dorchadas: (Green Sky)
I'm 35 today! Halfway through my three-score and ten.

Today is a low activity day. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd invited me to go along to the Glenwood Art Fair, but I've been pretty active for the rest of the weekend and I thought rather stay at home, so I've mostly been playing Four Swords Adventures and reading my RSS feeds. I did take a short break to go out collecting Pokemon and one of my eggs hatched into a ゴマゾウ.

The events happened yesterday and the day before. On Friday, I had the first birthday party I've had in over a decade and a half, and while it was sparsely attended because my birthday had the bad luck to fall on Gen Con weekend, I had a nice time. I went with a cyberpunk theme, because I already dress like this, and we got appropriate food to go with it. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd made street-vendor-style skewers and bought an incredibly salty seaweed salad, sōmen, and taiyaki from an Asian market nearby. [tumblr.com profile] goodbyeomelas had asked me earlier in the week if I wanted anything baked for the party, and then showed up with two caramel cheesecakes. One of them got eaten at the party, but we still have the second one in the fridge. Yum.

We got a bunch of alcohol and I came up with some on-theme drinks, too. Emoji Awesomeface Cylon

Here's the drinks menu )

I really liked the Company Man, actually. I'll probably have another one tonight so I can use up more of the syrup before it goes bad. And while I didn't specifically set out to do so, I thought it was funny that all the drinks were varying shades of green.

Last night, after Call of Cthulhu, my parents met us at our apartment and we walked into Andersonville to go to Anteprima for dinner. We got in after a short wait, and while the main room was deafeningly loud, they led us through it into the small courtyard in the back, so we were actually able to have a nice conversation and eat a large meal. I got the duck--the duck on the menu and my father requesting a place with food that my mother would eat were what led me to pick Anteprima in the first place--and it was delicious. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd got a yellowtail dish that was almost good enough to make me wish that I had ordered it instead, but not quite. After dinner, and presents, my parents made the trip back to their house out in the suburbs, since they're still looking after my sister's dogs and so they couldn't stay too late.

A lot of what I asked for was silly Kirby and Warcraft goods, but I did get a set of bluetooth headphones, so maybe I can stop cutting it so close with my battery at work. An iPhone 7 and listening to podcasts all day don't mix very well with wired headphones.

And now, back to Legend of Zelda. Emoji Snapping Minish Cap

I'm interesting!

2017-Aug-10, Thursday 08:54
dorchadas: (Default)
At our last class, Aya-sensei told me that unlike some of her other students, the two of us never end up staring at each other without having anything to talk about. A lot of her students are software developers, apparently, so that's a big portion of their interest. But explaining programming concepts to someone who isn't a programmer can be complex enough in a language both of you are fluent in, much less trying to do so in a language you're learning. I know what functions are, and while I might be able to explain them, I'd have to do so in very abstract terms like 箱のようなものだ ("It's something like a box") unless I looked up a lot of vocab during the conversation. In contrast, Aya-sensei and I mostly talk about food, travel, and TV, podcasts, and games during free chat, all subjects about which we have a lot to say.

"Function" is 関数 (kansū), by the way. I had to look that up.

Farmer's Market Dinner )

I ordered two pairs of pants recently but had to return both of them, one for being slightly ill-fitting and the other for basically being parachute pants. And then today, I noticed just before I left for work that my most-recently-purchased pair of pants from before that already had a hole in it. It's on the back of my lower leg so not in a vital location, and it's not like these pants fit that well already. But still, I thought I would be up two pairs of pants and now I'm down one. Emoji Uncertain ~ face

I took the afternoon off tomorrow and we're going out to India House for lunch, and after that we're going to have to go shopping for more pants. Maybe in a brick-and-mortar store, they'll be able to find something that actually fits me (30" waist, 36" leg). Though I'm not super hopeful, since I tried to get a dress shirt there before and they didn't have any with sleeves long enough for me...

Bon voyage, Kirb!

2017-Aug-08, Tuesday 09:25
dorchadas: (Kirby Walk)
Kirby is my favorite Nintendo character, and this year is the 25th anniversary of Kirby. In Japan, they're doing all kinds of things to commemorate it, like a Kirby concert series or the Pupupu Train traveling shop, but of course there's nothing like that here. Fortunately, there are some good sides to global capitalism, and one of them is the ability to order limited-edition items from other countries. We already bought the omikuji 25th anniversary drinking glasses and need to make Blushing Russians or strawberry smoothies to drink out of them, and yesterday the Kirby plush I ordered arrived.

It was a bit of a surprise.

Bon voyage! )

It is very large. About a foot high, which means that I didn't read the description carefully. I was expecting it to be about half that height like the other Kirby plushes we have. It's extremely cute and wonderful to hug, but I'll need to find a place to put it...
Tonight [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd might watch the Kirby anime. It's a Kirby kind of day.Emoji Kirby heart

Computers, why?

