October 31, 2004

Uplink. Feel the power.

Ok, so I'm at school, today... on a Saturday. Ahhh, what can ya do. I get a day off next week in exchange so it's not really a big deal.

Anyway, last night, despite having school the next morning, I went to the bar / restaurant place where everyone hangs out on fridays. It was pretty odd. There were these two girls, and then these like.. parents (though from what I understood, they were not in fact the girls' parents) sitting next to us. The girl I was sitting next to, Emiko, was like "I want-o friend-o." So..... ok, yeah. I shook her hand at that point. The whole time it was a very strange vibe, with me getting the distinct impression that everyone at the table was somehow trying to set me up with said Emiko, but me never really understanding what they were saying. During the course of events, beer was spilled, potatoes were thrown, taksan taksan ketai-photos were taken, and I was made to sing amazing grace no less than 3 times. They got a kick out of that, let me tell ya, and they were pressing for a fourth, but I was like, dudes, no, you gotta chill. Which certainly dissapointed them.

All in all it was pretty out there. When I left they said they'd see me again next friday, which is certainly possible, cause that's the only place anyone goes.

So today, there's some kind of chorus competition, where kids... I guess, sing. We'll see. From there it's off to the "Dii-na ku-ru-zu" which indeed looks to be on a boat. Who knows.

Nnh. Definetly would not have minded staying in bed this saturday morning a little longer though. The streets were a lot emptier coming to school. Which wasn't to say that they were even remotely empty, though. I don't seem to have any actual class, so I'm going to try to stay awake somehow. Ganbatte to me.

Posted by tadge at 02:54 AM | Comments (192)

October 29, 2004

Uplink. Substance & volume.

Well, tuesday and wednesday saw the red sox decicively positioning themselves for an historic series victory, as well as me going to a conference in Omiya.

The conference was kindof nice, cause it didn't start till 9:30 in the morning, over an hour after school normally starts, and it was also about half as far away as my school. It was for kids throughout the whole Ken (state, basically...) so some people had to take trains for an hour or two, but I just rode my bike through the rice fields north. The conference was basically a bunch of lectures and stuff like that. Some were OK. There was a little earthquake during one, and they got people off the stage and stuff. It was quite the commotion, but really, it was a pretty wimpy earthquake, and anyways if the whole building collapses it's not like you're going to get out in the 10 seconds that takes to happen.

Other than that, just a bunch more photo shooting, developing scanning, etc. This laptop is getting pretty screwed up, basically the hard drive is on it's last legs, making lots of clicking and grinding noises and locking up and stuff. I wonder how much I can get a little laptop drive for.

Also I sent in my ballot election thing. It's a secret ballot though, so you guys aren't gonna find out for whom I voted. Maybe deep down I really like war and destruction, and so I voted for bush, seeing as he is a war president and all, by his own ads. Or maybe I voted for "LaRoche" or one of the totally random guys I'd never heard of yet somehow wriggled their way onto the ballot. Who's to say. But yeah, voting, man. Ya gotta vote. Except nobody here I know voted, and 4 years ago nobody I knew voted. I can only hope that all the dudes and dudettes I know in america are voting tuesday. Cause when I voted in America, they gave me a tootsie roll. Both times, yo. Here, I didn't get anything, but that's OK. It was only one of those little like mini-fun-size ones anyway, not like a full fledged one.

---- update: I have been informed by duff via ketai-mail that the Red Sox have won the world series. I guess that's good, but to be honest, it feels totally foreign and unreal. I didn't get to see a single game in the world series, and only got to see a snippet here and there of the ALCS. So not having seen any of the last 4 games... well, ok, they ` won, so I hear. I didn't really know that was possible, but I guess it was. I definetly wish I had not been in Japan for that kind of thing, but... oh well. Let me know if Boston is still standing.

Posted by tadge at 12:33 AM | Comments (139)

October 25, 2004

Uplink, the rise and fall of an empire.


Sashiburi, uplink readers. That means, more or less, 'long time no see', except it's not in caveman-speak. There are actually a couple words and terms here and there that are a lot more efficient, or clearer in japanese than in english. So I'm definetly going to start using those terms... sashiburi is one, but I think one of the best is "hajimete", cause it means "the first time", which really is a totally separate concept from the second or third time, and definetly deserves it's own place in the dictionary.

