I did NOT have a lobster roll.

Last time I went to my MIT class reunion was my first time back to a class reunion. It took me 25 years to get over the fact that they let me into MIT. I had an awful time as an undergrad. But a fellow alumnus pointed out that as a high school graduate I wouldn’t’ve made any other choice.

My first reunion was the first big one, the 25th. I had such a good time that I decided to go to all reunions I could make it to. I did miss getting a lobster roll last time so this time I got TWO of them. I also lucked into a few things.

A lot of people know that I’ll talk to just about anyone. I recognized a classmate early (who is an instructor at BU) and she challenged another classmate and I to crash Tech Night at the Pops (the Boston Pops). I didn’t exactly crash it, but I did get tickets at the door. The Boston Pops is certainly worth seeing and I missed out not going when I had the chance in the past.

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On the way back several members of the MIT Corporation got on the bus and I chatted with them about getting a ticket to commencement. Matt Damon was the speaker and I wanted to see him. The head of the corporation joked that I could have his ticket but I’d have to speak. I looked him up afterwards and if I had known anything about him or the other members on the bus I would’ve been frightened to talk to them. Here’s his official (cary picture). He looked much nicer in real life. Besides, he’s a fellow alumnus.

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So the next morning about 9AM I was walking down the infinite corridor and I asked a random parent-looking-person when commencement started. They told me 10, and that there was a shorter line behind me, and asked if I was going. I said I didn’t have a ticket and they gave me one! In line I met a guy who was there to see a niece, I think, graduate and he turned out to be the high school locker-mate of my old classmate Paul DiMilla! And since I was just one person and not a group, they kept ushering me forward. I ended up at the fence between general admission and the 25th/50th reunion section. A classmate convinced the guard to let me through and I ended up watching Matt Damon speak from a great seat right behind the class of 1966!

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That lead to a day of crashing departmental receptions to eat free food, and then the class dinner.

Saturday morning I talked myself into a group of classmates doing the scavenger hunt. The woman on the very right is a class officer who took five years to accept my Facebook friend request. One woman directly to my right (left in the picture) used to be a lawyer at Nike (Harvard Law School graduate) and lives 1.2 miles away from me! And I don’t know if we met since our undergrad days!

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There was an attempt on my part to buy shorts, which ended up with my accidentally stealing a sweatshirt, which meant I had to run back and pay for it. I was late for the class games, which were fun but we didn’t win. Then there was the class trivia night and big party for the 100th anniversary of MIT moving from Boston to Cambridge.

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The next morning I got up, packed up, and then snuck into the president’s house for the class of ’91 brunch which only 25th reunion people get to do. OK, so I was invited so I wasn’t really crashing the party. I even got a picture with the MIT president – something I missed five years ago when I bailed early to get to the Apple WWDC (Steve Jobs’ last WWDC). It’s a different president than five years ago, but I still got a picture with the president of MIT!

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I even snuck into the class of ’91 picture! (I missed my class photo.)

Here are two more class of ’86 alumni who were also at the class photo.

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I had a great time. Met my goal (the lobster roll) and my stretch goal (seeing Matt Damon) and even “snuck into” several other events. Everyone should go to their reunion!

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My name is Todd and I’ve started Crossfit again.

OK, so it’s not just Crossfit, because I think a lot of those guys just do whatever is on the main Crossfit blog. The owner of Pacific Crest Crossfit actually uses all his Crossfit training to add to the programming he does. No matter what it is, I’m still doing less than everyone else and it’s still kicking my ass.

I’ve also decided to counteract all the exercise with beer. There’s a couple of interesting places very close by, Ex Novo and Labrewatory. Labrewatory is unique as it is an experimental brewery where Portland Kettleworks sets up brewing equipment that they’ve made for their customers, and the customers come in and learn how to use it all. They have a Mexican Chocolate Stout, and an Almond Roca Stout. And even thought there’s more food at Ex Novo, Labrewatory has Tamale Boy tamales.

Even more interesting, Labrewatory has Japanese customers and I’ve met several of them. Last Friday was Rise and Win Brewing (even had dinner with those guys) and tonight I met Porltand Blogger Red Gillen (who blogs in Japanese) and a kid named Max. Max has an interesting back story and is a Japanese calligrapher and he wrote my name on his business card!

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Max is going to be at Commons Brewery on 5/13/2016 from 6PM to 8PM. 

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What a crummy week.

This has not been the best of times. It’s not the worst of times, either. That’s likely in the future. Things at work are not ideal and I can’t say much more because I’m trying not to say that much about work any more.

