dorchadas: (Jealous)
How appropriate that I'm posting this on Labor Day, comrades.

Content warning: Food, weight discussion )
dorchadas: (Not he who tells it)
Enjoying a lazy Sunday on Labor Day weekend. Yesterday was busy, with a dentist appointment in the morning and Call of Cthulhu in the afternoon, but I have nothing scheduled for today. Next weekend is [ profile] novafigura and [ profile] hopefulrefrain's engagement party, the weekend after that [ profile] melishus_b and her boyfriend are coming from Seattle to visit, the weekend after that [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I are going to Seattle for [ profile] t3chnomag3's wedding, and the weekend after that is Yom Kippur. But for the moment, I have very little to do. Emoji Happy cat

I signed up for the pedometer challenge at work. This isn't really anything out of the ordinary for me, since ever since I downloaded a pedometer app for my phone that changes color I've tried to get 10K steps a day (about 8.1 km for me), but the team I signed is full of exercise junkies so we decided to compete in the 12K band. I got in my steps without too much trouble yesterday since I was already planning on reading while [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd was out, so I just walked around a bit with my book. Today I'm at 3.3K right now and we still have to go grocery shopping and clean later, but I'll probably have to do an hour of walking. It keeps me from spending twelve hours in a row playing video games like I used to and helps me keep up on my RSS feeds, and I actually enjoy walking. I just wish that we had our own house or a ground floor apartment sometimes. I try to walk softly and our downstairs neighbors have never complained, but...

I've started a new RPG project, because that's my primary outlet for creativity other than writing. I keep trying to adapt the old TSR AD&D setting of Dark Sun to something that I'd rather run it in, and after almost two years of Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom, I'm comfortable trying to adapt it into a hybrid of Exalted and NWoD. I haven't gotten very far, but I made a few changes (ported over Composure and Resolve, dumped Manipulation and Appearance, split Dexterity into Dexterity and Agility) and have some more in mind. The Essence stat in Exalted being universal means it works perfectly as a way to determine psychic potential, since everyone and everything in Dark Sun is supposed to be psychic. The way sorcerous motes work in Exalted 3e, where the sorcerer has to roll and accumulate energy, simulates the way Dark Sun wizards draw in life energy from plants to power their spells and allows me to give defilers an advantage by making their accumulation faster. There are enough dials on the weapon statistics that I can easily replicate the way most weapons are inferior because they're made of stone or wood or bone by tweaking them. I think it can work, and it'll be fun to work on, even if I never run it.

I have three maps on the wall of the computer room from the three fantasy settings that have most influenced me. One is the map of Vvardenfell from the Morrowind Collector's Edition; one is Chrono Trigger's Kingdom of Zeal, where dreams come true; and the third is a map of the Tablelands from the Dark Sun boxed set.

[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd has promised to make a special dinner tonight, but hasn't said what she's going to make. I'm not sure it matters, because I can think of only three times she's made something that I haven't liked it, and one of those didn't count because the flour had gone rancid. I'm looking forward to it. Emoji back and forth dance

I might have a Darker than Black later in the weekend, and probably a post tomorrow about a long-term personal goal that I've reached. I hope everyone else is having a good weekend!

Miyajima: Thursday

2016-Jul-21, Thursday 22:53
dorchadas: (Cherry Blossoms)
After a delicious breakfast of broccoli, rice, pickles, hamburger, sweetened omelet, salted mackerel, burdock root, breaded fish paste (がんす, a local dish), tea, and pudding with caramel sauce (Hotel Active, for all your Hiroshima visits!), I went back to the room, got my suitcase, and [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I headed down to check out right on the dot of our requested 9 a.m. departure time. Then we walked out onto Aioi-dōri and set to wait for the streetcar.

Hiroshima's street cars are a local institution. They've been running since before the war--there's actually at least one car that's been in service since before the war and survived the bombing--and Hiroshima actually turned down proposals for a subway network in favor of an underground mall because, well, they already had the streets cars. I've spent uncounted hours of my life on them, what with my incredibly long commute to and from Suzugamine every day, and sitting on them was kind of like stepping back into the past.

I had forgotten the little chime they play when the car starts moving after a stop, though...

