Doctor, doctor, give me the news.

I’m not sure what the worst part of getting old is. Maybe becoming invisible to attractive women, but I’ve always been invisible to attractive women and now maybe they’re actually seeing me and thinking, “Hey, I wonder if he knows my dad?” But beyond all the aches and pains I experience, I had another unpleasant reminder of my age today during my annual physical when I got my oil checked. I’m not sure what age that’s supposed to start and I thought it was 50 but it’s begun.

Huh, I wonder if Google is silently dropping my emails. I don’t trust them either. In any case, I got my DSL back up and running and my not-nearly-as-fast-as-cable connection is back online.

Stupid running anyway.

Last year, the last run of the fall season was on a night that was about 41°F. Today, we had the same experience and my car said it was somewhere around 41°F. I complained bitterly last year but this year it wasn’t as bad. One of the reasons is probably because I was so tired by the time I had to run that I wasn’t feeling any pain, but really it’s because there was no wind today.

Beyond that, I have nothing that interesting going on in my life besides questions as to why I’m running my own email server, etc. I guess one of the reasons is because I can see what email comes in and does or doesn’t get delivered. (the Apple email service of it anyway) silently drops some of my email. It’s not in my junk folder, it just never shows up. For example, it only delivers a certain subset of the email I get from OKCupid. Of course, I’ve been on OKCupid (a dating site) for probably close to five years and doing online dating for close to 20 and I think I’ve gone out with a half-dozen women in that time. And most of it went quite badly. So maybe Apple truly is my friend and is trying to protect me from myself. Time to play with my iPhone some more. Just why are those birds still so angry?

Stupid computers.

I wish I could tell you I had fun yesterday, but there was a lot of time spent transferring data from my brother-in-law’s old computer to his new computer. Now that I know how long it takes, I won’t have to sit around thinking it will be finished any sooner. Instead of telling you how much more time the whole thing would take, it told you how much time the very next step would take, over and over and over. It wasn’t all that interesting.

Even better, I think Qwest/Centurylink is “improving” my service by making my DSL modem obsolete and that meant my servers were off the intarwebs at about 9:15PM on Saturday. I called and talked to a guy with a slight Filipino accent who said he’d send over a new modem. My friend Joey the Unix Guru thinks that Qwest/Centurylink is going to upgrade everything to the point that DSL is dead and the next best option is a Comcast business account. I jury-rigged another connection so my servers are back up, but I’m not sure how long that will last.

Ah, well, it’s all progress, right?

Cell phone mania!

I’m trying to track my mom’s flight from Japan. I have to get up at the same time I always do to drive out to PDX to pick her up tomorrow. It’ll be nice to see her home, but I wonder if she’ll like the cold wet weather. It looks like it was in the 60°F’s and sunny there.

I was surprised that I didn’t have that much hassle upgrading to my new iPhone 4S. I paid (in scientific terms) a metric shit-ton for an official, unlocked phone from Apple and all I had to do is pop out the SIM card from my iPhone 4 and pop it into m iPhone 4S. Then there was the requisite painful restore-from-backup but that’s because I have (in scientific terms) a buttload of crap on the phone. Compare this to the purchase of an AARP-approved phone for my mom. That took me a half-hour of waiting and then another 15 minutes of going through all the paperwork. To be clear, she used to have my old Blackberry with all the damn buttons when what she really wanted was a phone with speed dial for my sister and for me. Fortunately, AT&T still has those phones for sale!

I got my cell phone bill from Japan and it’s a bit expensive. I rent a Japanese phone for the convenience of having a Japanese number and using my US phone in Japan would be even more ridiculously expensive than this. The “Web” and “Adjustment for Web” are what really get me, since all I did was look at the “Maps” app. I also didn’t make that many phone calls, so I’m not sure why it cost me $70. But again, it’s still cheaper than using my US phone because the calls would have the cost of going from my phone in Japan, to the US, and back to a Japanese phone. Oh, and the US prices I have are an estimate, because I’m not sure what exchange rate they’re going to use.

And there you have it. For a guy who still has two separate wired phone lines to the house, I sure do have a bunch of cell phone drama.


The best part about my recent feelings of impending doom is that they’re usually nothing. Maybe doom is looming but it’s not here right now.