I also tried to endure my usual allergy shot and it caused me to break out into hives and required FOUR Benadryl to avoid staying an itchy blotchy mess. Or is it a blotchy itchy mess? It almost became a non-breathing itchy blotchy mess and that would’ve made me an ex-itchy blotchy mess.

And today I went to my new Crossfit gym and even though I kept it “light” I think I’m going to have issues with my shoulder now as well as my lingering issues with my right foot.

Yesterday wasn’t so bad though. I went to watch my friend’s kid’s senior presentations and she’s doing quite well as far as I can tell. I have to admit she’s a bit of a nutbag, but I’m pretty sure her biological dad is my friend and he’s a serious nutbag. It’s not like I like normal people. After watching the two presentations (she had to go and get a double-major in Math and Chemistry) I went to a local MIT Alumni association happy hour.

I was at the pub for the happy hour a bit early and I kind of could tell that nobody there was an MIT grad. I asked my sister if that was odd that I thought that I could tell the difference between an MIT grad an a “normie” and she said, “Well you are one of them.” I actually picked several of my fellow alumni of the crowd without having met them before.

I think I’ve finally come to terms with my time at MIT: it was my choices that led me to the tortures of undergraduate life there and not really the fault of MIT. Because of that I think I can actually talk about the place as somewhere that nerds NEED to go rather than a place that should be avoided at all costs. A true geek needs to go to find out how they measure up, as well as drink from the firehose. I’m finally OK that I just ended up a guy who can live with a single, older, middle-class existence in the hipster paradise of Portland, Oregon. There are excellent beers available as well as tasty tamales. I can have computers to play with and some sort of compromised ham radio antenna for my other geeky hobby. I’m OK.

Now if could just stay peacefully employed and keep from trying to keep up with the kids at a Crossfit gym, I’d be even better off. Wish me luck!

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Oh how my priorities change.

I finally found a new gym. I had a bunch of things I wanted in a new gym: not too easy, not too hard. Too easy seemed to be all over, and Crossfit definitely seemed too hard. I was thinking maybe taking up BJJ, or doing yoga, but really wanted a pullup bar and a rope to climb, two things that are easier to find at a Crossfit gym. So when an old friend told me to join him at a Crossfit gym he’d been sneaking off to I finally relented. And they have a not-quite-that-long rope to climb!

So far it hasn’t been too bad but I haven’t been going for a full week yet. They have several “levels” of workouts and I’m old and lazy enough to stick to the easiest level. Even I ran 2½ miles tonight which is two miles more than I’ve run at one time in for years. Now I’m just hoping I don’t hurt myself.

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Not really successfully finding a new gym.

When the gym closed I set up a Facebook page for gym “alumni” so we could talk about where to go while our gym is on hiatus. We’re hoping it’s just a hiatus anyway. But not that many people are posting about where they’ve been and how it was. I wonder if they’re just doing what I’m doing, which is next to nothing, still kind of depressed that the old reliable gym is gone. I made it to Five Rings Jiu Jitsu once with my gi and my workout gear, thinking I’d decide which to do when I got there. Nathan, THMFIC at Recreate, was telling me I should start BJJ. Last Saturday morning they were having a gym exchange so I could only do the fitness class. It wasn’t what I expected – lots of stretching before warming up and just the workout. But the workout was pretty good.

Anyway, I’ve only been to one place, for one workout, and even though I spent $140 on a gi for BJJ I still haven’t gone to a class. I guess I went a couple of times back at Portland Judo but that was a year-and-a-half ago.

I guess I’ve had excuses: a stomachache last week that almost made me go home from work, a headache (from allergies I hope) this week that almost made me go home from work, and today, not wanting to get beat up on my birthday.

OK, so birthday. I figured this is my only chance to score some free stuff but all I did was go to another building at work to get a free beer and pretzel (from the “our company isn’t as awful as you think” committee). I really just went to work and hoped it wouldn’t be too awful. It wasn’t. Happy birthday to me.

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Wandering around at 9AM on a Saturday morning.

I was a little hung over this morning, mostly tired with a weird feeling in my stomach. Weird like having to poo a lot weird. I decided it was a nice morning and THERE WAS NO MORE GYM TO GO TO so I should just walk there anyway and look inside. That was a weird feeling. The parking lot was completely empty, and so was the inside of the gym.

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I figured as long as I made it that far, I should go visit some of the other gyms in the neighborhood. I went to Planet Granite, which I found when I was trying to find the Immigration Office. My mom has to get her green card renewed next year or so, and she was worried about not being able to find the new office. I wandered around inside and, luckily, was able to use their bathroom. I ran into someone I who was in my pre-med classes at Portland State – she’s a dentist now. But the class looked boring when I looked over. Lots of squats and lunges.