We rode the streetcar to the end, past the stop where I used to get off for work, though now renamed to 修大附属鈴峯前駅 (Shudaifuzoku-Suzugaminemae Eki) since the school combined with a boys' school due to low enrollment. Even the old ramen shop, おじいちゃんの作ったラーメン (Ojiichan no Tsukutta Ramen, "Grandpa-Made Ramen"), was still there, though we didn't have time to go.

Then at Miyajima-guchi, we took the ferry across to the island.

At high tide, too.

After dropping our luggage off in the coin lockers and showing our friends the asshole deer of Miyajima--[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd has a video of me leading a deer around using a wrapper from an ice cream cone, but it just looks like I'm using elf magic--we headed straight over to Itsukushima Shrine to take advantage of the high tide for some nice views. It was all set up like the aftermath of a festival, maybe Tanabata, with a floating stage. There was even a priest in the actual shrine conducting a ceremony, which I've never seen before. And that also means that I had no idea what the ceremony was for, either.

After we went through the shrine, everyone was pretty hungry and [ profile] xoDrVenture wanted oysters, so we stopped into the first restaurant we saw that was serving them. I got anago-don, fried conger eel over rice, because while I've made some effort to stick to kashrut during this trip, I'm willing to make an exception for Miyajima eel. And one of the waitresses wanted to touch my hair when we left and said it was soft.

After lunch we headed into the shōtengai to do some shopping and snacks in preparation for [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I climbing the mountain. We bought a set of tea cups and a wooden case for putting matcha in, and I drank a "banana milk" (basically a smoothie). After heading down to the other end of the shōtengai, we walked back and went to the rope way stop. Originally it was going to be four climbers, but by the time we got there the group had been whittled down to just [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and me, so we dropped off our excess gear with the people going up the ropeway and took our first steps on the trail up Misen.

Mossy rocks, my favorite.

The climb up Misen isn't the hardest climb in the world. Most of it is worn stone steps like those shown in the picture, and even though the heat and humidity were brutal at sea level they weren't as bad under the tree canopy. Of course, we were climbing a mountain, so we were sweating buckets in any case.

We saw quite a few people coming down the mountain, and there was a work crew fixing one of streams that run underneath the steps in some places. There was also an old Japanese man who gave [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd his fan when he met her, saying that he no longer needed it since he was coming down the mountain. That occurred near the bottom, which I'm glad of because that fan came in pretty handy on the climb up. I'm not sure I've ever been as disgusting as when I reached the top, except for the last time I climbed Misen.

[ profile] tropicanaomega and [ profile] xoDrVenture were waiting for us at the railway station near the summit, another friend and [ profile] tastee_wheat having gone to make the climb to the top. I went over to buy some ice cream, only to have the woman working the food desk ask me in pretty good English if I had been at the kagura performance the previous night. I recognized her, since she had been there with an American guy and she said that she knew us because he talked to us. That was the basis of our interactions though, so I ordered my ice cream, ate it, then waited for everyone to assemble.

We took the rope way back down and then the shuttle to the Miyajima Seaside Hotel, where I've stayed with my parents before and where [ profile] aaron.hosek, who went ahead to Matsumoto, had arrived first and asked them to send the shuttle to us. We went to the hotel, checked in, and the showered to get slightly less utterly disgusting and changed into our yukata for dinner:

I'm a little surprised it actually fits.

Dinner was, of course, amazing:

This was about 60% of it.

We ate pretty much until near exploding, though slowly, which helped prevent any actual explosions. It was a little under two hours total for dinner, between the different courses, the talking, and the slow eating of many tiny portions, and was the best meal I've had yet in a trip full of great meals. When we were done, we all got dressed up in our yukata except for one of us who wanted a bit more opportunity to,rest and went down to the front desk to ask the shuttle to take us back near the shrine.

Itsukushima is lit up at night, but it wasn't as pretty as I remember it being this time. Or maybe it was just that even though the sun had gone down it was still incredibly sticky. We walked from the pier to the shrine, past it a little until the houses started and the streets started to remind us of Fatal Frame, and then back to the pier, where I successfully called the hotel to ask them to come pick us up. Back at the hotel a bunch of people went to the onsen, but I took advantage of the facilities in a different fashion--I took a bath in the huge bathtub, which was actually large enough for the water to cover my knees. When I started to feel a little cramped, I drained out the water, dried off, and went to bed.