So it actually hasn't rained recently, which is awesome. You can actually go out and get stuff done. Which in this case basically consisted of me loading up my film holders and oging out to shoot photos all weekend.

I also saw a movie, "Battle Roayle". Maybe some of you have seen it, but if you haven't, I strongly recommend that before you do, you first go to Japan and teach at a middle school for a few months. Because that will probably give you a much deeper appreciation of the film. Cause I imagine that had I seen it before coming here, I would have been like, "Pffft, another silly violent action movie, that has no real basis in reality." But after actually teaching the same kids the movie is trying to portray, I was instead like "Yep, that's pretty much dead on. Looks entirely accurate to me."

So, in another strange twist, I think I signed up for something really expensive this weekend. I'm still not sure about what's going on. Basically it seems, though, that after any scheduling / cirriculumnar anomaly, an "Enkai" always immediately ensues. The first enkais I went to at each of my schools was immediately after 'sports day'. The guys at Tajima tried to get me to go to another one after the marathon a week ago, but I had an ironclad excuse.

So there is certainly a scheduling anomaly this week, as I have classes on saturday. I asked one teacher, and she said that yes, you have to come to school saturday. Hmm. Then Yuri came over to explain stuff to me I guess. I think the other teachers get her to ask me questions and tell me stuff. Not cause she knows english, cause she totally doesn't. But ... well actually, I have no idea why they get her to talk to me, it seems like it'd make a lot more sense if one of the english teachers did. But anyway, she does. Also, she's like, pretty young, in her 20s I guess, and is the only person at this current school who's nice to me. So when she said there was going to be an Enkai, I was like, hey, OK, sure. She also informed me that since I had school on saturday, I didn't have to come in next tuesday. Which is awesome cause next wednesday is some kind of holiday, so I basically get a displaced weekend.

But things got tricky somewhere. This enkai that Yuri was talking about wasn't the standard bike to urawa and watch the teachers get drunk then bike home.... this involved, from what I could read on the sheet, going into tokyo, getting on a ... boat?... then a hotel? Huh? So she asked if I would be staying at the hotel. Desperately fearing for my wallet, I said I couldn't go to that, just the enkai... which I guess from the sheet is to be on a boat. After I agreed to it, she said that the enkai was $150, and that the hotel was $300.

Yikes. Well I guess I'll get to go on a boat and sail around tokyo or something. Weird. I have no clue what the hotel is about though... I can't even fathom. I mean, everyone who works here lives around here... there's no ... I mean, why would you go to a hotel in tokyo? Is the idea that people get so drunk that they're not going to be able to successfully take the train back home, and so it's better to just get expensive hotel rooms for everyone to crash in right near where the boat docks? No clue. Maybe I'll ask once it's all over, cause I'm not going to inquire now for fear of being conscripted.

So yeah, that's the future.

Oh yeah and this weekend was fun cause there were like a million earthquakes. On saturday they were off an on for a serious hour or two. Brilliant. Also I totally don't belive in any of this seismic / tectonic / geology / science nonsense. It's obviously some angry god or demon or some super natural force that's shaking the earth.

Until next time... uplink terminate. *Kshhhht*

Posted by tadge at 11:14 PM | Comments (143)

October 22, 2004

Uplink. Let's!

So it's finally back to more or less chillin' out at school, doing some classes, etc. This week was a little bit of a wacky one, what with the typhoons and the baseball games and the speeches and whatnot. But it's friday, and the weekend draws near to the island nation of Japan.

So yeah, the red sox thing is pretty great. People here aren't red sox fans. They aren't *really* yankees fans either, they just like to watch Matsui. So when I was watching the game on NHK, they would just show Matsui all the time. Whenever the ball wasn't in play, they were pretty focused on what he was up to. Which, you know, wasn't all that much. Matsui in the bullpen. Matsui practicing swinging. In the bullpen again. And so on. And it didn't seem like they cared much about the game at all, cause partway through the ninth inning, they just stopped coverage, and went to some like daytime drama / soap opera looking show.

Now see, I don't get that. Imagine your friend plays soccer, but you don't really care about soccer. But you want to support your friend. So you go to the game, cheer him on and stuff, even though you don't really get what's going on. Now... maybe if he was like "ok, well I played the first half, but I'm not in the second half" or something, you'd say, ok, cool, that was fun, se ya later. But if there's like 10 minutes left in the game, you wouldn't like, get up, leave, and go do your laundry.