I next went to a new crossfit box and it was full of young people and one told me they do the WOD off the crossfit blog every day. Sounded like death and I’m too old to be keeping up with all the 20-year-olds.

Finally, it wasn’t much of a detour to go to one of the bazillion yoga studios in the neighborhood. My New Year’s resolution was to start doing yoga, so I may do that. Yet another year I put something reasonable as my aspirations and actually follow through on it.

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I was wrong about the last workout at Recreate Fitness.

I may not have attended the most classes at Recreate Fitness but I may have spent the most hours there of anyone who wasn’t an official employee. Today I went in just before noon to dismantle things and at least make sure they could haul out as much as possible. I can’t remember what I did, but I didn’t finish until almost 7PM and I’m dog tired.

I probably spent a couple of hours going up and down ladders. TRX anchors, speakers, rope climbing ropes, all came down. I carried a mini-fridge down the stairs and being a dummy I checked the contents AFTER I got it down. The stereo was boxed up. I got everything I thought was mine out of there (ladders, tools, etc) and that barely gave me enough time to go to a ham radio club meeting. After leaving the meeting early I got a text message from a co-worker who serendipitously let me know that I had a 9PM customer meeting. That left me just enough time to have a nutritious dinner from Jack-in-the-Box. What a day.

I forgot to add that I felt like I split my pants while doing all the climbing and lifting. I forgot about that and went out to get coffee. No screams from children or the homeless people camping on the route to the coffee shop. When I finally went to the bathroom I found out why. No rip in the pants. A HUGE RIP in my boxers. Well, if I didn’t put it on my blog no one would’ve known. And since no one reads my blog NO ONE KNOWS. Hahaha.

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LAST WORKOUT AT RECREATE FITNESS!

This isn’t the first time I quit Recreate Fitness, but this is the first time that Recreate Fitness quit me. The lease on the second space is up and real estate in Portland is nuts so they’re on hiatus. I’m afraid that the hiatus may be longer than expected but why worry about things I can’t control?

I took a break a couple of years back when I had a midlife crisis. Well, mostly bummed and midlife because, well, that’s supposed to be 40 +/- 20 years according to the intarwebs. (Seriously, 20-60?) Anyway, I’m on the immature side so 50-ish doesn’t seem to far off from midlife. Back to the non-math part of this, back a couple years I had an inkling that THMFIC wasn’t really feeling it any more and he was going to eventually close the gym. At the same time I went on a couple of dates with someone from OkCupid, she disappeared, and I realized that in 20 years I’d only gone out with two or three people from online dating sites and that meant this was probably the last time I was going on a date, EVER. So I tried to delete my Facebook account, put my name in to join a prestigious athletic club with a five-year waitlist, and started taking Judo instead of going to Recreate.

That was a bit of a mistake on my part. Everyone gets injured at Judo, and if you’re older (and you’re bad at Judo like I was) it takes longer to heal. I would’ve kept going, but there were reasons. And I found out that the only way to find out when things were happening at the dojo was to have a Facebook account. The injuries won out and I went back to Recreate.

There were some good things that came from my hiatus. I spent more time at work and that was good (and bad). More work means you get better reviews but it also means they expect you to do even more work. Constant improvements is the way of corporate America.

So here I am, old and on my way to becoming feeble. No more gym, a place where I used to spend a lot of my time. I’m thinking of taking up the banjo. Won’t anyone stop me?

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So much for the gym.

Every time I think about going to the gym more than a couple times a week, I seem to get sick. Fortunately not really sick, but bad enough that I have to sleep more rather than exert myself. Today I wasn’t feeling bad at all but it turns out it’s my buddy Il’s birthday which I can never remember. Turns out he’s jinxed that way and his wife even had trouble convincing herself it was today even though she wished him a happy birthday early this morning.

Usually Il’s birthday means our annual ritual of gluttony at Ringside. This year they didn’t have the proper plans in place so we ended up getting fried chicken (a big plus) at Popeye’s (usually not so bad). So not only didn’t I make it to the gym, I went to the opposite of the gym. Did I eat sensibly? Of course not, I was at Popeye’s. And I couldn’t not go to Il’s birthday dinner, even if it was at Popeye’s.

Did I mention that I weigh more than I ever have before? Oh well. My New Year’s resolution is to do some yoga. I keep talking about it and even looked up some schedules for beginners classes. Maybe I’ll even make it in the door.

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I need help.

Here we are in 2016. I wonder how many posts I had. I could probably install some sort of analysis tool or I could COUNT THEM ALL BY HAND and know there really weren’t that many. Blog schmog. I really haven’t been saying much lately. And why?