So I’m really too tired to think of much of anything. The workout at the gym was 5 pullups, 10 pushups, and 15 kettlebell swings over and over until 20 minutes were up. For some reason, seeing it up on the board didn’t frighten me as much as anything that involves running around the building. If I know we’re running around the building, I get nervous, and it’s probably because those workouts make me want to pass out at times. The pullup/pushup/swing one is quite tiring, but in an achy sort of way, not in a seeing-my-lunch-again sort of way. But it all has me fatigued to the point of inaction. It’s a cue to actually hit the hay, but somehow I’m tired without being sleepy. This may be the worst kind of tired. If I had any sense (and I usually don’t) I’d just force myself to lie down in a dark room anyway. Which, now, is my new plan.

Viral unfairness.

I didn’t go to the gym this morning because my stomach felt funny. I wondered if I overdid it at Besaw’s last night, having two drinks with dinner plus dessert. As the morning continued, I realized that I was actually coming down with a cold rather than just being hung over. I just got over a Japanese cold, why am I getting an American one as well? I was so sick that watching football wasn’t that much fun. Weird. At least I finished my laundry.

I went to my sister’s and had Killer Burger. It wasn’t as good as I remember, but still quite tasty. It’s not my favorite, but it’s certainly worth going out of your way for it.

My stomach is going to hurt tomorrow.

I’ve eaten a bunch of junk lately and after skipping dinner last night for a fasting blood test I’m loading up with all sorts of crap. There was a convenient Mickey D’s on the way from the clinic to work, so I got a couple of Egg McMuffins, OJ, and some free coffee. You can imagine how that made me feel this morning, first lightheaded and then sleepy. Lunch wasn’t much better and was a special at Buffalo Wild Wings. Which leads to dinner. I wanted a Big Mac but I knew it usually gives me a stomach ache so I went to Jack-In-The-Box instead. Where I waited, and waited some more, and waited some more, and finally left to drive to buy a Big Mac. Neither option was great, but it was late in the day and I was hungry.

I’m hoping this doesn’t lead to nightmares. This morning I woke up to dreams about eating and the knowledge that I shouldn’t be eating. It was pretty weird, going from dream to dream, where I’d be eating and then telling myself not to and then eating something else and telling myself not to. Even weirder, I had an earlier dream where I was talking to a traditional elderly Japanese man and I couldn’t understand a word he was saying. I knew he was speaking Japanese, but it was all gibberish to me. Then when I got to work this morning, I found a bunch of emails in Japanese. So far we don’t know how I got added to the email thread, but at least I was able to tell my co-worker what was happening (it was something he was working on and he wasn’t on the email thread). Weird.

Speaking of work, we’re heading into the year-end vacation times where most of my co-workers disappear and I’m not smart enough to join them. There’s usually weird customer problems that come up and no one else to look at them, so I get stuck with some interesting issues. I’m not looking forward to any of if.

What a day.

I’m an old cranky guy who has a fairly set routine and I’m back to my old work and gym cycle. I’m not completely happy about it since I enjoyed my holiday more than being back at work, but that’s normal.

The gym I go to is no longer a Crossfit gym, but it can still be pretty painful to take a few weeks off and come back into the daily routine. I get sore on a regular week, but it’s much worse after a break. And all that effort late in the day usually invigorates me and keeps me from getting to sleep on time. Today it finally caught up to me and I overslept. It might just be that I’ve been back for a week and the rapid weather change because my sister overslept as well. I rushed around and realized that I also forgot to plug in the hot water pot last night so I couldn’t get my breakfast going right away, either. I still got out the door on time only to find that the rain had really backed up traffic for the commute. I was pretty late.

Fortunately, it wasn’t that bad a day. We took a long lunch to meet with old ham radio friends at Buster’s Texas Barbecue. It wasn’t the best barbecue, but I’ve been spoiled by Slabtown in my neighborhood. I’m a big geek and so we talked about all sorts of nerdy radio stuff.

My iPhone decided to think that the headphones are plugged in ALL THE TIME, but then it decided to start working on its own. I’m not sure what’s going on, but it’s surely out of warranty and taking it apart is probably a big pain in the neck. Not that I’m not going to take it apart if it happens again, but at least I don’t have to worry about that today.

And now it’s the end of the day and I can’t eat. Not by actual choice, but I realized that if I was going to do my fasting blood test, I’d have to forgo dinner completely tonight. Eating right before going to the gym is usually a bad idea for me, and the ideal 12-hour span would have put dinner during the time that I’m at the gym. I see an Egg McMuffin in my future after my blood test.