Anyway, whatever. I will admit though that I'm a little annoyed that the one time the sox make it to the series, I'm in Japan. This means that not only is there no one who really cares within a 10,000 kilometer radius, but also that it's very difficult to watch the games, especially if I'm at work while they're happening. If it looks like they're going to win, maybe I'll take a sick day or something.

Other than that, news in this hemisphere is sparse. Today is actually sunny, which so far has been a rarity in the month of october. So that's pretty cool.

Well the weekend starts in an hour and a half. My prediction is that this weekend will involve a lot of shooting film then maybe going into tokyo to get it developed. Sounds OK to me.

Posted by tadge at 05:54 PM | Comments (189)

October 21, 2004

Uplink. It's raining in my heart.

Well I just wrote a big thing and it got deleted. But that's OK, cause the sox are up 6 to 0. So I'm not all that worried about life. Anyway haven't written much cause I've been busy at school, and such. But basically the routine has been bike to school through pourig rain, teach, bike back through equally heavy rain.

Also I have a VoIP phone thing so I can call america for super cheap. So y'all should e-mail me your phone numbers, or even you can e-mail em to my cell phone, crazy huh? My cell phone is tadge@t.vodafone.ne.jp. This is how I've been keeping up with the games, Duff emails me updates. Like the one that the prophet/mule johnny damon just got a grand slam. Awesome.

Yeah.

Also I've been scanning a lot of road trip film and stuff. I think in the next day or two I'll have enoug h done to update the old tadge.net site with some new stuff. I really think it's cool, but I totally can't tell wether the photos are actually good or I just associate them with that wacky trip. We shall see.

...Hmm, it's 11 and I'm still here. It's only the 4th though, so as long as I get out of here fairly soon I'll be able to see the end. Oh, Duff just mailed me again, apparently Damon just rocketed another one out of the park. What a mule.

Allright. Maybe I'll have something interesting to say tomorrow.

Posted by tadge at 07:05 PM | Comments (70)

October 17, 2004

Uplink, tired edition.

Hey all

So I ran a 'marathon' friday with the kids at my school. It's not really a marathon cause it was only 5 kilometers, which is around 3 miles I think. Still a decent distance I think. Anyway. So they had all the guys start, class by class. Then five minutes later they had the girls start. They told me to start with the first girls, so I'd be like, in the middle. Ok.

So I start behind all the 1-nensei girls, who are like 7th graders. Pass them... except for this one, who's going quite fast. But then I pass her eventually, and figure that she's just not pacing herself or something.

But no. The *whole race* she was RIGHT behind me. Whoa. Even though there were plenty of guys with a 5 minute head start, I was passing em right and left. But this girl, this ichi-nensei girl was right on my back. I was like... OK, I CANNOT let this girl beat me. She is THIRTEEN years old.

And, I didn't. but still, she was like 20 seconds behind me at the end. Which was crazy. Her name was. ... somehting-hara (i could read the second kanji but not the first). So afterwards I shook her hand and was like "Oh, sugoi".

So either I am really out of shape, or this girl was totally rugged.

Yeah, so that was pretty crazy. That was... yesterday I guess. Later on, at night, I went to Shibuya with kids cause it was Connie, one of the other JET people I live withs birthday. The place was pretty huge and kindof cool actually. What food we got was nothing short of delicious, but unfortunately there wasn't nearly enough to fill anyone up. But hey, quality over quantity, eh?

Then there was a night full of various misadventures trying to go "clubbing" with like 10 people or something, we ended up wasting a lot of money on taxis and stuff. It was a mess. And I ended up getting back and going to bed at 10am, which wasn't really good.

That's kindof why I want a bike here. The trains stop running at midnight, like in Boston. But you know, tokyo is really nothing like boston -- it is vastly more... er... vast. It's bigger than NYC really, and NYC definetly runs 24/7. I think it's pretty dumb that there are no trains at night. But whatever.

Ok, tomorrow I'm going to some... festival in Kawagoe. Don't really know anything about it, but it will probably be unlike other things I have done on sunday nights. That much I can count on here. Will report more later.

Posted by tadge at 02:51 AM | Comments (99)

October 14, 2004

Uplink. We are responsible for putting neither the bop in she-bop-she-bop-she-bop, nor the ram in a-ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong.

