my back, it had to be on my tummy. Yes, I’ve got pictures to proof it but I won’t show them here :-p

At first glance, this preference doesn’t seem to make a big difference. But what do those backies know? Not a lot about us poor tummies, I can tell you… let’s have a look at all the body parts that do not play nicely with sleeping on your tummy. Of course, there are also people sleeping on their sides but for the sake of simplicity I can’t include them here as well.

1) Where your feet point

If you’re not a ballerina or a clown you or your feet will have to get creative. Try lying on your tummy, keeping your legs straight with your feet as an extension to your legs. Can you feel the stretching? So what’s the alternative? Spread out your feet. Feels good for the moment but if you do that every night for six hours you will start walking around like a hillbilly. What I had to do at home is to raise the mattress a couple of centimeter so I could let my feet dangle over the edge of the bed. Don’t get me started on winter when it’s too cold to let your feet out from under the blanket…

2) What concerns your feet also applies to your neck

Raising the mattress certainly helped my feet but unless you own one of those fancy massage tables where you can stick your head through a hole, then your neck is still in twisted trouble. Again, try it out for yourself: Lay on a bed on your tummy with your head towards the left. Feels comfortable, right? Now wait 15 minutes. Still comfortable? Then you’re lucky. Now try to lay still like that for another four or five hours… i usually use the cushion to raise the head somewhat but this in turn makes your body twist slightly. I still haven’t found a valid alternative for this problem.

3) Forced weight check

Have you ever tried sleeping on a barrel? Imagine this barrel is your tummy and can’t be removed. Now the only position available to you is to lay on your back – in which position you can’t sleep. Aat least, that’s how it is for me. I can lay awake for hours on my back, in fact if I want to keep myself from falling asleep, that’s what I have to do.
So, I can’t let myself become too fat.

4) Your lower jaw and grinding your teeth during the night

Nightly teeth grinding seems a not-so-rare issue, mostly caused by mental grieve or anguish and apparently anyone can have occasional issues. But if you sleep on your tummy, you are basically lying on your face as we elaborated above.
What happens then is that your lower jaw will be pushed back every night for years and years until you end up with an overbite. As if it wasn’t terrible enough that your sleeping position is apparently trying to make you British, you will at the same time grind your teeth to a perfect flatline. You think I’m kidding? I wish I was but my dentist was actually questioning me about this and I don’t think I’m his type.

5) The lower back

Occasionally I wake up with lower back pain. Occasionally is still too often when I get this pain only during sleep. Sleep is supposed to be gentle and refreshing like a breeze on summer day or a fawn chewing on your nipple. Anyway, moving on from that disturbing image – sleep is not supposed the bringer of pain and misery. But unfortunately, all of the items listed above (the neck, the feet, the jaw issue) make you a twisted man (Twisted, get it? Haha…) which of course will do your spine no good. I suppose ‘backies’ are off much better in this respect as long as they have an appropriate mattress and apart from moving sides every two hours or so, I don’t really see an alternative.

I’ve been bitching about sleeping on the tummy for a couple of lines but are we really off that bad? Maybe. Can we help it? Hardly. Hey, at least we don’t look like entombed saints while we’re sleeping but like proper dead people, leftover of a crime scene. Meh… could be worse 🙂

Links and references:
[1] http://angela-michel.suite101.de/gut-schlafen-mit-der-richtigen-schlafposition-a114045

Damn weather! *grmbl*

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

There are those days when you get the feeling everybody or everything hates you… e.g. this morning I got up and saw that it’s raining outside. Nothing spectacular so far but none of the shoes I wear day in and day out are water-proof. One pair leaks, the other pair is made of a non water-resistant fabric. And don’t get me started on the sandals…
As I don’t like the feeling of clummy, cold and wet socks, I decided to wear my hiking shoes while commuting just to keep my feet dry. My exact thoughts were “I’ll wear the hiking shoes so my socks won’t get wet.”
I usually walk to the train station to get some exercise. The walk takes about 18 to 20 minutes. It was already raining when I left the house but it was a slight drizzle. However, after a couple of minutes it started raining really hard and some more minutes later my jacket was dripping, my trousers were clammy and wet and water started running down my shoulders and also into my trousers. When I arrived at the train station, everything was wet except for my head which was protected by a cap and my socks, thanks to my hiking shoes.
My wish had come true.

Here’s the conclusion:

If God exists (which he doesn’t), he/she/it is either…
-a sadist
-a child
-a foreigner who does not speak my lingo

Why?
The postulate “I’ll wear the hiking shoes so my socks won’t get wet” does not mean “as long as my sock stay dry, I don’t care about the rest”.
If you get this wrong and act ‘to make it so’, then it’s either “on purpose” (sadist), you’re just screwing around with people (child) or it’s an honest mistake because you have no clue what’s going (foreigner not speaking the lingo).
It’s a moot point to discuss somebody who does not exist but given the evidence in the People’s collection on what they conceive to be a collection of texts written by somebody who does not exist, “sadist” and/or “foreigner who does not speak the lingo” are the most likeliest explanations. They’re not mutually exclusive and given the time and location of some collected stories, the “foreigner” thesis would explain a lot.

Even though I have been in my office for two hours now, my clothes are still not completely dry. What a start to this day….

All the best for 2012!

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Hi everybody!

2011 is over and done, welcome to 2012. May you find peace, self-fulfillment and happiness all year round. If you’ve been reading my posts, please continue to do so in the future ^_^

Cheers!