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Archive for May, 2009


On ankles and resting

Posted by Leith in News,Play

Probably the most present thought about this week for me is that I managed to bust my ankle at basketball practice early in the week. I rolled it pretty bad and went down, so I subbed out and rested up for a while. I then (rather foolishly, as it turns out) thought it was just a minor roll and that resting out for a while had done the trick, so I played a bit more before going home. During the same practice, I had a comic moment where I ran into one of the girls and then had a basketball hit my forehead a split second later… again, down I go. Seriously, if I’d been watching I would have thought it was hysterical. As it was, I was just a little dazed for a moment before it was back to basketball. On the way home from practice, my ankle just started to hurt more and more, and I needed to walk on it to get back to my apartment, which was less than fun. So, I’m pretty sure I managed to sprain my ankle. No, I didn’t go to a doctor about it. Should I have? Maybe. But I figure that with that kind of thing they’re not going to tell me much I didn’t already know. At best they would have given me some wraps for my foot… but getting there in the first place was a bit problematic, so I figured to just stick with what I knew about resting it up.

Speaking of rest, luckily for me this week has been Golden Week here in Japan, which is a series of public holidays that are strung together and give people a good chunk of time off. Sadly the weather has mostly been rubbish this week. With that going on, classes are all messed up, no one’s really in the research lab; all in all it’s a pretty slow time, which was perfect for resting up my ankle. By the time this weekend rolled around, it was feeling pretty good. I then went out with Kyoko to celebrate her birthday (sort of… it’s actually her birthday today, so Happy Birthday to her! I spent a few hours putting together a drawing of some of her favourite flowers for her) – the place she chose to go is called “Muscle Park”, which is a kind of sports-skill-based amusement park out in Odaiba (where we wandered around a bit first and later saw and enjoyed Slumdog Millionaire). It was a lot of fun, despite highlighting how completely uncoordinated I am at a lot of things. Only problem was when we were on the last one we were going to do, we misread what we were doing and ended up doing balance, agility and something else I can’t remember the title for. Anyway, I managed to slightly roll my ankle again in the agility test, which pissed me off pretty bad. One for my idiocy at doing it in the first place, and two for the fact that while I managed to get a decent time, I would have shaved another couple of seconds off (and thus gotten probably the top amount of points for the section) if I hadn’t done it. >_<

Yes, I know, not my finest hour.

In other news, this week I managed to catch up with my sister a fair bit, which was very cool. I hear from her now and again (a bit more now that she randomly sends me text messages… that she knows I can’t answer…), but it’s always good to have a catch up. We made arrangements for Mothers’ Day (also today, Happy Mothers’ Day, Mum!) and just generally had a good chat.

I finally got back entries into LeithBank so that I have a full 12 months in there. It’s certainly not a typical 12 months, what with all the travel and the like, but it’s a good feeling to know that I’ve got that much data in there – all the way back to when I arrived in Japan. I still have a ton more that I can enter from my spreadsheets (or what’s left of them after my pen-drive corrupted), but that can wait a bit more I think. I might try and get to the start of the calendar year (2008, that is) after a little while so I can do some comparisons across the whole year, but I’m not sure yet. It still needs a lot of work on the income tracking side of things, but that’s less simple than the odd back entry of transactional data. *shrug* We’ll see.

I also talked this week some more with Ian about working on a joint project. We bounced some ideas around and settled on one that we think is pretty viable. After we’d done a brain dump of ideas, I organised a lot of it and wrote up a bunch of the production-oriented stuff (goals, timelines, etc). So far it’s looking pretty neat, and will make for a good side-project for us to work on. The prototype version as a kind of proof-of-concept for the two of us has been deadlined for the end of the year, which is more than doable. I hope to make a lot more progress than that before the end of the year, but I don’t want to overtax our time since we’re both working on other things full-time as it is. Partially motivated by/for this, I read the first chapter of my game development textbook that I got, which was on the history of games – veeeeeeery interesting! I’m going to try and take it slowly going through the book so I can review things properly and take it all in, but at the same time I’m itching to rush ahead and just read it all. I might end up doing that for a once-through and then go back over it to review. Either way, reading about it certainly amps me about game development… I’m a lot more amped about that than I am about doing my current actual research – oops.

Completely random aside: when getting groceries earlier this week, I got a knitted coaster as a freebie when I bought some lemon soda. I also have a bunch of other little knick-knacks (pens, magnets, lasers…) that I’ve picked up in similar fashion since I arrived in Japan. I may, in fact, be a complete sucker for meaningless cheap knick-knacks attached in order to get me to buy their product. ^^;

Ok, what’s with random people looking me up on Skype? I’ve had it happen a few times now, people just randomly adding me to their contact lists when I have no idea who they are. I mean, I’m all for random encounters to develop new friendships – some of my very good friends I met that way, in fact – but at the same time, it feels strange. Mostly I’ve just ignored/blocked the people, but I don’t really have any reason to, I suppose. Anyway, point of this is that this week I ended up chatting to some random chick in China who wants to practice her English for a while. Not quite sure how that’ll turn out… I don’t really see myself as an English teacher, but I’ll do what I can every now and again, I guess.