2017-Aug-03, Thursday 09:29
dorchadas: (Warcraft Algalon)
The chronicle of woe: new database system continues.

The previous system was clunky and old, but one advantage it has is metrics. Every day I got an email with how efficient I was, letting me know how I was doing and giving me daily feedback. My boss had to manually run the reports and mail them to me, so they tapered off when we started gearing up to transition to the new system, but the capability was still there.

Well, the new system has many capabilities, but metrics apparently aren't one of them. The contractors didn't seem to understand why we would want to know how efficient any particular worker was, so while it's possible that they keep metrics on their end, we don't have any access to them. But we need them for yearly evaluations, because one of the good parts of my job is that I'm graded on concrete numbers rather than on generic feelings. And thus, I'm keeping track of my metrics using a free stopwatch program and a LibreOffice spreadsheet.

Isn't the progress of technology great? Emoji Psyduck Cylon

Heard from the next cubicle over in the process of writing this post: "When they built this, they knew nothing about our data."

Farmer's Market Dinner )

Been feeling down these last few days for a variety of reasons, and having moved Japanese tutoring to tomorrow instead of on Tuesday because Tuesday was Tisha b'Av doesn't help. Usually by this point in the week, I know I'm clear until the weekend, but now I have class. Hopefully after I come home on Friday I'll start to feel a bit better with the weekend ahead of me.

And I just saw that The Dark Tower is at 20% on Rotten Tomatoes. I didn't like what I saw of the trailer--it was too fast-paced, too much in our world, and too tonally strange (any movie about the Dark Tower series should be elegiac, at least in part)--so I'm not surprised that the movie is being savaged. But what a waste.
dorchadas: (Pile of Dice)
I've been tinkering with RPGs again. Some people write fanfiction, some people draw fanart, and I come up with RPG homebrew. Even though I'm in three games right now--[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's 7th Sea game, [livejournal.com profile] mutantur's Call of Cthulhu game, and my own Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom game--and thus have no time for another one, I just enjoy game design. My latest burst of creativity was spurred on by finding Heretical Shadows, someone's fan supplement for using the Shadowrun system with fantasy settings. It's something I've always wanted to try, since there's already rules for fantasy races, magic, and spirits, it's skill-based instead of class-and-level based, and it uses my favorite dice mechanic (giant pools of dice). But it would be a bunch of work for a game that I'm not likely to run anytime soon, so I'm glad someone else did it.

I keep thinking about tweaking it more, but I should actually run Shadowrun for a while first to familiarize myself with the system. I did a lot of tinkering with Exalted, but I ran that game for years. And anyway, one of my players perks up every time I mention canon Shadowrun so that's probably next in the queue. And urban fantasy cyberpunk is a good departure from grim sword and sorcery.

At [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's suggestion, we sat down and watched an episode of Chef's Table about Ivan Orkin, a Jewish New Yorker who ran a ramen restaurant in Japan. So now I want to move back to Japan, and I really want a bowl of ramen. Especially his ramen, with its noodles made in-house using toasted rye flour. He's right that it's very unlikely a Japanese person would have thought to do that, especially since they usually buy their noodles.

This also reminds me of the first time I saw salarymen ordering noodle refills and decided to do it myself. I spent a few minutes psyching myself up and formulating how to ask and eventually said something like すみません、もう麺を一皿お願いします ("Excuse me, may I have another plate of noodles?"), and the ramenyasan looked at me quizzically and said かえだま (kaedama), the specific word for that very thing. Emoji Smiling sweatdrop I did get my noodles, though.

And speaking of food:

Farmer's Market dinner )

Overcooked comes out on Switch tonight and we're probably going to buy it. Usually, if a game is multiplatform I buy it on PC for future-proofing reasons--I just recently played through a game from 1994 with no problems at all--but Overcooked is specifically local co-op only, and sitting on the couch next to [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd to play is more comfortable than both of us crowding around my computer. It's also about cooking, one of [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's my treasured hobby. I'm looking forward to cooking together, on the back of two speeding trucks!
dorchadas: (Default)
I made a dumb Utena meme on the tumblr I share with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd. You might like it.

On Tuesday, before Japanese class, we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art to see The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, an exhibit of Murakami Takashi (村上隆)'s art. I didn't know anything about it before we went and modern art isn't usually to my taste, but I was surprised by how much I exjoyed the exhibit. Not the pictures where DOB, Murakami's cute Mickey-Mouse-esque character, is unfolded and stretched across a campus in a nightmare of teeth and eyes, but the works that are more traditional.

