Friday, July 29, 2005

I'm sorry I've been gone.

I know it has been well over a week since the last update, so for all two of you who actually follow this blog, here you go. I've been pretty busy with the nicely boring parts of getting ready to go. GEOS has two correspondence packadges to do, and the first one was due this week, along with my 'Information Poster' that I mentioned in the 14er post. Being I worked Saturday, I had Sunday to do most of it. Did I ever mention I'm a bit of a last minute type? Luckily thats all behind me, and I get to do the really horrific prep this weekend. Yup, shopping for suits. and ties. The guy who regularly wears Birkenstocks to work has to be dressed all Professional style. Of course I also have the fun shopping coming up soon, I have to buy a laptop for sure. Being the tech geek I am, finding the right combo of price and power is a challenge I relish. Here goes!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Dwindling Days

I now have exactly 8 weeks till I board an airliner for Nagoya Airport. It seems like a very long time to wait, yet I realize that I have a hell of a lot of things to do in that time. Really 8 weeks is hardly enough time at all! I have to continue working on my Japanese, finish up my correspondence packadges for GEOS, sell/ box up 99% of my worldly goods, go to training, and still find time to spend with my family and friends. All this while working 40 hours a week. Don't forget the fact that I am hemorraging cash having purchased an ipod and plane tickets to Vancouver. I still need a laptop and my ticket to Nagoya, and of course 1500 to 2000 bucks left over to keep me alive until I get my first Japanese paycheck. The stress is killing me, well not really, but certainly doing its part to keep me awake nights, and I still have 8 weeks left. I wonder how I will be doing when I only have 2 weeks left.

Monday, July 18, 2005

14er from Hell

Colorado is mildly famous for the 54 '14er' peaks scattered around the Rocky Mountains. Fourteeners are any peak above 14,000 feet above sea level, and Colorado has the highest concentration of these peaks the lower 48. One particularly popular pair is Grays and Torreys Peaks. They are only a short drive from Denver and present one of the few places where an able bodied soul can climb two 14ers in one day. This double bagger makes Grays and Torreys very popular with the rather insane crowd that wants to climb every 14er at least once. I myself have climbed the two of them 3 times each, starting when I was 12. That was my first every 14er attempt, and I made it to the top of both peaks, a rather significant feat, especially for a 12 year old. There really lies the crux of my entry today, for my father and I returned to these two fine peaks yesterday, and I learned just how out of shape I am. Now I did summit Torreys, so all is not lost, but it was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I exhausted all of my energy and stamina to make it to the top, there was never any question of heading back up the saddle to Grays Peak. It just wasn't going to happen. We could hardly make it back to the car we were so tired. It really drove home to me how much I've let myself go this past year, with less exercise than ever and quite a bit more ready made food. Some may wonder just what this has to do with Japan, but it is relevant, in a way. One of my reasons for wanting to climb a 14er was to get a photo for use in my Teacher Introduction Poster that I will be sending to my school shortly. The other reason was purely personal. I really want to experience as much of the unique Colorado elements of my life as possible before I leave.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Google Earth

Bill Gates is afraid of Google. They are expanding in many directions very rapidly, and they have many innovative ideas that they are bringing to the internet. One of these is Google Earth . This is one of the most amazing pieces of software I have ever seen. You download the basic program for free. Run it and a vision of planet earth from space fills your view. You man now proceed to manipulate this globe to view any part of it, and zoom in to the highest resolution satellite images available for that area. Now think about that. In moments your eye can be anywhere in the world. You can pick out your house, your work, World Landmarks, towns you've seen. Anything, anywhere. This is an amazing piece of work. Just a bit of refinement, and every atlas ever printed is obsolete. Yup, it's that good.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Schedule Flip Flop