I guess they haven't had that at the beginning of mugar-omni-theater movies in quite some time. It was totally awesome though, everyone must concede that point. Even if you didn't grow up around Boston, just rest assured that it was awesome.

I saw a movie there last summer though and it was pretty lame. I don't think it's just that I'm older; I think it's that there was really no attempt even to get any science in there.

Anyway broskonowskis. I wrote a whole big uplink entry (since this is uplink, should they be called like "packets"? "Transmissions"? "Relay Frames"?) yesterday. But, I didn't post it, and don't think I will. Maybe it can end up in some like directors cut or box set of uplink in a few decades.

Yeah... at school yesterday this lady came to like "evaluate" my 'performance' or whatever. I wasn't really in the mood since I had gotten soaked on the way to school and was still wet. And then basically she complained and insulted me for an hour afterwards while I missed a class I could have otherwise taught, etc. So it put me in a really bad mood and, well, you know, it was pretty ridiculous, she was saying that I had my hand in my pocket at one point which was, awful, you know, maybe up there with genocide, I guess, and so on.

But you know, it's not really worth thinking about. Cause it does't really matter, or have anything to do with anything. It's not like I can get a raise, or get fired or anything, so whatever.

And yesterday there was lots cooler stuff going on too, so whatever.

For instance, yesterday I headed back to the motorcycle shop. While both these bikes were in the running, the yamaha fell behind, in my mind, when it failed to start. The engine turned over and everything, but it wasn't coming to life. They did, though, have this really cool gurney gasoline thing that looked like it would fit right in at some proto-vietnam deisel cyborg hospital. "Give me 100ccs of 93 octane, STAT!!"

... "proto-vietnam diesel cyborg hospital"? What am I taaaalking about? Dudes, I'm sorry, I don't get to speak english to anyone, so my grasp on language and stuff is veering off in strange directions, doing barrel rolls, and the like. I'll try to keep a more firm hold on things from now on.

Yeah the dudes at the bike shop were cool. One of em lived in England, and so he spoke like, better english than half of the teachers I work with. Which was *awesome*.

Anywhayse, the Suzuki started right up, and sounded great, if a bit ... deafeningly loud, due to the (to my mind) cheezy aftermarket exhaust on there. So, I might end up buying that one. But it's too early to tell. If you have some reason why me and this bike should not occupy the same lane of the giant elvated Shin-Omiya Bypass some windy autumn afternoon, or coast together across the Tokyo Rainbow bridge late at night..... then speak now, or forever hold your peace.

Posted by tadge at 07:25 PM | Comments (1998)

October 12, 2004

Uplink. We say the quiet parts loud and the loud parts quiet.

So dukowski-brokowskis, another abridged week of school. Most weeks here are mericifully punctured here or there with some kind of holliday, office day, or other flavor of day off. And unlike America they don't feel the need to push the holidays onto the nearest monday.

Though in this case it's a monday off. Next week I have nothing thursday though.

Yesterday I think was a national "sports day". Maybe that will put an end to the sports madness here, since it really does seem that pretty much every day there is some kind of sports event at a school. Though maybe this is just the beginning. I will say, by far the most frequently asked question by kids here is "What do you like sports?"

So anyway, during my day off yesterday I set about having an adventure and all. First I went to get my bicycle fixed up. For some reason direction just wasn't my forte and it took me an hour and a half to find the place. I blame the earth's waning magnetic field. Except... no, it wasn't so much the direction that was the problem. When I finally did find the place, I realized that I had in fact passed by it 4 times as I was looking. Nnn. That I guess I can blame on the fact that all the signs are in some other crazy language and most of the buildings look the same, etc.

So, after that, undeterred, I went to try to fix up my bathroom a little bit. I wanted something bright, floral, maybe some new hand towels. No, no, I joke. I wanted something to black it out so that I can use it as a darkroom during the day (right now there are some frosted plastic window type panes in the door). I also was hoping to score some kind of shower/tub cover... so that I could put film trays on it and develop sheet film. So far it's been an extremely precarious situation with trays balanced on the tub edge, in the dark... not something I'm comfortable with.

Anyway so I had some idea of a store that would have it. It was a ways away, but I set out... and encountered some construction that barred me from taking the road I was (vaguely) familliar with. So, no big deal, I'll get back on at some point.

