Friday, November 27, 2009

Two year anniversary.

B5EDB3D1[1] Time sure does seem to pass by fast when all I do is go to work… You know like everybody else in this world. Life after college is pretty normal outside of living in Japan of course.
Yesterday was the two year anniversary of dating with Yuko. It still feels like I just got here. I ended up taking her out to a restaurant called Gyukaku (a Korean style bbq restaurant) where we feasted on overpriced, thinly sliced meats till our guts bulged out. It was an expensive dinner but it’s what she wanted and I gladly paid for all of it. Eating at a bbq restaurant isn’t all that romantic, but we’re so comfortable together that we don’t have to pretend to be more than we really are. I think that’s really cool. It also makes choosing dinner locations a lot easier!
I don’t think it will be that hard to top that dinner for Christmas, but I think I’ll try to have our next big dinner at a more normal location where we can relax a bit more and not worry about how much food we should eat.
Wow, two years. I wonder what things will be like around this time next year.

I got a Christmas tree.

DSC00004 Since I’ll be missing another Christmas back at home, I figured I’d put some money down on a tree to get me in a festive mood.
My room is really small so a full sized tree was never an option, but I think I did a good job considering the space I have to work with. I spent 99 yen on a miniature tree which stands just a little over 20 inches. I spent more on the decorations, about 100 yen for each kind of decoration, the silver star, lights, bells, and bulbs.
In total, I spent about 500 on the tree, which is pretty good as nobody will really see it besides my loyal readers, and Yuko. It looks really nice in the evening and gives a really nice seasonal feel to my room.
DSC00006 I doubt I’ll put any presents around it because I really don’t have any gifts to give to anybody around here besides Yuko. It looks really nice for a 99 yen artificial tree. :)
Oh and by the way, happy Thanksgiving. Today’s post was made on Thanksgiving (Pacific Standard Time.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Computer upgrade was a success.

water_laptop I’ve had this update in my drafts box for over a month now and just realized I never published it. Just for the sake of continuity, I’ll be dating it when it was actually typed out.
I’m usually pretty good with handling electronics but sometimes stuff just happens. Well, stuff happened to me one morning when I forgot I set down a nice full glass of water next to my laptop. I knocked the glass over and most of the water spilled away from the laptop but a few precise drops of water hit the touch pad and keyboard and made things a little wonky. So I quickly powered down and proceeded to break down the system to get out any water I couldn’t reach from the outside.
I managed to get all the water out, but I was too hasty in putting the system back together and damaged a little microchip that happened to control frequently used features of my system like the USB ports and Ethernet controller. After a few months of just living primarily on wireless internet, unreliable USB, a memory card reader that crashed my system routinely, and a handful of hardware related system crashes I decided I was going to swap out motherboards once and for all.
434722-1 The system came with a really weak Intel GMA945 integrated graphics processor that is in many low end systems today. I figured it would be better to get a motherboard model with better specs that I could easily swap out my CPU/Memory without having to get a new case. After a lot of double checking and searching on EBay I found a suitable replacement at just under 100 dollars. I chose the model that had a Geforce Go7400 mobile graphics setup in it. The new graphics processor would allow me to play a few older PC games and take a little stress off my CPU for decoding Video and DVDs. After about 2 weeks of waiting I received a replacement motherboard from Hong Kong and popped it in my aging system.
The accidental damage and following upgrade to my system breathed new life into my computer. I was considering getting a new system or building my own, but the new motherboards specs bumped up my system performance quite a bit to where I can hold off another year or so before I really need to upgrade. I’m lucky I have the experience and knowledge to service my own computers because sending my system to a specialist or to HP for repair would have probably forced me just to get another system and start from scratch. I am very pleased I could salvage my system and am really glad every thing was cheap and easy to find on eBay. :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

I needed more room.

DSC00010With my recent purchase of the Billy Blanks workout kit paired with Yuko’s nagging to plug in the kotatsu again has forced me once again to rearrange my tiny room.


DSC00003
I used to have all my stuff at a weird angle which really made my room seem a lot smaller than it really is. DSC00009I’d always bump into the loft ladder trying to access my closet behind the couch, or ram my shin into my kotatsu in the middle of the night trying to find my way to the kitchen area. I finally had enough of the cramped, although functional layout of my old room and moved all my stuff in a couple of hours on Monday night.
 DSC00014My room is now is laid out length wise like it used to be last year, except this time the TV is where my couch was. When I moved in, I really wanted my setup to be this way but I was too lazy to route wires and I didn’t have all the cool stuff I do now to make it as functional as it is now.
DSC00011 There’s no power outlet on the wall where my TV is now, so I had to improvise with a long power strip cable which is in plain view but not in the way of any foot traffic. I also routed my stereo speaker wires, cable TV, and Ethernet cables next to the large window that is covered in curtains. Even when the window’s open, the wires are neatly managed in one of those wire spindle things.
DSC00006
DSC00019After rearranging my room I felt it was a good idea to do a little seasonal decoration again. It’s almost Christmas season so I got some tinsel and a few figurines to lay about my room. I’ll probably get some lights too. So far I’ve only spent 600 on decorations so far. I might even get a small artificial Christmas tree with built in fiber optic lights to complete the decorations.
DSC00017
Now with a much wider room, I am able to do just about every exercise in Billy Blanks Amped without the worry of injuring myself or destroying property. I’m happy as is Yuko. Heck, if I had enough friends around, I think I might be able to properly host a small gathering here now. Too bad nobody visits.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I’m not fat, I just have an allergic reaction to life that makes me look bloated.

DSC00002After living in Japan for two straight years, I’ve really let myself go. Having a girlfriend that accepts me for the uncivilized caveman I am, and being off the market for so long really made it easy for me to ignore my reflection in the mirror. After some relentless prodding from Yuko, and my own guilt, I decided to do something about it. I bought a workout DVD set.

I ordered the Billy Blanks Taebo Amped DVD workout kit for 900 yen brand new off of rakuten.com. The reason it was so cheap is that it was the English version without Japanese subtitles or a dub. I guess that makes sense since most people would probably want to have a workout without having to workout everything in thier heads as far as vocal directions go.

I’m into the third day of trying to work out with the first disc of 4. I am not sure if I could be doing better if my room were adequately sized to accommodate my height for full, unrestricted movement. My body is sore, and I am sweating tons which means it should be working. Hopefully, I will not loose my focus and continue with my workout routine. Even Yuko joins in which makes it even harder for me to not put my foot or arm through a window or my fish tank.

I love my loft bed area but I really am starting to resent it now that I do workouts in my room below it. I’ve knocked my fist across it a couple of times already, forgetting it was there.

Billy Blanks Taebo Amped paired with Yuko’s diet focused recipes should help me get some positive results.

I look forward to seeing some improvement in my weight and health in about a month from now.