Today was a bit of a tense day for me, beuracratically speaking. For some reason I took it as gospel that my hire date at the library was Sept 1st, after all why would you NOT start on the first day of the month? Well if for example there is a huge holiday weekend, you might not start on the first. Say, for example, Labor Day. Yeah. oooooooops. So my actual 'vesting' date is Sept 5th, the very day GEOS wants me in Vancouver to start training. Unfortunatly the City of Denver has this rule, you HAVE to be present and accounted for on your last day of work. So I can't just call in sick from Canada. What it looks like I'll do now is go ahead and go to training, then fly back to Denver that weekend. I'll work my last day, probably a Saturday, and then and only then wend my way wistfully away. woot. I was certainly on pins and needles all day waiting for HR to e-mail me back to see if they would go ahead and spot me the day so I could leave for good on the 4th. You would think it wouldn't be that hard to round the 4.99726 years up to an even 5, but I guess that would just upset the ballance of the cosmos, at least it would if you happen to be HR. ;-). Ah well, at least this way I get to burn the last of my vacation and get paid for Labor Day weekend Holiday pay. Alway look on the bright side eh?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Outerspace pwnage

While Gamespy may be one of the worst websites for actual game reviews, they are certainly one of the best for humor. Earth Pwns Comet is a hilrious gamerspeak look at the space program.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

At last a concrete date.

So Geos called this evening, and rather than late September my school would like me in mid-September. This means I need to leave for training in Vancouver on September 4th. So slightly over 8 weeks from now I'll be on my way. I'm actually rather pleased about this, leaving as early as possible is certainly what I feel I want. I just kind of need away from Denver and such, and the sooner the better!

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Being that I will be living in Okazaki for at least a year, I thought it best to research the city as much as possible. Interestingly enough, it isn't all that possible. A quick google search turned up a few webpages and maps, but not a single guidebook I have looked at has dedicated even a page to Okazaki. Lonely Planet is the only one that even has the city marked on the Nagoya area map. This is actually quite heartening to me, pointing to the fact that the city is a bit off the tourist path. While I will be a bit out of the way, I'll be close enough to Nagoya that I'll be able to travel around Japan quite easily. I believe Kyoto will be fairly easy to get too, if a bit pricy using the Shinkansen (bullet train).

Ironically I will be right down the street from where the 2005 World Expo is being held. On my previous vacation I left Japan a few days before the Expo began in March. The whole thing ends on September 25th. I am due to leave for Japan in 'Late September', which means I will more than likely get there just in time to see the Expo pack it up and call it quits! Bummer.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

My placement.

Geos called today, whishing me a Happy Birthday, and giving me my probable assignment, Okazaki city in Aichi Prefecture. It is 40km south west of Nagoya, so it is right near where I was hoping to go. Some of my Google research has turned up these two links,


So there we go, my home for a year (or more.)

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy 4th of July

Happy Birthday to the good 'ole US of A. Happy Birthday to me too, 24 years old! Why the hell do I feel so old when I know I'm not?

Sunday, July 03, 2005

War of the Worlds

Good old Steven Spielberg, the wonderbread of directors. Tasty, universal, and you know exactly what to expect. To some his latest summer tentpole is a marked departure from past works with an almost unrelenting bleakness of tone. However the usual weakness' that are often present are represented here in full force. Spielberg's 'father issues' make another round. He seems incapable of featuring a father who is not a total ass. I suppose he thinks that makes the character arc better, but honestly it just seems repetitious. Also, that sappy Spielberg ending is in effect. While the basic ending was preordained by the book, lets just say a certain individual who should have died did not. It felt artificial to say the least. However do not this criticism totally dissuade you. By and large it was a very good film. The aliens are spectacular, the story compelling, the sense of dread and disaster is omnipresent. This is an alien invasion that feels real. Unlike past films (ID4), this is not about spectacle. This is about the human experience in a time of annihilation. While we don't see the White House destroyed, the tripods make an excellent showing of themselves. A sequence surrounding a ferry boat that was hinted at in the trailers is amazing. The special effects look great, and the tension is thick. So take the good with the bad and go see what is certainly Spielberg's best film since Saving Private Ryan, (which isn't saying much). B-