Examples:
Click for art )

Yesterday, both [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I went to the farmer's market together, which meant that I had some input on the contents of the meal! I originally thought about having duck and pita bread, but there were no bakers selling any pita at the market, so we settled on something different and made sandwiches instead. Ingredients are mostly my idea with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's input, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd was the one who put them all together into the final meal. Emoji Kawaii heart

Farmer's Market food pictures )

I have a dentist appointment in two hours to reapply a sealant on my teeth, so of course I'm very nervous. I'm going to [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's dentist, because he's within walking distance and she recommended him to me, and I know that sealants are an easy procedure and it shouldn't take more than half an hour, if that. But any number of things could go wrong, and even though I know they won't, what if they did? Emoji Panic flailing

But there's not much point in worrying about that now. Back to playing Wind Waker.
dorchadas: (JCDenton)
Relevant title since it's 海の日 (umi no hi, "Marine Day") in Japan.

My shirt came in the mail! Even after I got an alert that it had been delivered, and then checked to find that it hadn't been delivered, but then it turned out that it was delivered.

Click below to hack the Gibson.
Picture )
Otherwise, spent the day playing Stardew Valley and Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. I forgot how terrible the interface on the original Warcraft was. No hotkeyed groups, only able to select four units as a time, no contextual mouse clicks...it's a DOS game. Despite that, I'm having some fun with it. I'm over halfway done already, and should have a review up tomorrow night or Wednesday morning.

We finished watching 少女革命ウテナ ("Revolutionary Girl Utena") with [twitter.com profile] xoDrVenture last night. It's much more optimistic on a second viewing, I think. And much more obviously about growing up, and how some people never do. We'll probably watch something light and fluffy next. We already watched Wakakozake afterward, now that [twitter.com profile] xoDrVenture has been to Japan with us and knows why [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I don't go to Japanese food in America very often.

We tried to order takeout 唐揚げ afterward. There were no restaurants that delivered it. The only restaurants still open were the Thai-food-and-sushi ones that are so common in Chicago and completely absent everywhere else. Emoji rain

This is the first day of my vacation, but it feels like I have to go back to work at any moment. Maybe after Japanese class tomorrow, I'll be able to relax a bit more. I can hope.

But right now, people are almost here for Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom!

Tamagoyaki!

2017-Jul-14, Friday 11:07
dorchadas: (Perfection)
Prime Day happened and we didn't pay much attention, but we did take the opportunity to grab some new cookware. A replacement for the crockpot we've had since we got married, a new lunchbag to replace the tattered one I've used since I started my current job, and something else that [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd found that got me really excited:

Tamagoyaki Pan
A tamagoyaki pan!


[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd makes dashimaki for me every time we eat breakfast together, and the pan we've been using is adequate but obviously not designed for the purpose. Since we have next week off together, I'm really excited for all the new delicious dashimaki I'm going to get to eat! Emoji Fairy La

(-_-) zzzzzzz

2017-Jul-13, Thursday 08:57
dorchadas: (Broken Dream)
I was planning to go to sleep early last night but was foiled twice over. The first time because I insisted on staying up and making sure that I could get Phantom Hourglass and Skyward Sword--well, 夢幻の砂時計 and スカイウォードソード--working correctly through DeSmuMe and Dolphin, respectively. I originally tried NosGBA for Phantom Hourglass, but it had horrible screen tearing that would have made all the screenshots I took look like garbage, and while Skyward Sword booted up and gave me the proper warning messages, I can't really test it because I don't have the right setup. We have our old WiiMote, but not the WiiMotion Plus, and I haven't bought a USB Wii sensor bar yet since I'm just finishing up Oracle of Ages and still have a long road ahead of me.

And then when I finally lay down to go to sleep, the party that the people in the building next door were having was still going. Maybe they were celebrating the end of summer school, since [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd just finished her stint helping with summer school yesterday? I don't know. I was annoyed enough to look up the noise complaint procedure but not annoyed enough to actually call in, and when the rain started the party died down.

Farmer's Market Dinner )
Tomorrow we're going out to the suburbs to visit my parents for a day and then my week-long vacation starts. We're going to go to the Museum of Contemporary Art to see an exhibit of Japanese art and probably going to go to a few restaurants that we've been wanting to get to for a while. And I'm going to play a ton of video games, of course. Emoji Waddle Dee Two more days!

TCP/IPoop

2017-Jul-02, Sunday 20:45
dorchadas: (Warcraft Face your Nightmares)
I spent several hours today trying to get a multiplayer game of Warcraft III to work. There's a map called Sunken City that looks like a lot of fun that's designed for three players, so [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I roped in [livejournal.com profile] uriany to play with us, but we ad to jump through all kind of hoops. First they had to update their games to 1.28, which broke and required them to delete the game and completely reinstall. Then I had to set up port forwarding to allow [livejournal.com profile] uriany to successfully see and join the game. Then, when I figured out everything that was wrong and we had finally all joined and gotten the map started...[livejournal.com profile] uriany got dropped out of the game. Twice.

Remember when we had to put up with this every time we tried to play games online? At least I didn't have to set my IRQ.