Steps taken: 17538
dorchadas: (Drop Bear)
We've emptied out all of the boxes and the only real thing that needs to be done to finish all our moving in is to take possession of [ profile] softlykarou's new computer and desk when it arrives and set those up. After that, it'll just be getting a few new odds and ends and replacing what doesn't fit our new decorating scheme, which is mostly weathered dark wood. Fortunately for us, there's plenty of antique shops of the "random jumbled piles" type in Andersonville that have exactly what we're looking for. We just need to earn enough money to afford it. We already have one item that we're saving up for:

We picked up a few other things and repurposed them as well. Our various TV and paraphenilia remotes are held in an old-fashioned nutcracker bowl, for example. We still have two pieces of Ikea furniture I want to get rid of and/or give to anyone else who wants them, but it'll be a while before we're at that stage.

The main impetus that led me to write this is that we emptied the last box today, after almost a week of it sitting on the hearth (yes, hearth--we have a working fireplace), and in celebration of doing so, we decided to...clean the apartment and do the laundry. Well, it needed doing, and we figured out how to air out the futon. Most apartments in Japan have a metal railing outside the window for futon hanging, but we don't even have windows big enough to do that, much less a railing. Nonetheless, I think we managed it:

Futon siting up and airing out
It's even in sunlight like it's supposed to be!

I actually had an introspective question about my tastes when I started writing this post, but I got side-tracked because I'm happy that it only took two weeks to get everything unpacked and arranged. Maybe I'll revisit my earlier idea tomorrow.
dorchadas: (Zombies together!)
So, the apartment is almost entirely packed into boxes thanks to the efforts of the supremely efficient [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd. We picked up the keys to our new apartment today, including the room key, building key, storage key, and mail key, all of which look the same. I'm going to have to come up with separate keychains to put all the keys on so I can remember them all.

The actual moving day is on Friday, but [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd is planning to move a lot of the boxes tomorrow with the help of a friend. We don't want to move too much, because the movers are coming and they'll be moving all the heavy stuff and we don't want to litter the whole apartment with things and make their job harder, but we also want to move enough that they won't actually have much to do. Even if they do have a minimum time we have them for. But we're going most of the moving ourselves, and I'm glad that I'm in much better shape than I was last time I moved. I'll need it to walk the four blocks with some of those boxes.

We've now lived longer back in American than we lived in Japan. I wrote that post about where is home a month ago, and every time I see some picture and get really homesick--and I think that's an appropriate word--for the rice fields of Chiyoda, I have those sentiments again. But we are moving into a nice apartment. I'll post pictures when we have them.
dorchadas: (Teh sex)
I originally got the iPhone 5S over the 5 because of the pedometer after I saw that LoseIt included step tracking and would automatically adjust your calorie thresholds based on distance walked. Even though I know that calorie counting is worthless, I still do it because of my mania for self-quantification. Originally, I'd just walk as much as I normally do and treat any day where I got over the threshold set by LoseIt to get extra calories off (7250 steps) as a bonus, which wasn't that often.

Then I downloaded Pedometer++. All of a sudden, I had color-coded feedback on how far I had walked, and for some reason, that kicked the RPG player in me into gear and I had to make the numbers go up! Must turn the bars green! Must beat arbitrary threshold!

So I started walking around in empty conference rooms on my breaks at work while reading books, because previously I just sat at my desk reading and I figured I might as well get the walking time in then, because walking back and forth in my apartment took forever and was pretty monotonous. The cleaning staff would occasionally see me, and they always said it was fine, so I kept doing it.

Yesterday while I was walking in a conference room on my floor near the end of the day, one of the cleaning staff came in to check that the room was empty. Unlike the other times that had happened, he mentioned that he had seen me earlier walking around and went to his boss to see what was going on, and his boss mentioned that yeah, I did that and maybe it was just a relaxing thing. So I mentioned reading, and we chatted a bit and he told me that seeing me walking in circles had inspired him to try the same thing around his apartment, and how relaxing he found it!