NNn, not quite.

Somehow I got really, really, really lost. Not only did I have no idea where I was, but I also had no idea where anything else I knew was, what direction was north, etc. After about an hour I'd given up on finding the store and just wanted to get back, cause it was now dark and I was beat. I had a vague idea that I was somewhere south-east of where I lived, but that was about it.

Eventually I came upon a train station, which was at once heartening and discouraging, cause this was not a train station I had ever seen in real life or even on a map. It did tell me I was in Kawaguchi city though. So I wasn't even in Saitama anymore.

I tried asking a couple people which way was back to Urawa, but nobody knew. The vibe I got was more of an "Yeah I've heard of that place" one.

So I figured I'd follow the train line. The train line went way out into these fields and stuff, total nowheresville, and then crossed a huge river. So that probably wasn't the right way, since I didn't cross any big rivers to get lost in the first place.

So I turned around. Back in Kawaguchi I stopped at a few motorcycle shops and poked around. There were some interesting finds, specifically a very reasonably priced Suzuki GSX750E. Hmmmm, hmmm. Kindof an ugly duckling of a bike, but there was something rather endearing about that too.

Anyway. Eventually I started seeing signs that said Saitama, and saw the distant glow of familiar skyscrapers. So about four hours after heading out, I managed to get back. All in all it was a pretty fun trip through the murky darkness, twisting paths and mega-highways of ex-urban tokyo. The weather was just chilly enough to keep a sustained bike ride comfortable.

It also really made me want a motorcycle, as soon as possible. Wandering around and getting lost is much more fun on a motorbike, cause you an get way further out, way more lost, and still not really have to worry cause you don't really get tired. I just kept remembering the fall of freshman year back in pittsburgh, and how I'd wander around the hills north of pittsburgh for hours on end, getting totally lost, then linking back up with some road I knew, as I gradually mapped out the place.

Also the whole idea of going to japan was, you know, get a motorcycle, ride around, shoot photos. Half of that equation has been solved, and now is the time for the other half.

So I might head back to check out that GSX after work today. Then again it's probably going to rain... yet again. This place never really dries out. At least, it hasn't in a few weeks. Sure, it'll stop raining for one, two... maybe even three days at a time. But it's never quite long enough to dry the place out before it gets wet again. I have three pairs of soaking wet shoes back at my place. Even my dress shoes -- they were the last dry pair I had, so I headed out with them on..... and then it started pouring again.

... well I just had lunch, and now it started raining again. Bah.

Well, that's uplink for today. Your witty remarks to follow.

Mules All.

Posted by tadge at 07:37 PM | Comments (84)

October 10, 2004

Wet

Hey all.

So the typhoon came and went. It wasn't that crazy, it basically just rained a whole lot. I did basically nothing yesterday until it stopped raining.

Then I went to shoot photos... this maybe wasn't the greatest idea. I went to this one building I found that is built on these concrete supports, and maybe there's supposed to be a parking lot underneath, but it floods. So when I went there last night there was a lot of water. I took off my shoes and was wearing shorts, expecting that I might have to slog through knee deep water in places.

Hah! Try chest-deep! I was completely soaked, but I managed to keep the camera dry, and it perched there on top of the tripod, just above the water level. It was night, and extremely dark under there, to the point where somehting like a 4 hour exposure was needed. Needless to say, I did not stay in the water for four hours. about one and a half was all I could manage before I was just too miserable to care about how the negative was going to look.

So that was that. The film is still hanging up drying, which it has been for hours because nothing really dries here... it's so wet all the time.

Also on friday night I met some dudes who were into rollerblading and photography and stuff. They seemed pretty cool and we were talking about music and etc, and one girl said, "oh, I will be your friend!". But unfortunately I had to leave to catch the last train back, and I think they got offended that I didn't stay. But like, dudes... I had to go, eh?

Hope everyone is having fun, fun fun... utill your T-bird is rudely taken away.

Posted by tadge at 02:13 PM | Comments (98)

October 06, 2004

Uplink. It's different here.

Ok everyone, I just had lunch at school today, and I was THIS CLOSE to just laughing out loud and snorting and having milk come out my nose. Seriously. Here's the scene:

There are only two other teachers in the lunch room at this point. I guess most people are out for some sports thing. Anyway, I'm picking away at my mystery stew, when BAM, guitars crackle to life on some heretofore unnoticed speaker, and Avril Lavigne starts belting out her latest pop sensation. This isn't like background music we're talking here, this is LOUD. When it first started it really startled me.