On the other hand, we got to eat lunch with [livejournal.com profile] daveax! He's in town visiting family and had a lunch free today, so we ,eat him downtown at Vermillion, a Latin/Indian fusion restaurant near where I work. That was lovely and I'm glad we did that first so I wasn't in a bad mood before we went to lunch.

Now, to cap off the day, we're watching Laser Time play through the first hour and half of Metroid: Other M (THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY). Now that Metroid Prime 4 has been announced, it doesn't sting so badly.
dorchadas: (Office Space)
Yesterday the internet was full of the news that Photobucket had decided to start charging $400 a year for the privilege of third-party linking, breaking millions of photo links all across the internet and devastating the blogging and forum communities. I post a lot of pictures with all my food and video game posts, and they're all hosted on Photobucket. The pictures still work, for the moment, but I'm not taking any chances.

So now I have to go through my posts and correct hundreds of photo links and point them to the new hosting site I transferred everything to. I already fixed my Japan tag, mostly so that my Japan vacation blogstorm would be in order, and I'm working now on the anime conventions tag. Doing video games or food will...take a lot longer, though fortunately my photo captions transferred over so if I do wake up to a bunch of dead links, I'll be able to reconstruct everything pretty easily.

And I was actually paying for a Photobucket plan, too, because I had so many pictures there! Oh well.
dorchadas: (Not he who tells it)
I spent a big chunk of yesterday dealing with the ripples from the Jewish Pride flag ban incident, including one guy who, if he wasn't actually a Nazi, was happy to play one on the internet for the lels. After all that, coming home to a delicious local dinner was just what I needed.

Tasty food )

I originally asked [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd if we could have sauteed mushrooms on the side before she told me that they were already included in the meal. Maitake is about twice as expensive in America as it was in Japan, which is a problem when we developed a huge taste for it in Japan put it on everything (along with enoki, another mushroom that's too expensive for daily use here). Zucchini noodles is our go-to for "pasta" dishes now that we don't eat much pasta anymore. Tastes amazing with pesto and a good way to get more vegetables.

I'm almost done with Adventures of Lolo, and since [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd has to attend a school function tonight, I'll almost certainly finish it and have a review up later tonight (Edit: here). While I love my dozens-of-hours JRPGs, there's something to be said for a game that can be finished in three hours. My lifespan is finite but World of Warcraft is eternal, which is part of the reason I no longer play it. Oh dear
dorchadas: (Kirby Spaceship Happy)
It's farmer's market season, and we live pretty close to a large farmer's market. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd had the idea to start going there every Wednesday and make dinner using fresh ingredients from the market, since right now she's working the summer school shift and so gets done with work just after noon, and yesterday was the first dinner she made. And it was delicious.

Food pictures )

Everything tasted amazing, and it wasn't particularly expensive either! Less expensive than going out to dinner, which only makes sense since we had to cook and clean it up. This was a trial run to see if we wanted to make it a Wednesday tradition, and it came off splendidly. And tasty.

Cancelled plans

2017-May-12, Friday 11:39
dorchadas: (Equal time for Slime)
Well, no more Shabbat dinner! [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's strep caused two people coming to cancel, since they just spent a while passing strep between them and their son and don't want to risk another round. Then another person pulled out because their partner's grandmother died unexpectedly, and with half the attendees unable to come, we thought it was better to postpone the dinner.

My parents invited us out to dinner for Mother's Day, but we also had to turn that down. I mean, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd does have strep throat and still needs to recover, and while I think I'm safe, I won't really be sure until Monday. So better to stay home and rest.

I won't lie, though. I got a little happy rush when I didn't have to agree to plans that would disrupt my whole weekend at the last minute. Now I know it's coming and I'll be happy to go.

I might go get a manicure this weekend with my free time. My nails now are long enough that I'm having trouble typing this post and haven't broken, so it's probably worth it getting them shaped so they won't interfere with my typing but I don't have to cut them all off before ACEN next weekend. I already typed my entire Majora's Mask review with them and that wasn't fun either.

Early May update

2017-May-10, Wednesday 09:37
dorchadas: (Link and Zelda sitting together)
So what am I doing in these, the last days of the American republic?

This Friday is another of [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's and my Shabbat dinners. After the turning of the year, we decided that once a month we'd invite a handful of people over, eat dinner, and then discuss whatever that week's parshah is. This week it's Emor, Leviticus 21:1-24:23. We've tended to get really good discussion out of even the more "the lamps shall be made of beaten gold" parashot, and Emor has a lot of material in it. Some of it especially discussion-worthy, like the ban on people with disfiguring injuries from giving offerings to G-d. I don't find this to be as jarring as some people, because I don't have a universalist concept of G-d, but there's good commentary on it out there I've found that I'll try to bring up during he discussion.