Well, he said that originally he literally copied me in the only way he could find and wandered in circles around some parked cars near his apartment, but that he pretty quickly realized that other people would not only find that weird, they might find that threatening or suspicious. So now he does it in his apartment, but it remains relaxing.

It's a nice feeling being inspiring. (^_^)
dorchadas: (Zombies together!)
Friday - Burgers, Art, and Sauerkraut
The next morning, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd again had to be somewhere early. This time, though, I didn't even wake up when she wished me goodbye, so I was pretty disoriented when I woke up and the room was otherwise empty. I loafed around the room for a couple hours, getting progressively hungrier and less willing to leave the bed, and then I finally scarfed down all the remaining nuts and headed out the door to a burger place I had looked up on my phone. When I went outside, the weather was pretty much my ideal weather: cloudy skies, cool breeze, wet ground, and the smell after the rain. It was almost enough to make me change my mind and go into the Irish bar I saw along the way, but I kept to my original plan.

I had originally set out with the intention to walk from our hotel down to the National Mall, and I managed to stick to that plan even though when I left the restaurant it was raining. I went to the Freer Gallery of Art (and apparently just missed an exhibition about the tea ceremony! By one day! ARGH!), which was recommended I think by my father, though I can't remember exactly who told me to go. Anyway, it's a collection of art from what a 19th century art collector would have called "The Orient," so there was everything from Japanese screens to Arabic pottery. The last one I didn't devote much time to, despite how beautiful it was, because I've never really been interested in pottery. Honestly, I'd be happy with plain white bowls or bowls made out of dark wood, much like my taste in furniture.

There were other interesting things, though:
2014 DC Meteoric Iron dagger for Emperor Jahangir

That's a literal starmetal dagger. Emperor Jahangir had it made out of a fallen star, and later said that it "cut beautifully, as well as the very best swords." So maybe there is something to that meteoric iron superweapon fantasy trope!

2014 DC Kobo Daishi going to China

That's a picture of Kōbō Daishi on his trip to China to learn the teachings of Buddhism, which he later brought back to Japan. I mainly liked this image because it has a literal example of red oni blue oni (赤鬼青鬼), though the art is definitely beautiful as well. It's the kind of thing I'd love to have in [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and my bedroom, in my imagined dream residence where the bedroom has byōbu, tatami floors, a futon instead of a bed, zaisu and low table, and so on. I can probably do a lot of that even if there isn't a tatami flooring, really. I actually prefer sitting on the floor in a lot of cases.

Oh! Also, in a weird coincidence, I found proof that [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd, like Nicholas Cage and Keanu Reeves, is an immortal vampire who has survived through the ages and secretly manipulates us from behind the scenes:

2014 DC Green and Gold: the Little Green Cap

Green and Gold: the Little Green Cap, but it's pretty obviously a picture of my wife. I'm on to your schemes!

The collection of jades was neat, but it's just jade discs so it doesn't make a very good photographic subject.

After I looked all around there, I used my remaining time to head back into the Museum of the American Indian and look around some more. There was a short movie called Who We Are that they showed in the theatre on the top floor, so I headed up there to watch that. It was maybe fifteen minutes and primarily served as a well to tell people that Native Americans aren't just records in history books or cultures frozen in time, both of which I already knew, but it was a good introduction to the idea. Then it let us out in an exhibit that went into detail on various tribes' traditional beliefs and practices, most of which I knew almost nothing about. I couldn't stay for the entire time, though, because [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd texted me to let me know she was finished with her presentation an hour before I expected, so I had to start walking. I was determined that I would walk from our hotel to the National Mall and back to our hotel, and I did. It just took me about an hour since it was mostly at a slight-to-moderate incline. I didn't go back to our room when I walked into the hotel room; I just sat on the couch and let [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd know that I was down there.

