Oh yeah

The following is the essence of a conversation from ballroom dance practice, earlier this evening (yes, it’s that time* of year again!):

[*Whether “that time” refers to me babbling about dancing a bunch, or to my excessive and unwarranted use of faux-play-script as a narrative device, is up for debate.]

<Brent and Jenny are dancing a hustle>

Brent: So, didja do anything exciting over the summer?

Jenny: Not really. I guess I went to a fireworks festival in Canada, but that’s about it.

<Brent notices, near the end of the song, a ring on Jenny’s left hand. He suspects strongly that it is new.>

[Time passes]

<Brent notices that Jenny’s ring is indeed on her fourth finger, and it looks pretty darn nice.>

[Time passes]

<Brent catches Jenny when she’s not otherwise occupied.>

Brent: A’ight, missy, let’s see your left hand.

<Jenny shows her left hand; Brent verifies that the ring is real.>

Brent: …so you actually had an eventful summer, eh?


<Brent shakes his head; Jenny laughs.>

How in the world does getting engaged not qualify as an important event in your summer, let alone your life? (In her defense, she did say that she normally only thinks about vacations when asked about summers…) And, yes, this was “my genius” Jenny from west coast. *sob*

I also received a backhanded compliment, in the form of a complaint about a gal not knowing whether or not I could actually dance lindy hop when I said I was terrible at it—because I had earlier claimed not to be very good at west coast, and then kicked ass (her words). Yeah. (Fortunately, she eventually took me at my word that I was in poor lindy-hop shape; that and salsa are two dances that have been lost to the ever-more-dense and expanding fog of my memory.)


I survived Japan—or, perhaps, Japan survived me. The only thing I completely flubbed was getting back to a normal routine quickly; I caved and took a nap (that turned into a five-hour nap) the day I got back, and that set me back something fierce.

Oddly enough, none of us had trouble getting up at 7:00 am in Japan; the fact that it was equivalent to 3:00 pm our-time didn’t hurt.

While I continue to try and get back to a decent routine (which, you might correctly guess, I wasn’t on when I left for Japan), here are some random observations from my trip:

Many Japanese haven’t figured out that smoking is Bad For You. You can buy cigarettes (and beer) from vending machines for not much more than you would pay for a soda.

Pachinko is a horrible, horrible game. Laughing at gaijin who throw away 1000 yen trying pachinko for kicks, however, transcends all language barriers.

Japanese toilet paper “squares” are twice as long as US toilet paper squares. Japanese toilets frequently have both “big flush” and “little flush” options, and most have a weird seat/device made by Toto that senses when you’re sitting down on the seat and adjusts things (water level, the status of a deodorizer) appropriately.

Akihabara is my home away from home, and my wallet’s worst enemy.

Jeff is right: though the stores might say it’s autumn, it is definitely not autumn. We had ninety-degree heat and ninety-percent humidity for most of our trip, which made for lots of fun.

English karaoke songs are predominantly from the ’80s, which means I actually know most of them. Crazy. Karaoke can actually be fun, too. (Crazier!)

And now, a working hypothesis: Americans are the only people in the world who are well-hydrated. My experiences through Europe and Japan (and those of my comrades) have been that glasses for everything—expect possibly alcohol—are bloody small. Haven’t people heard about eight glasses a day? (Actually, that link might explain the answer of my rhetorical question…)

Off to Japan

Brian, Andy and I aren’t actually leaving until Saturday, but the way things are going this is the last shot I’ll have to post before I’m out of the country for two weeks. Our travel plan, in short: hit Tokyo, and then move west. It’ll be like Manifest Destiny, only in Japan. (I can’t believe I just wrote that.)

So, yeah. I’ll be gone. You probably won’t notice any difference. (Hopefully I’ll have more time—and consequently will actually post things—when I return, as work-related junk should start dying down shortly.)

Until that fateful day, though, remember to be happy:

Photoshop Friday

This week used and discarded me like a tissue, so I’ve pretty much been drooling on myself in front of my computer this evening. Somehow, in my comatose state, I opened up my copy of Photoshop and discovered a tool I didn’t know existed: Extract. (For all I know, extract was added to Photoshop in version 2; back in my yearbook days I pretty much used Photoshop to crop and adjust levels.) As the name suggests, extract allows you to separate part of a picture from its background.

My sister, for the last two years running, has bought me an anime calendar for Christmas. This year’s calendar featured Yotsubato! (or, as marketed in the US, Yotsuba&!). When I got my new camera a few weeks ago, I took a shot of the August picture of this calendar—mostly for the halibut. The only problem with the photo was that it was marred by an eerie outline of a panda; next month’s picture had bled through when I took my shot.

You can see where I’m going with this. After dinking around for an hour, I had this absolutely stunning desktop picture:

I’d lie and say I did this in honor of Something Awful’s Photoshop Phriday feature (SA is currently down due to Katrina’s destruction), but in reality the best I could hope for would be a showing in the Page of Shame.

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