I just went and found a bunch of Legend of Zelda icons and added them. Since I'm only using half my icon space, and since I'm on a quest to play through every Legend of Zelda game, I might as well. And maybe I need a Legend of Zelda tag, too... Hmm.

(done)

Speaking of which, I ordered a copy of the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time manga in Japanese! I've learned that the best way to get me to actually study is to make it an accompaniment to something I already want do--hence playing all these video games in Japanese--and when I idly posted about whether I should read it, [facebook.com profile] kelley.christensen1 mentioned that she had fond memories of reading it as a teenager. That's enough of a recommendation for something I already wanted to do anyway, and now it's in the to-read pile.

We bought tickets for [twitter.com profile] faylynne's wedding next month. Due to waiting so long because we needed to figure out [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's summer program schedule, they were more expensive than I was hoping. I was expecting $750 and it was closer to $900. Fortunately, my sister lives in Portland and has offered to put us up, so we don't need to also pay for a hotel. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd promised to cook for her to pay for our keep. Delicious!

We didn't do much of anything last weekend, or at least I didn't, and I'm looking forward to more of the same next weekend. Majora's Mask is longer than I thought, especially since I'm trying to get all the masks, so while I thought I would be finished already I won't be done until tomorrow at the absolute earliest. Probably more like Saturday.

I hope everyone else's weeks are going well!

Edit: It turns out that [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd has strep! The doctor said she's cleared for Friday, though, so she'll stay home from work tomorrow and then Shabbat dinner will continue as scheduled.
dorchadas: (Awake in the Night)
This is normally a day when I'd be writing up a summary of our Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom game last night, but it was called off at the last minute when one of the players came home to find their apartment had been broken into! The thiev(es) didn't take much, fortunately--they even left the WiiU behind, which seems like a joke itself--but that's not that much compensation. And they are moving in a month...  photo emot-ohdear.png

So instead, I spent most of last night playing Majora's Mask doing the Woodfall Temple. I'm not sure how I feel about Majora's Mask's yet--I've already lost about an hour of time due to freezing and the save system only allowing saving by restarting the three-day cycle, but I love the focus on a small city and the people who live there. I can definitely see a continuation of Link's Awakening, with its weird characters doing strange things and Link stumbling into the middle of it all and trying to sort everything out. I just wish I had a better sense of what's going on.

It's the problem with trying to learn a language. I don't want to read children's books or play games with little dialogue, because then I'm not actually getting any practice in. Studying requires pushing into areas I don't know. But that means that I'm never quite sure I understand the plot. I've got a walkthrough open in the background because of these issues, and I've already made a couple major errors that confused me until I went to check, like thinking that the monkeys in the swamp had captured someone instead of being captured by someone (Xに捕まえられています). The broad strokes I understand just fine, but in a game where it's very important that I'm in particular places at specific time, I need to understand the nuances to be able to play.

I redid the background image on my Dreamwidth page so it's locally hosted and shows up in 1080p. I tried a couple images of Tokyo in the rain, but they didn't display up well--with everything else on the page, it was just a blur of neon barely visible in the background. Which I suppose is accurate to some nights I've spent in Tokyo, but it doesn't make for a good aesthetic.  photo emot-fuckyou.gif

Looking forward to a low-key weekend and hopefully being able to finish Majora's Mask!
dorchadas: (Do Not Want)
There was a hashtag about gaijin confessions on Friday on twitter. My favorite is probably "Also told someone I wanted to buy a human instead of a carrot once" (Carrot is 人参 ninjin, human is 人間 ningen), but there's a lot of good stuff collected here.

It made me think of my own #gaijinconfessions, so here's a few of them:
  • To this day, my breakfast is miso soup, rice, salmon, and pickles while sitting on the floor at a low table. This despite that most of our students ate "bread and milk" for breakfast, including the kimono shop owner who met his wife through a 仲人 (nakōdo, "marriage broker").
  • I also took the trash out at night, because there's no way I was getting up at 8 a.m. on Saturday just to get the trash out by 8:30.
  • Japanese cheese is garbage and we happily paid $20 a pound for good cheese at the import foods store.
  • The first winter I was there I survived mostly off canned chicken soup from the Foreign Buyer's Club because we hadn't quite gotten used to proper shopping for our 3/4th size fridge yet.
  • We spent a week in Singapore in and I thought everyone was unconscionably rude because I was used to a Japanese level of service.
  • I got used to being able to talk about anything I wanted and would happy tell off-color stories secure that people around me almost certainly couldn't understand me.
  • Even though I'm American, I actually don't own a gun or eat hamburgers every day.
  • My favorite onigiri is the kimchi-ume one I bought while we were in Ōsaka for [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd to take the GRE. It was only sold in Ōsaka and the Japanese people we told about it thought we were making it up.
  • I was never sure whether to use Japanese or English with staff in Indian restaurants.
  • I once boarded a bus twice with the same ticket after I forgot my laptop. I disembarked and took the light rail back into Hiroshima, retrieved my laptop from the ramen shop, and got on the next bus on the same line using my same ticket. The attendant looked at me nervously, wondering why a gaijin was going to Innoshima, and I flashed the ticket and walked on. Saved me ¥4000.
dorchadas: (Default)
Well, the time has finally come.