We were going to meet with [ profile] satinalien for dinner at Old Europe, but she was feeling under the weather, so [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I went ourselves. Here's a sample of what we ate:

2014 DC Dark rye bread with schmalz at Old Europe

That's dark rye bread with Griebenschmalz vom Schwein, or a spread made from rendered pig fat. It may have been the least kosher thing I've ever eaten, but it tasted fantastic. I also got the Schnitzel Old Europe, which had veal, chicken, tomatos, onions, hollendaise sauce, and sides of sauerkraut, potatos, and mixed vegetables. And beef stew as an appetizer and a dark chocolate cake. It was quite possibly the most stereotypical German meal I could have eaten other than the lack of bratwurst, but you can't have everything at once. I also learned that my pronunciation of German is not particularly good, which shouldn't surprise me since I've never studied it at all. Maybe I should look into that if I plan to go to German restaurants more often.

After that, we went home and went to sleep. We were going to meet up with some friends, but they were drained from the day's activities and so were we, so we all went to bed.

Saturday - Trip Home
Not that much to say for the final day, since it was mostly just taken up by going home, going shopping, and then sitting around at home. There was one minor hiccup when it turned out that the hotel's free shuttle didn't run on weekend's until 9, so we had to walk from the hotel to the Metro, and then that Metro trains only run about every half an hour on weekends, but we made it there, made it to Union Station in time to take the MARC train (which only started weekend service in December!) back to the Baltimore airport, and then flew out. The only notable thing was the restaurant we ate in in the Baltimore airport had USB plugs in the wall. They also were locally-owned and served locally-sourced food which was really good, but I didn't take any pictures so you'll have to take my word for it.

It was pretty great. I'm glad we had enough money and I had enough vacation time that I could come along, because if I'm going to be a tourist in a city, DC is a great place to be one, and a lot of [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and my friends seem to live either in DC or in the cities around it. Next year is Orlando and I've heard that it's in Disney, but how much fun would that be by myself? The year after that is New Orleans, though, where I've never been before, so I have to go to that one.

Whew! That took forever to write. Smiling sweatdrop

Active Weekend

2013-Jun-17, Monday 17:38
dorchadas: (Dreams are older)
So, last weekend [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and had another party finally! And true to form, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd couldn't decide on a day to hold it, and so I picked the weekend, and then it rained. Of course. If we had had the party on Sunday, it would have been a brilliant sunny day, and then we could have gone on our two-hour-long walk to get a new keyboard on Saturday instead, when it was probably ~8 degrees cooler and cloudy. Then again, maybe I wouldn't have spilled chrysanthemum liqueur on my keyboard if we had it on Sunday and we wouldn't have had to go for a walk at all on Saturday, which if you notice, would have been anticausal anyway.

I missed out on playing Betrayal at the House on the Hill, but I did get to try Elder Sign and...I thought it was pretty terrible, honestly. It was pure Ameritrash--a very strong theme, of investigators trapped in a museum and hurling themselves at the terrible horror from beyond the stars (the King in Yellow, in our case), but with mechanics that are kind of forced through the round hole to fit the theme. I mean, I suppose all of your actions being at the whim of the pitiless hand of the RNG does fit Lovecraft's uncaring universe and the lack of any special place for mankind, but I felt like there was very little I could do that would actually affect the outcome of the game other than occasionally add a couple more dice into the pool. And even that wasn't always good, because those dice were supposed to be more favorable results, and thus didn't have the tentacles "Terror" icon, but sometimes there were locations that required multiple Terror results and the extra dice didn't do any good. The strategy relied on determining where to allocate the results of dice after they were rolled, which is strategic, yes, but it wasn't very satisfying.

It was described to me as Arkham Horror-lite, which if that's true, makes me glad I've never played Arkham Horror. I'll stick to games like Android.

Unfortunately, as I said, I managed to spill alcohol on my keyboard, and despite [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's heroic and nearly-successful attempts to repair it, it was too far gone. She managed to get some of the keys to work again, but there were still about half of them that were broken, including both enter keys, and the second attempt to fix all those caused it to give up the ghost completely. Fortunately, in a burst of foresight two years ago, I had deliberately bought a $19.99 keyboard, reasoning that before mechanically failure hit I would spill something on it and ruin it. And what do you know...