I stop eating and look around. But everyone else acts like they don't even notice. Two more teachers come in and sit down. One of em tries saying something, and they have to yell over the din. But for the most part, everyone is just eating, keeping to themselves, while "he was a skater boy" is blaring.

I look around again, trying to sculpt my facial muscles into an expression that says "What!? This is par for the course??" as clearly as possible, and try to make eye contact with someone. But they were all looking down at their soup. So then I kindof smiled and looked around, and thought that this was just the most surreal and yet most quintessential japanese scene. All these serious teachers, eating, focused on their lunch... while the most silly, american, bubblegum punk music drenches the room. I half thought of taking out my phone to grab a picture, but then realized that would be pointless.

About 4 or 5 songs were played, and then it slowly, in fits and starts, sometimes coming back up a few notches, faded into a crackly hiss. Which stuck around for a while, ended with an abrupt "POP", and all was silent. Okay then. By this time I'd long since extracted everything I considered edible from the bowl (the carrots and tofu), and was just poking at the strange purple things and grey things with my chopsticks. I was just hanging around to see when it would stop, or if anyone would comment on it afterwards. No one did.

I don't plan on asking any of the english teachers about it. It's much cooler to me as an unexplained, surreal anomaly than something that has a "reason" behind it.

So that's awesome.

Plus today is the first non-raining day in nearly a week. So I'm doing all right.

"na na see you later boy... da na na good enough for you... "

Well hope you're all having a mule mid-week.


PS Rhi, liz also came to the pasta nights rather often, so you can't take full credit yo.

Also PS charlie you gotta tell me how to post jpegs like in your 'bladerunner times' thing, cause then I can start posting images.

Posted by tadge at 05:44 PM | Comments (178)

October 04, 2004

Uplink -- exponential value at logarythmic prices

Ok guys. ARE YOU JOKING???

I just got to school and this lady who sits next to me is like, you know french??? Can you translate this for me???

And hands me a stack, this huge multiple choice TEST, in french, that's gotta be... well let's see: 25 pages. Oh come on.

This is lame. I should never have told them I knew french. I don't even really remember telling anyone here, but they must have found out somehow. Poop.

Well so I guess that's what I'm supposed to be doing for today. Cause I don't really have other classes.

Oh and I'm supposed to revise the 50 questions I wrote for the 7th graders since they haven't yet learned the word "people", "best", or "tallest". So those have to be scrapped. Couldn't you... I don't know... teach the kids those words??? They're not exactly specialized technical terms. It would take very little time... in fact, I know all those words in japanese.

EHhhhhh whatever.

So dudes brokowskis. This weekend was one of fullness and void, one of plenty and dearth. Basically I did stuff on saturday but yesterday did absolutely nothing. Saturday I went in to tokyo and bought a tripod and fixed up all my equipment and dropped off film and so on. Sunday it was raining all day and I basically just sat around, played dumb videogames, and so on. Also I scanned a bunch of film, and I'm getting the hang of this scanner thing.

Yeah it was a pretty uneventful weekend. But it's good to have my camera all back up and running, working flawlessly and such. Also it's kindof nice to just sit around while it's raining out, and not really have anything you need to do. I never have homework here. At least, they haven't tried to give me anything to take home. I don't think they'll try that though.


Last night I was bored enough to try turning on the TV (japanese TV seems for the most part utterly unwatchable, regarless of language) and there was some kung fu kindof movie on. It said it was bilingual, which means you can push a button and get the original sound or get the dubbed. I think originally it was in korean, but I changed it to japanese dubbed, because I at least understand a little japanese.

So it was funny to watch these japanese looking people (korean, OK, but they look pretty similar) talking, in japanese... but they're dubbed. Kindof in contrast to when the kung fu movies are dubbed into english. It sortof allowed one to imagine that, maybe it wasn't dubbed after all... maybe their mouths just moved very strangely to make the sounds they make.

That still didn't keep me from shutting it off after a few minutes.


----------

yeah so after working all day at translating ridiculous french gymnastics terms... umm... I'm done. Post. Kablam.