I've had a Dreamwidth for years, even since the initial migration, and I've always kept it updated with content from my Livejournal just it case. It turns out that case has arrived. I'm still waiting for the comments to import again, but a lot of the conversation on my posts has moved to Facebook and Twitter anyway. I'll be sad to lose some of those old comments if they don't import, but not too sad. And I'm not super interested in making sure that my blog follows the laws of the Russian Federation with respect to political or sexual diversity content.

I'm not looking forward to fixing all the internet links on my posts. Since I extensively link to things I've already written, there's a lot of Livejournal links buried in everything I write. I'll get to it eventually, probably starting with stuff like my video game reviews and my let's play of Baldur's Gate II, and move on from there. If you're someone who looks through my old posts, I ask for your patience.

Sigh. I used LJ for 14 years, but all things end. 永遠のものがない, after all.  photo shrug2.gif
dorchadas: (Office Space)
For the last couple of years, we've been ramping up to switch database software at work. This makes sense--the old database software was 19 years old and has been running on twine and duct tape for roughly the last decade, never conclusively overhauled because we were just going to replace it, so why put too much effort into it? Well, we finally replaced it.

You can tell from the title what I think of it.

Some of it is sour grapes. They made an effort to ask us what we thought of the new system and get our input on its development as we did testing, and as far as I can tell, they completely ignored every suggestion we made. For my part, the UI is still garbage. The new system is completely mouse-driven to the point that it doesn't accept hitting enter and you have to click the Search button like some kind of animal. The search window hides the original record and can't be moved, so checking to refine the search requires cancelling the search and losing the results, and searching takes long enough that I just have to chant the other bits of data myself to remember them like some kind of Leibowitzian monk.

A lot of old complaints don't even seem to be fixed--searches are still slow and it crashes roughly twenty times as often. It still offers suggestions for matches that are completely unrelated--different name, different state of residence, different specialty, different everything--to the record in question. Furthermore, the old database kept sending us the same records to research month after month with no way to tell the system that no, we were never going to find out who this physician is so stop asking, and the new system does the inverse by repeatedly popping up people who are already identified and asking me to identify them.  photo _thisorthat__or__compare__by_brokenboulevard-d4tole3.gif

And this leads to my main complaint. My work doesn't have great social value and I'm not saving the lives or children or anything, but at least I was accomplishing something. There was data, and I sorted through it, and I made the resulting output better than the raw input was. I no longer have any indication that's the case. I come in and I have 500 records to look through, around 99% of which the system already seems to know the answer to but just wants to waste my time with, and that number goes down as I work. But when the system inevitably crashes or logs me out for no reason and I login again and get back to work, that number is back to 500 again. Every day I am moving sand from one pile to another, one grain at a time, and then the wind blows it all back overnight.

And this is the system after it was delayed for six months.  photo emot-psyduck.gif

March Update

2017-Mar-18, Saturday 18:43
dorchadas: (Dreams are older)
Just a grab-bag of things that have been happening lately.

I got my yearly bonus and annual raise this week. Higher than average on both, because we managed to exceed our department goals by a respectable amount and I did pretty well. There also wasn't as much pressure to hold down salary increases this year, so I got more of a salary increase and less of a bonus. And I put it all into tax withholding and 401K contributions. Well...that's responsibility. Emoji Dragon Warrior march

Yesterday was also the last day that we're using the old database system, and over the weekend they'll be switching over to the new system that they've spent the last two years working on. And true to software project form, it was a complete mess until the last week, where it was pulled into at least semi-reasonable condition. That also meant that I couldn't do anything involving the database on Friday, and since my work almost entirely involves editing database entries, I had to make work for myself. On a co-worker's suggestion, I did some prep work so that when the new database is up and able to accept new entries, I can go add in all the disciplinary actions to the appropriate physician records without having to scan through state board orders for what the doctors did wrong. Unless the database upgrade doesn't go well, in which case everything will be on fire. Emoji on fire Hopefully it all goes smoothly, but these are computers we're talking about.

Today was the first session of [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's 7th Sea 2e game! I read the book through to make sure I knew the system and I had some misgivings--it's much more loose and narrative-styled than the systems I tend to prefer--but in play it worked out really well! And doing a silly Russian accent and coughing at the republican and revolutionary talk for my Ussuran nobleman was a lot of fun. He's not that great in a fight, but he has magical powers. He's also really rich, which is kind of like a magical power! The star moment was when I called a raven to our jail cell where, we had been treacherously imprisoned for a crime we didn't commit, and asked it to fetch the keys in exchange for a bauble from my nobleman's clothing. I then let everyone out, locked the cells behind us, and left. The legend grows.