Anyway, we ended up going on a two-hour walk trying to find a new keyboard. First to Target, which had a spot for the wired keyboards but nothing actually in stock, and then to Radio Shack, except Google Maps listed them as seven blocks south of where they actually were, so we had to walk that distance and then all the way back home. On the other hand, we did pass by Golden Pacific, which is good because we needed another bag of rice, and because I got to walk through Little Saigon around Argyle Street. As I told my father when I called him for Father's Day, I was walking through a place where I looked different than the average person, I couldn't understand most of what people were saying, and I couldn't read half the signs. I felt right at home.

We'll have to go back. There were a ton of restaurants I didn't know were there that we have to try.

Three things

2008-Feb-13, Wednesday 22:31
dorchadas: (Dreams are older)
I had to ask for a deadline extension today. I feel like a real journalist.

My muscles are made of lead. I really hoped I'd be feeling better, but (except for how I felt Sunday night) I feel worse. This must be how a Martian who came to Earth would feel.

A hand-made Valentine's Day card is the best gift ever.

OMG boxes

2007-Jul-06, Friday 00:07
dorchadas: (Angst)
Packing is really, really annoying. Fortunately, we're almost done. We only have a few things left:

  • Sort through the stuff at the top of my closet

  • Pack [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and my clothes away

  • Get the stuff I've left in the basement (video games, Wii, etc.)

Once that's done, it's just moving to the new location and then unpacking. As well as working out a few other minor details when we get there (how to dispose of garbage, how we get the mail, pre-lease signing inspection to make sure we don't get screwed out of our security deposit when we leave...).

I think It's the Fear is my favorite song right now. You can take the angst out of me, but you can't take me out of the angst, I guess.
dorchadas: (Gendowned)
So, while Ultimate yesterday was awesome, my muscles today are doing a fabulous job of telling me that I shouldn't have played it. At length, and with some vigor. While I'm more in shape than I was (I didn't get excessively tired during the game, and I didn't need a break, or even really to sit down, after it was done), I'm not as in shape as I thought. With more Ultimate games forthcoming, though, hopefully that should get better soon.

As a show of solidarity with my muscles' pain and anguish, I will share with you the most emo video ever made.

If anyone can out-emo that, please post it. I'm curious. ^_^
dorchadas: (Dreams are older)
There's some images available from the next Fallout game. With the change in setting, they won't need to worry much about what happened on the West Coast. It's shaping up to be a good game, from the minimal information we have. Have to wait until Fall 2008 for it, though...

I got to play Ultimate Frisbee today. I haven't played that in...six years, I think? And I haven't played frisbee at all in three years, but I was still not bad. Better than I (and some of the other people) expected, anyway, though I need to work on throwing. I made some pretty crappy throws. We're planning on doing it the first and third Sundays of the month, at Engstrom Park in Batavia, for anyone who is free and available to come.

Oh--this is another shout out. Rachel and I will be moving into our apartment on the 7th. For anyone who wants to help, we'll feed you a home-cooked meal at the end of the day. ^_^
dorchadas: (Drop Bear)
Starcraft board game?

Awesome. I mean, clearly actually playing Starcraft is awesome too, but a board game? 180 miniatures? Card-driven combat? 2-6 players?

All I have to say is, "Zerg Rush! Kekekekekekeke ^_^"

My knee has been clicking a lot when I do anything other than moving it in simple up-and-down patterns. It's a little worrying, though not that much. It's not painful, there's no loss of movement, and since I had knee surgery when I was 13 I knew something like this would happen eventually. I just hoped that eventually would mean "sometime in the distant future."

I should probably stretch more before exercising. My stretching right now is kind of perfunctory.

Ow the pain

2006-Feb-17, Friday 16:40
dorchadas: (Drop Bear)
So, I left work a little early today because of extreme lower back pain. It's gone away slightly since then--but not much.

It started at lunch with a little twinge every time I coughed (for those in the know, The Cough is back >_<). By the time lunch was over, it was a general achiness. After about twenty minutes, it was pure pain with spikes whenever I bent the wrong direction.

It could have been caused by exercise (I lifted last night), but wouldn't that have shown up before lunchtime? Regardless, I came back from work to lie down for a while and am currently sitting at my computer with a heating pad and a cup of green tea. Hopefully that helps...


dorchadas: (Default)

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