I had some feedback on my poetry that I posted this week, which was a bit of a surprise. I mean, I know people told me to post them so they could read my stuff, but it was still surprising that from my handful of readers they actually liked some of it. I have pieces that I like in there, but when I sat down to review my files to put them online, I realised that a lot of it is complete crap mostly derived from my being in an overly emotional or distressed state. I don’t seem to write happy poetry, you know? I took a quiz on the internet (shock, faint) around the time I started high school – it told me I was 80% likely to write bad poetry and I should just not. Since most of my poetry is pretty bad, I may be forced to conclude that not all internet personality quizzes are complete crap. Then again, I could obstinately insist they’re crap anyway, which is equally likely.

It was nice hearing that my poetry was liked, although I don’t think that I’m quite ready to have a public comments section for my pieces. Maybe I could put on something like the “So-and-so likes this” function from Facebook? What do you think, readers – would you want/use something like that?

Anastasia found out she passed her Hydro class this week, which she is extremely happy about… it sounds like a complete bitch of a class to take and she would not have been a happy camper if she’d had to retake it. So, congratulations to Anastasia, I’m sure that means her final semester of her Bachelor’s will be just that little bit easier for it.

Speaking of Anastasia, the new futon got delivered this week. My little single futon from the dorm wouldn’t have really cut it when she arrives next week. There are a bunch of things I would really like to do to get this place up to scratch for her visit, but time and money are both factors. I wonder how long we’ll last after she’s here before we get the gas range (stove-top)? While I find I can make do pretty well with frozen stuff, sandwiches of many varieties, fresh things and the odd comvenience store snack to supplement lunches on campus and the odd dinner picked up from bento stores or restaurants, I don’t know how well that’s going to scale to two people. Anyway, new futon! It’s bigger, it’s coloured “moss green” which is quite pleasant, and it comes bedding and extra pillows, which is a plus. I’ll probably need to get another futon to layer underneath, but it’s good for now.

On the anime front this week, I started to watch Eden of the East, which I’m enjoying so far – just the right amounts of mystery and crazy without seeming completely ridiculous, and a likeable main character. I haven’t decided which sub group I’m going to stick with just yet… I think I need to figure out who’s actually going to stick with the project as well as provide good quality. Since there are a lot of groups doing it, I should be able to find a good one. I also finished watching Darker than Black, which I absolutely loved! Awesome characters, some really nice action sequences and animation… I might have to get the manga as well, see how much they left out, how accurate it is and so on. In any case, I would thoroughly recommend it, although it’s certainly not an anime for children… once again illustrating for me how the animated medium is one that can be intended for more mature audiences and should be respected as such.

Today was mostly a catch-up-with-people day. A few long Skype calls to people all over the world, various chats in IM with people… a good communicative day. Although it started off a bit weirdly with a dream about sitting in the lotus position with some woman I didn’t know talking to her. Weird in itself, and in that I remembered any of it… other than a vague awareness of knowing I dream, I don’t usually remember any details at all. While I don’t put any particular stock in the symbolism of dreams, I do wonder at the fact that I remember anything at all, since that’s pretty rare.

Will I remember more dreams, I wonder?

1 comment


Psych! …ologist, that is

Posted by Leith in News,Play,Travel

Ok, so this week I went to see the psychologist for my preliminary before I head to the psychiatrist in a couple of weeks (it’s a busy time of year). I managed to make it on time, despite sleeping through my alarm as I’d left my headphones in from the night before. She was pretty nice, asked me a bunch of questions that seemed fairly standard and gave me a diary to complete as preparation. I wasn’t really expecting to get homework but hey, whatever. I have to monitor times that I’m in bed but not sleeping, in bed and sleeping, and when I have my meals. Apparently this will help the psychiatrist glean something about my sleep patterns, or the state of my health, or something. We’ll see, I guess. As it stands, I’m slated to go see the doc right before Anastasia is due to arrive here in Japan. This week I talked to her as much as I could, she’s been busy studying, doing assignments and preparing for her end-of-semester exams, which has been pretty stressful for her.

My sleep this week has been ok-ish. The drugs I got from the doctor last week do seem to be helping, at least a bit. I’m not sleeping the whole night through, but at the very least I’m getting some solid hours which makes me a bit more functional during the day, hurrah! It does leave me with a pretty severe bout of being groggy though, which is less than fun. I’ve also been having lots of weird dreams. I don’t really remember them as usual, but the fact that I’m more than peripherally aware that I’m dreaming at all is pretty unusual for me. I wonder if that’s to do with the meds as well, or just my brain being weird?