I paid our 2016 taxes. Last year we owned an enormous amount because I forgot to take into account [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's new job and thus that our salary was commensurately larger. This year I spent more time modeling our income vs. taxes paid and I came a lot closer--we owed 4% of what we owed last year, in terms of additional payments beyond our normal withholding. I'm not sure how much we'll owe on state taxes, but the state is usually much better at figuring out how much we owe than the federal government is and we rarely get a large refund or have a large deficit, so I'm not that worried. Edit: We owed more on state taxes than federal taxes. Looks like I spoke too soon! Emoji Shaking fist

We're going to see Hamilton on Thursday. I've successfully avoided most news about it, so while of course I know the subject matter and the characters, I haven't listened to a single song all the way through, nor do I know what parts of history the musical covers. I'll probably write about it after I go, but until then, it's a mystery! Emoji tali it is a mystery
dorchadas: (Darker than Black)
It's a yearly tradition for [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and a friend and I--and I can say that, because this is the third year we've gone--to go to Svea in Andersonville for brunch. They have a Christmas Plate they offer for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas that's $16.50 for a giant smörgåsbord with pickled herring, cheese, ham, korv, limpa bread, potatoes, meatballs, tomatoes, and a glass of glögg. It's also the time of year that the owner comes out and sings songs whenever someone orders lutfisk. It's amazing and I'll be really sad if the restaurant ever closes.

This year, after we finished eating, we all went to the Middle Eastern Grocery Store next door to pick up some hummus and cheese (and baklava at my urging), and I noticed some chocolate by the cashier. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd suggested it for Darker than Black but was worried because it was only 60% cacao, and normally that would be a bit low, but I want a bit of variety here and I have seen that chocolate before and wanted to try it, so we bought it. And then moved it to the top of the list, since the only other chocolates we had aren't as interesting as this one. I mean, it's in Turkish! Who knows what it contains! Certainly not me. I don't speak a lick of Turkish.
Read more... )
dorchadas: (Cherry Blossoms)
I never used to care about the leaves changing or the flowers blooming. When we'd take trips to Oregon, my parents would go to a garden and I'd sit by the pond and watch the water striders because whatever, who cares about flowers. But I got into the mood of leaf-watching when we lived in Japan, both the cherry blossoms in the spring and the colors in the fall, and while there are no masses of cherry trees here, there are still colors.

I didn't get much of a chance to go leaf-viewing this year because the cold came so late--when we went out for the Scarecrow Festival, it was 25°C and sunny--but I've enjoyed looking at the trees in our neighborhood. And a couple weeks ago, we found a momiji tree only a few blocks away! Momiji are famous in Hiroshima, to the point where the local manjū are momiji-shaped, and we'd go every year to Miyajima to see the momiji change to that deep, uniform crimson color. It was a lovely touch of nostalgia to see.

Then last weekend, it snowed, and I took this picture:


Last month snow fell in Tokyo, and there were a ton of articles about it because everyone knows that Japan is Tokyo and Tokyo is Japan (and also it had been 54 years since the last time but whatever). The photos of snow on fall colors were amazing, though, and I'm glad I got to see a taste of it in Chicago.
dorchadas: (Awake in the Night)
[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd doesn't like the dark. I do. That's the way of it. Left up to myself, I leave most if not all the lights in the apartment out, since the light filtering in from the alley outside through what few openings are left in the curtains we have up is enough for me to see by. Even at night, I usually don't bother to turn on the lights when I get up and move around. The apartment layout doesn't change, after all, and my night vision is pretty good. But sometimes, when I come home, the curtains are open and all the lights are on as [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd soaks up the light.  photo Dawn.png

The last couple nights, I've been reading a Let's Play of a Japanese RPG Maker game called Corpse Party. You can probably tell what kind of game it is from the title, and even though the links to the music and sound had vanished into the internet ether--sadly, since they're the highlight--I still found it creepy enough that before I went to sleep last night, I left the living room light on.

It would have made more sense when we lived in Japan, since we basically lived in a J-Horror house. We literally had an abandoned house right next to ours, plus another abandoned compound just down the street. We had steep stairs with no railing that a spirit could easily have pushed us to our deaths down.  photo japan001.gif But here, where three quarters of the apartment is always visible from any other point in it?

Well, it's the dark. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd was worried that I would think less of her when she told me that she didn't like the dark, but I don't. The dark is scary! And who knows what could be out there. I can tell myself whatever I want, but my instincts are the instincts of a savannah-dwelling ape who stayed with the group or huddled by the fire and lived, while those who knew there was nothing out there were eaten by lions. So it took me a long time to fall asleep, and while I didn't have nightmares that I remember, I woke up an hour and a half before my alarm.