I think I decided at some point to let everything go to seed. About 20 pounds ago I realized I was pretty darn fit but who saw me nekkid? Just my doctor and he really didn’t give a shit. So I quit the dieting, ate more Mexican food, and put a nice pot belly over my abdominal muscles. To be honest, I didn’t go to the Mexican restaurant any more often, but I did eat more when I went. And then at some point I actually went on a couple of dates, got immediately dumped, and decided to change things up. So I quit the gym altogether and started Judo. That wasn’t great for my health either and had to quit after a year because I kept falling on my head.

So here it is, a couple years later and I haven’t been to the gym all that much because of this and that (vacation work and illness. I also received the double-edged boon of being promoted. More money, more problems. I’m going back to the gym now and I’m falling back into the old groove, or so I hope. At the very least I hope this muscle soreness and lack of cardiovascular endurance go away.

Anyway, my name is Todd (actually Hisashi) and I am a repeated keyboard buyer. I’ve purchased about ten keyboards in the past year and they cost me about $100 each. I’ve tried V60 keyboards (60% – no number keys/arrows/etc), V80 keyboards, Cherry MX Blues keyswitches, Cherry MX Brown keyswitches, Alps keyswitches and even some full-size keyboards. I’m even about to try some Cherry MX Clears. I need help. But really, as a guy who spends most of his waking hours in front of a keyboard, I’m searching for an unachievable goal: the ultimate keyboard. I think I need a better hobby, but I suppose I spend a lot more on ham radio. More about that later.

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Japan 2015 Day 16

Time to go home!

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Sorry, but my Paul Bassett coffee wasn’t enough to keep me going on a day where I got up at 6:30AM JST on Thursday after a fitful night of sleep (due to drinking too many tasty Japanese microbrews) and went to bed around 4:30PM JST on Friday. My watch told me I got up at 6:30AM and went to sleep at 10:30PM of the same day, but that’s what time zones will do for you.

So these pictures are late.

I also found out that taking my morning medications with Aquarius Lemon leads to an upset stomach. My check out time wasn’t until 11AM and my flight wasn’t until 5:30PM, so I had time to go to Paul Bassett for breakfast and do some last-minute shopping in Shinjuku at Yodobashi Camera and Odakyu’s athletics department, though I didn’t end up buying anything.

I arrived at the airport very early because there’s plenty of last-minute shopping and food BEFORE YOU GO THROUGH THE SECURITY GATE. Got to the airport early enough to do some shopping there and hit my usual exit lunch at Fujiya. This actually calmed my stomach. Also, see that empty coffee cup? They keep filling it up at the Fujiya in Narita, unlike most Japanese restaurants.

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Oh, the set also came with dessert because why not?

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I got back to Portland and had lunch in the middle of the night in Japan. I was fading fast and took a quick nap in the afternoon.

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Got close to eight hours sleep and I feel jet lagged. But it’s good to be home.

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Japan 2015 Day 15

Expect this to be the least coherent of my entries for my trip to Japan in 2015.

I got up this morning not know that exactly to do. I had several possibilities: buy a pair of $200 jeans at Momotaro in Koenji, eat a hamburger in Koenji, and go to the Cheese Festa in Ebisu.

I talked to my sister, who talked me out of spending $1891 for a seat upgrade on my flight back to Portland. She also suggested I go to Hoshino Coffee for pancakes, but they didn’t sell them until lunchtime.

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Fortunately they sold French Toast in a breakfast set.

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Then it really was off to Ebisu to the Cheese Festa. You got coupons to try four different cheeses, three of which weren’t that great. It was also incredibly crowded.

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The Cheese Festa was held in the Subaru building event space.

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I realized Ebisu is also where Blacows is, the place that eataku has the best hamburgers.

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Honestly it was a disappointment. It never seemed that great when I went there there three years ago and they’ve only gone downhill since. They don’t butcher the meat on-site and there’s no longer any indication of which cow the meat came from. The meat tasted like Japanese hamburger meat (pork & beef?) and it was tough like if they salted the meat beforehand.

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So after that I did what I usually like to do: wander around Tokyo. I went from Ebisu to Daikanyama, to getting lost in Shibuya. Look at the weird things I found.

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I had to get coffee and this was smooth and had a peppery taste to begin with.

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I also got a free energy drink on the way back to the train station.

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The PDX beer bar made me want to buy some Japanese beers. I went to the Watering Hole in Yoyogi to start off.

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They sent me on to Baird’s taproom.

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And then I thought it would be a good idea to go to Zoetrope where I talked to a couple from London and a single guy from Manchester.

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And that, so far, is that.

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