This week on the school front a few things happened. I chatted with Todo-san a bit about some potential research to do with creating animations or animation-ready models from image scans. I’m not sure how feasible it is, but it’s something that I’m going to be looking into a bit more when I’ve got some headspace for it. He might be able to swing me a visit to OLM Digital, where he does a lot of his research in collaboration with them. I spent a fair bit of time talking with him about animation work-flow and going over a book that he brought in to show me. I’m hoping that after a bit more thinking, I should be able to come up with a secondary research idea that helps animators.

I had my first Monday Japanese class this week now that it’s regulated, and I got Tajiri-sensei as the teacher. She’s a whole lot of fun, so I’m really happy to have her for this semester as well. Since I’ve been doing a whole lot of paper reading/reviewing for the reading group that I’m in (which takes a really long time), I’ve had to revise my initial timeline for the booking software usability research I’m doing as I’ve hit a bit of a wall… I’m not going anywhere particularly quickly, and as things from my classes start to pile up a bit, I’m not sure how quickly I’m really going to be able to progress. We’ll see, I guess. I actually had lunch with a Thai student named Mio in my Human Interfaces class this week and chatted about some of the difficulties we’ve both been having.

I also talked with one of my friends in the lab about our supervisor a bit. I think he’s a great researcher, but I don’t know that he does particularly well with students that don’t already have a lot of their own research ideas, which is a bit frustrating. I need a bit more guidance and examples of things that I can do to get my head in the right space, or projects I can cut my teeth on, I guess. It makes the research side of things a bit more of an uphill battle than I was expecting it to be. I think one of the new students this semester is having similar issues in trying to come up with ideas that are appropriate/feasible, actually.

This week I’ve been trying to talk to a few people online, send out a few more emails than usual since as everyone knows, I can be complete rubbish at sending email replies to people. I have emails sitting in my inbox that are months old that I still haven’t got around to replying to yet, which is pretty appalling. Anyway, one of the things that came up for me when I was emailing my brother was that lately I’ve been kind of wishing for a lifestyle where I actually know what I’m doing. It’s a challenge trying to keep pushing myself with my research, to keep going with all the class stuff in Japanese and to maintain some kind of semblance of sanity/a life on the side. I still don’t really have a lot of good friends here, despite getting to know more and more people. Working somewhere and applying my knowledge seems like a really nice idea sometimes. That being said, I do still know that it was the right choice to come here and I can feel that I’m where I need to be, which is a good feeling. I just wish it was a bit easier!

I listened to a bit more of Ian’s music this week, and was inspired by one of the pieces to try my hand at making a sort of video for it. Unfortunately, my video-making skills aren’t quite on par with what I can envision in my head, so it might be a while before anything like that of mine actually surfaces on the web. Until I can at least get something looking more like I want it and less like pop-art threw up on my computer screen, that is.

For those of you that wanted my writing, there’s a few more pieces up on my writing page. Oh, speaking of writing, I also uploaded a somewhat tongue-in-cheek review of a concert I went to quite a while ago now.

On my day off this week, I played a couple of missions of Heroes of Might and Magic V, which I’ve been quite enjoying slowly but surely playing my way through. I actually have both of the expansions as well, although I think it’ll take me quite a while to get through them as well, so I’ll have to content myself with the occasional scenario if I want to use the expansion sides and maps. I also spent some more time fixing various bugs and adding new things to my LeithBank system – it’s getting pretty good. I can certainly see myself getting rid of my spreadsheets entirely soon and just using my online system. I’m not sure at what point I’ll be able to open it up so that other people can try using the system as well… if ever, really. It’s a personal tool and as much as I’d like to be believe that other people would find it useful and use it, I don’t know if I could ever really customise it to fit the expectations that I would have for a tool like that, let alone other people. Especially since it’s going to be pretty hodge-podge for quite a while yet.

I have some news of not-quite-impending travel! I’m going to be off to the US at the end of this year to go to Anastasia’s graduation, then stay through Christmas before the two of us head first to New Zealand to see my family and friends for New Year, then off to Japan where she will be living with me until I graduate next year. Pretty neat, huh?

I had dinner at this meat place on the way home this week as well. I think it was Korean, but I’m not really sure. I had a bunch of meat and some spicy soup that was pretty damn good. Somewhat amusingly, the little after-dinner mint they gave me was heart-shaped and quite cute. Even more amusingly, I had randomly picked the day of the month on which they give you a discount voucher worth 29% of your bill total – bonus!

Another side note, this time made of awesome. As are the people that made Tex Murphy… I’m happy they’re back into making games!

Yet another side note, I looked into mattress prices online a bit. In Japan, they’re bloody expensive. After a bit more scouting around online and with the help of Kyoko reading some Japanese websites for me, I managed to find a double-sized futon that looks pretty good. I’ll probably need to get some futons to act as a kind of softening layer underneath, but on the whole I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Last random notes for this week – today I had okonomiyaki and monjayaki, both of which were delicious. I then proceeded to have my revenge in playing pool against Kyoko which included making her do a handstand in the (empty, but public) hallway as punishment. Now I just need to worry what happens next time she trounces me… ^^;

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