Maybe it's also that the game takes place in a school. I taught in a Japanese school, and I've been in other schools. They're all laid out pretty similarly, so it was easy for me to convert the minimal RPG Maker graphics in my mind into what a decayed, rotting school would actually look like. Maybe more effective than if the graphics had been more realistic.

Usually I'm fine in the dark, but it doesn't take much.
dorchadas: (Chicago)
Not at the same time, obviously.

Yesterday, my parents came into town and [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I went down to meet them at the Shedd Aquarium. They're members and go a few times a year. They're much better about it than we are--while we were members of the Field Museum for the last year, I'm not sure we went once--and often we only end up going when they come in to visit. This time, it was pretty fortunate that we were meeting them. The line was out the door, down the stairs, and stretching out into the park in front of the aquarium when we arrived, but we were able to skip all that and just walk in the member's entrance.

Maybe everyone was trying to forget the election. There was a large protest downtown yesterday which my parents walked by. My father mentioned that he wasn't sure what good it would do, since Trump was a terrible person but he had won the election, so I pointed out that it's more to demonstrate that Trump doesn't have a mandate despite any claims to the contrary. Though I admit, in some ways I share his cynicism. I remember the Iraq War protests and how much effect those had.

We had tickets for the cetacean show at 5 p.m. so we didn't have a lot of time to look around, but we did hit some highlights. The otters for [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd, the special frog exhibit for me--that's a special exhibit of frogs, not an exhibit of special frogs --and the penguins for my mother:


"I solemnly swear..."

The cetacean show was a lot more focused than I remember it being. I think the last time I saw it was twenty years ago, and then it was much more about simple entertainment. This time there was a conservation message heavily woven through the show, including a rescue dog that the aquarium keeps. There were no dolphins somersaulting through hoops, but I think I appreciated the show more.

After a dinner at Chicago Curry House, where even my spice-averse parents found something they could eat--though since they have the appetites of birds, they were pretty much full after the samosas we ordered as appetizers--we said goodbye since we had to make our performance:



We first went to Symphony of the Goddesses in 2013 and this is the third time we've been. It's slightly different each time--the first time we went was the "Second Quest" arrangement that featured a medley of the music from Ocarina of Time, and the second time we went was the "Master Quest" and had a feature of music from Link's Awakening. This time was more similar to the first concert, though with the addition of some music from Triforce Heroes and A Link Between Worlds, both of which came out since the last time we went to Symphony of the Goddesses. There was also a piece I remembered from Phantom Hourglass, though I say "remembered" in the loosest terms since I can barely remember anything about that game. That didn't stop it from being a great performance!

I think the loudest crowd cheer was when the conductor reached into her coat, pulled out a perfect replica of the Wind Waker baton, and then started conducting the theme from Outset Island.

There was a little girl, maybe four or five, cosplaying Princess Zelda sitting in the seat in front of us. She fell asleep during the intermission and [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd exploded from cute overload.  photo wheeeeee_emote_by_seiorai.gif
dorchadas: (For the Horde!)
I didn't get to sleep until 1:30 or so last night despite going to bed at 11:15. Some of that is on me--I was up later than usual finishing up my Baldur's Gate II post and getting the last few steps in to make it to 10,000--but some of it is definitely due to our neighbors downstairs.

A while ago, they had a new baby. Back then they lived diagonally from us, but a month ago they switched apartments with the neighbors below us because, having a baby, they wanted the larger space on our side of the apartment building. Since then things have been noisier overall, but I've occasionally noticed that I can faintly hear the sound of the baby crying through the vents and last night it went on for hours. photo c9a2ed93dbfb11e324f5b3e281e5e1b2.gif Along with people talking, maybe the television, and some thumping sounds. And that kept me up far past my bedtime.

I'm really bad at sleeping in general. My insomnia has gotten better, but I still have a very hard time falling asleep if there's any light or noise around. Even the very quiet sounds I heard last night were enough to keep me awake.

And there's really no solution here. The most obvious advice is earplugs, but I tried that when I lived in Ireland--I had a roommate who snored like a buzzsaw--and while it did help me sleep, it also meant even odds of whether I would sleep through my alarm in the morning. I used Rain Rain with the sleep timer to try to drown out the noise, but I couldn't find a good medium between the app being so loud that it kept me awake itself and loud enough to drown out the baby's crying. I went through two entire 30-minute sleep timer cycles with no effect.

The downstairs neighbors told [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd that we should tell them if the sound was keeping us up, but why? I mean, babies cry. It's what they do. They don't need to be told that the noise is keeping people up, because it's keeping them up, and if they had a way of quieting their child down on command, they would already be using it so they could get more sleep.

That doesn't help me feel less tired today, though.  photo emot-11tea.gif

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