Posted by tadge at 05:55 PM | Comments (41)

October 01, 2004

Hey that's pretty good

Uplink. Par ce que je le vaux bien.

So dudes, it's October. While I'm sure in good ol America several feet of snow have already been dumped on your winter wonderland, here it is just finally beginning to become temperate with the commencement of this new month. Not cold or cool even, just bearable, in the low 70s mostly. Quite nice actually.

So.

I'm writing this pre-classes at school, cause it's October here and not where you are (so ha). But I have a Kanke-sensei class very soon, which I am not looking forward to. He's maybe the worst teacher. Though, he has a bit of competition for that spot. He just doesn't really do much of anything in class, doesn't really pay attention, etc.

Anyway, so there's quite a bit of good news on the photographic front. The last 2 days have brought 2 excellent acquisitions, and for only about $250. Awesome.

Wednesday I went into ginza, and ran around in the rain trying to get the shutter for my radioactive lens fixed. (For those of you who don't know, I purchased an old Schneider Repro-Claron a few months ago, and it was cast into the limelight by the comment "People ask me -- what are you going to photograph with a radioactive lens??? And I tell them: America.")

I eventually found a place that said they'd fix it, but as I was leaving felt a little uneasy. The place was pretty sketchy. On the 8th floor of some random back alley building. Nn.

I then found another, less sketchy 8th floor place, that had an old Schneider Symmar 210/5.6 in the exact same shutter that my radioactive lens uses. I asked to try out their shutter, and it worked flawlessly. So I ran back to the other place, got my radioactive lens back, and bought the whole new lens/shutter. It was $150, so I could just throw the lens away for that price and still come out ahead. And I mean, hey, free Symmar lens! Word.

Then Thursday, I got more cool stuff. I was digging through the local "Hard Off" just before it closed at 8. Hard Off is this used electronics store, with a strange name. The front has like, nice TVs and playstation 2s, laptops etc. Decent prices.

But the back of the store, the "junk" section, is full of totally awesome stuff... kindof like a permanent MIT flea market, but mercifully bereft of giant bearded scary MIT hyper-nerds and the other dregs of humanity that we rely on for our technilogical advancement. Also, hard off is WAY cheaper than any flea market. They don't know what stuff is, so they slap on price tags ranging from $1 to $5 based on weather it looks like it may have once been expensive. So when a keyboard for a hundred yen, done. Same with various cables.

So anyway, it was almost 8, and I hadn't really found anything that cool, or at least anything cool that looked usable. If they had hard off back in america, where I had like, space to work on stuff, and tools, that'd be awesome. On the way out I glanced at the scanners, and ... what was this?? Some kind of plastic... film strip holder?? Sugoi! Closer inspection revealed a scanner that could scan 4x5 negatives. No way, dude. And it was only 1-man-yen. I'm sold. The dude at the counter was also kindof mule, I was telling him that I taught at minami urawa chu, etc. Yeah. So I headed out, big heavy scanner just fitting in my backpack. Awesome.

Got back, could find almost ZERO information about it on the internet. Not sure why. First I thought that the name, Canoscan D2400U, was like the japanese / non american name, and that it was called something else in the US. But after looking a lot, ... maybe it was never released in the US, under any name? Don't know. Very little information about it. But what few things they had were pretty favorable. I guess it came out about 3 years ago, and was about $500 then. If anyone's seen one of these things let me know. The very fact that it comes with a 4x5 scanning holder makes it something of a rarity.

So I tried it out at max res, and compared it to scans I had from the Imacon back at CMU. OK, fine, no contest... the Imacon blows this thing away. But the Imacon is around $15,000 I think. This was like 0.66% of that.

So anyway hopefully soon I'll be shooting with my radioactive lens, by big old chromed out Symmar (It's really quite, ahem, bling?), scanning stuff, and posting it for all to see. Awersomn.

But first things first, need a tripod. Then everything will be complete. Well... not *quite*. Still need a motorcycle. And scores of gorgeous model/friends to cast in my photos. All these things in time, in time. And I guess time is something I have a lot of here. Although, rather perplexingly, I also seem to be operating at or near capacity -- except at school, where my hands are kindof tied, I'm always running around doing stuff here. Ginza, Akihabara, Shinjuku, Omiya, etc.

Speaking of which, I'm beat.

Posted by tadge at 07:40 PM | Comments (75)