Back on your heads.

Well, I made it back to work and back to the gym. I had a feeling something bad was going to happen after all that and sure enough, I sneezed and my entire lower abdomen started to cramp. It was a uniquely painful experience that I would like to never happen again. I think I can do that if I pick one of the following:

  1. Never go to the gym again.
  2. Never take three weeks off from the gym again, but I’ve had something like this happen when I’ve been regularly exercising sp this may not be an effective option.
  3. Never work on my abs again.
  4. Never sneeze again.

I’m sure there are other options, but I can’t think of them right now. Stupid cramps anyhow.

Another lazy weekend.

I woke up Saturday feeling a bit like crap. The biggest effect of my jet lag so far is waking up at 2AM thinking I’ll never get back to sleep, and then finally waking up when the alarm goes off. I had a bit of a cold while I was in Japan and came back with a cough which is nearly gone now. It was all just as well since it’s nice to have some time to rest after vacationing.

Basically I just watched a bunch of football games and today I watched a bunch of teams I was rooting for lose. I guess that’s why they play the games. I also spent a bit of time trying to catch up on all the shows on my DVR. I think that’s going to take a while. It’s good to have goals.

Back home!

Well, it’s about 2PM in Japan right now which makes it difficult to stay coherent because I’ve been up since 7AM YESTERDAY. I took a couple of 5-10 minute naps in the past 30 hours. I’m also missing my vacation already. I suppose that’s life.

It was a beautiful day today, even though I never made it back outside after getting home. It was, however, in the 50’s and last week Nagasaki was in the 80’s. I didn’t even eat until dinnertime. I probably ate enough for the whole month the last couple of weeks anyway. All I did was go through a bunch of work email and do my laundry. There’s still stuff scattered throughout the house and I did give myself a bad haircut as well. Funny how the day went by so quickly.

I did get hit by a scam of sorts. I tried to pay my property taxes and the web site timed out on me before it gave me a confirmation and then recycled me back to the beginning. So I started over. 10 minutes later I got two confirmations, meaning I have to pay $12,000 and wait for them to refund half of it. There’s no way for the payment company or Multnomah County to stop the bank transfer because, well, they suck. And it was the faulty web page of “Official Payments of Auburn, Alabama” that did it to me. So, don’t pay your taxes online. Send them a check.

Japan Day 15 – ^$*@%! Tokyo

This place is incredibly crowded and slightly annoying, especially to a guy who didn’t sleep real well because he was breathing smoke all evening. And the air here isn’t that great to begin with. Anyway, we spent the day shopping, as we like to do. I didn’t really buy all that much, but it was amusing nevertheless.

I dragged my sister to Akihabara, which used to be known for its electronics shops but is now anime central. There’s a girl band based here and all sorts of “maid bars” but I showed my sister all the geek stuff I usually go see. We even made it to Thanko, also known on Gizmodo as “we sell cheap Chinese electronics”. Anyway, the building right under the train station is mostly why I go to Akihabara. I didn’t want to ask people if I could take their pictures, so I just took a picture of the building. There must be a hundred tiny storefronts in this building. One guy just sells transformers, for example. Another just sells little bits of wire. There are larger stores that sell hand tools, etc, and there must be a dozen that sell communications radios. There are also multiple light shops, and multiple video surveillance shops. I wish we had this building in the states somewhere.

We came back to Shinjuku and had Mos Burger for lunch.

I pigged out on a Mos Burger, fries, and chili dog while my sister went vegetarian. Kimpira rice burger (rice and roots).

We wandered around Shinjuku for hours. I found new ways to support the Japanese economy (though not strongly, since I only spent a few hundred dollars) but we were tired after all the wandering around. We met two designer friends for dinner in a fancy restaurant atop the Takashimaya department store. My sister went to high school with Chico, and her friend Hiron is always amusing dinner company. They both have Facebook presences, if you look around enough.

Once again Hiron showed us his photographs of Tokyo and pointed out some interesting eateries he had photos of. He and Chico were trying to convince me that it would be OK to spend several months kicking around Tokyo next year.

And that’s about it for our trip. Our plane doesn’t leave until 3:30PM, but we’re getting on the 10:40AM train to get to Narita around 11:40AM. Then starts the long march to the terminal. We’ll have several hours at the terminal, but that’s better than not getting on the plane. The plane then arrives in Portland at 7AM-ish on the same day we leave Tokyo. It’s going to be a long day.