Running For Pictures

A lot of times when I go running I see something that I want to take a picture of.  Upon returning home, before stretching or cooling down, I grab my camera, jump on the bike, and head back to where ever it was that caught my eye.  You may have noticed that I take a lot of pictures out in the rice paddies, since that’s where I run most of the time.

Such was the case today.  I got out of work a little early and was jogging with the sun still high in the sky.  The clouds were also very high, kind of mottled, and in between the increasingly thick rice stalks the whole scene was reflected.  It looked really cool but was too hard for me to capture adequately.  By the time I got back with my camera the sun was a bit lower, the light was different, and I’m not that good a photographer.  This was the best I could do, on a patch of fairly open paddy.  Sort of cool.

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I also got right down into the paddy to take a few.  I like these ‘rice level’ shots.

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Even the tower of power looked cool against the sky.

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I realized today how much I associate the seasons with my work schedule.  Specifically, I don’t think of ‘summer’ as starting until I am on vacation, which isn’t for another month.  But as I was standing out among the rice it hit me that summer is well under way.  The rice is getting tall, it’s hot, humid, and green in Japan, and my garden is starting to produce.  I cut my first eggplant today, cucumbers are starting to produce also (though I think they might be doomed again this year — looks like something is up with one of the plants), and we have loads of green tomatoes ready to ripen.

The point being that I was once again struck with how beautiful it is around here.  If you go a little further into those mountains it’s even better.

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Going to see some live music tomorrow, and then just one more day till the weekend. Zoom.

Sunday Was Good

I made through the night on Saturday without harming any neighborhood pets, and more importantly I made it through my presentation Sunday morning.  I was the first one to present in the morning, which was nice since I didn’t have to wait around letting the anxiety build.  There were maybe 15 people in the room, maybe half of which were my coworkers.  I was happy to have a small crowd with a lot of familiar faces.

I have to say that the conference atmosphere breathed a little fire into me regarding my excitement and passion of teaching.  I liked being around people here were engaged and motivated to share ideas about teaching.  I’ve got a chance to turn this little 20 minute presentation into a paper, which I plan to do.  Pad that resume!

I had been fighting off a cold towards the end of last week, and crashed pretty hard when I got home from the conference around noon.  I woke up with notions of going running, but it was hot, and when I saw the neighbors sipping beers on the stoop and the grill on standby, I changed my plans.  And so I had the rare Sunday afternoon/evening buzz, and it was much more relaxing then running.

Whenever I BBQ with my neighbors someone inevitably scares up some beef for me.  I’ve eaten all sorts of other food in their presence, yet the myth that I can only eat beef persists.  Granted, I’ve turned down or only had a nibble of some of the stuff they bring out, like dried ray fins.  So once again the beef magically appeared, along with a Budweiser, which I happily swilled.

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And this being Inokuchi, where there are two dachshunds for every one human, this was no surprise.

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I have some other pictures that capture the pure dachshund madness that was present, but they came out blurry.  I’ll wait to get some better pictures because, god knows, I’ll have a chance the way things roll around here.

And now it’s already (almost) Wednesday.  And crap, it’s nearly July.  Crazy.  My fading interest in the World Cup hinges on how Japan does in their game tonight.  Should they lose, I think I might not be able to care much about the remainder of the tournament.  So get some Japan!  Good night.

Make It Stop

My neighbor’s stupid dog has been non-stop barking for three hours, and has been barking the majority of the day.  I’ve wished death upon it at regular intervals to no avail.  And I like my neighbors but it doesn’t reflect well on them that they can put up with the barking.  Japanese people love their noise though.  Someday I will live in a house that is far outside of barking distance from any dogs.  It’s comedic how I’m hounded (ha!) by the noisy pests.  My other neighbor’s annoying-ass dog died, and the bastard bought two more of the same breed.  (Mini-dauchsands, lower on the scale of useless and annoying creatures than mosquitoes, in my book).  Most dogs in Japan are 100% socially retarded because they spend their days pent up in the entryways of the house and only see the light of day when their owner dresses them in F-ing doggy clothes to do a lap around the block, where socially inept dog will spaz at any other dog or human it encounters.  And much as the they do when their children have a fit in public, mom or dad merely notes how ‘kawaii’ the scene is instead of discouraging the behavior.  Makes me crazy!

Exhale.

Stupid animal.

Some good news?  Ray took his first dump in six days today, and it was about how you’d imagine such a pent-up dump would be.  Everywhere.  We’ve been introducing some non-breast originated food the past few weeks, and I guess Ray’s intestines are still adapting.  Chieko said she hopes this changes, and I assured her that Ray is probably not going to shit once a week for the rest of his life.  She took solace.  And even if he does, we’ll be off the clock in terms of cleaning up pretty soon.

I’m making my presentation at a local teaching conference in the morning, so I spent a few hours in the office today getting ready.  It’s a short gig, only 20 minutes, which is nice since it’s my first time doing something like this.  I did some rough run-throughs in my office and I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble fill up the time.  I don’t feel too nervous, but we’ll see when I get up in front of people.  I still need iron out some details, but I should survive.

And here’s Ray, saying smugly ‘It’s fine if you say I can never have a dog, because I’m about to crap all over the place.’

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Good night.

Noise

Before Ray was born, I swore that my child would never have any of the annoying-as-hell toys that drone out horrible bells and tunes and horns, or those shoes that squeak with every step the child takes, or any of the other pointlessly noisy things that are made for children.

Well, call me a hypocrite.  Spurred by Ray’s recent fixation with hammering the keyboard on my (expensive) computer whenever we are video chatting with my parents in America, we went for a diversion and bought Ray his own keyboard this weekend.  Thankfully it has a volume control, and an off switch, and has the redeeming quality of being at least capable of producing music.  He will never own squeaky shoes though.

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I wish I had some non-Ray pictures to put up here, but there are none.  Life is busy this week as I’m busy procrastinating about my presentation this coming Sunday.  I have been stewing some ideas around in my mind though, and tonight finally sat down and churned out a rough Power Point presentation that I will tune up over the next few days.

Now I’m killing time waiting for the US v. Algeria soccer game to start in 40 minutes.  I’ll likely start falling asleep right about the time it comes on.  However, I recently sprung for the Slingbox iPhone application, so I can watch/listen in bed if I really feel like it.  Which reminds me of my disappointment after spending a few hours updating the iPhone OS last night, only to discover that many of the cool new features don’t work on my lowly iPhone 3G.  Ah well…

The last few days have been quite a flurry of meaningful dates for us:  Ray turned 7 months last Friday, Sunday was my first Father’s Day, and Monday was our 4 year wedding anniversary.  We went out for a quick dinner at a local cafe we like, which we hadn’t been to for a long time.  We couldn’t remember when the last time we were there was, but the woman who runs the joint was totally surprised that we had a baby.  I know we were there when Chieko was pregnant, but I guess it was pretty early on.

That’s all I’ve got.  Busy few days coming up so not sure when I’ll put the next installment of Ray pictures up ;-).  Be well whoever and where ever you are.

7 Months

The months keep ticking by… Perhaps flying is a better word.

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It’s Friday, I’m tired, it’s pouring rain outside, and I have some wine that needs attention.  Sweet dreams.