Friday, December 15, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

Three weeks, six tests

Two homeworks, or three and a lab. Oh yes and a paper that I nearly forgot. Oh well, hopefully I will live. most of my plans are going forward in the next week, sending in the JET application being near the top along with homework and tests and a few other things.

I ran four miles on Turkey day to help fund raise for a children's hospital. I finished at about 33 minutes. Pretty good for not having done long distance flat running. Then on Saturday I fenced the day away, I should have brought something to do because it was technical failures after technical failures. I think before we hold a tournament here again I am going to go through the equipment myself, after all it is really very simple circuits, and I believe there might actually be some logic gates! Oh fun, I really want to open up a box and see what is inside! But who knows, we might not use our boxes the rest of the year. Just the swords, cords, and lamets (sp?). Oh well, can't do everything. There was a kid who said that he would build some wireless equipment but since then I have not seen him. It is too bad that I already have a Senior project. What's a little more though? Death, if I continue my current schedule of not doing much except for what is absolutely necessary. I need to break that habit.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How soon will the end come?

I am not talking about the end of the world, just the semester, but I guess that means tests. Just now looking up the testing times. I have one on Wednesday and two on Friday. The one on Wednesday is German, the two are Probability and Stochastic Processes (Statistics with integrals and billed as a "Friendly introduction for Electrical and Computer Engineers") and the dreaded Electronics class. I hope I pass electronics, I really do because otherwise next semester is a mess not to mention taking nearly 19 hours if I have to retake that class.

The hardest class next semester should be the operating system design class, I hear it is lots of programming, not fun. But the class on modern robots and softbots should be extremely fun since it is being taught by a very good professor. Can you tell I want this semester to be over, I will leave behind some good memories further in the past, but, so is life, sais la vis.

What I am looking forward to with even more good cheer is the end of undergraduate schooling. If I manage to get out of here and start working, to teach English in Japan or work in industry, then I will be fairly happy. Happier of course if I get into the JET program, but if it doesn't go that way then I will be looking for a job in Germany more than likely.

Monday morning I was able to sprint the Hurlathon on the stair that we do twice a week. I mean actually sprint, I had run the entire exercise and this is where I usually stop because that is hard to do on its own without the hurlathon. We run up to the top of the first colored chairs, then down, cross over and run up to the same row. Then come back to the first side and run up to the top of the different colored chairs, do this until the top is reached. Do the top a total of four times and then work down to lower and lower levels. When finally finished with that pattern sprint to the top four times in a row. Most people don't sprint but I flew up those stairs, I was surprised by my increase in strength since the beginning of the school year. I guess I should be doing more school work. It sounds like bragging I think but it is just how it is, now if I can get up tomorrow morning for the Thursday run that will be great.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Day Before Tomorrow

That day is today. Ach! and today means that tomorrow is coming soon. The faster and faster progression of days will lead to other days, but now I am finally looking at these days in a somewhat better light. Actually I like the nights better, if there is a moon it is nearly as easy to see as in daylight and if there isn't then it still isn't so bad as some people think. It isn't quite as cold as it should be here this time of year. Some people are wearing short-sleeves and not because they are used to the cold as is the case in the spring when twenty degrees feels balmy. This morning was finally colder than the sixty degree days we have been having the last two weeks. When snow falls again and the temperature never gets above forty for months on end and hopefully the snow doesn't melt the day after it falls. If it gets down to negative twenty or thirty again then it will be a good winter. If it were to stay that cold, to keep the snow around of course, then it would be a real winter again. I wonder if my generation even remembers winters, real winters not the warm ones these days.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Relaxing, Really

The more I try the harder it gets, to relax that is. I was able to relax when I went home for a total of 23 hours. That certainly helped, but I am still really wound-up, it has been like this for nearly a month, maybe a little less. I feel like I have so much energy and yet no place to expend it. I do fencing, Kendo, and ping-pong something of three days a week, I also run stairs in the mornings twice a week although I admit I missed one today. I am extremely tired at the same time though, it seems as if I was carrying something very heavy but only when I think about it.

More specifically I think I passed all of my exams last week. Two exams, a presentation, and on the Saturday before I had the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, an eight hour monster standard throughout the US that is the precursor to getting the PE or Professional Engineer's License. Fun! The presentation was definitely the highlight of the week. I taught people how to fold cranes in German. Most of them got it and I was complimented on it by my professor.

Now I know it might sound disingenuous to say that I might be in Japan next year because my Germany plan fell through because I just want to finished with schooling, but... I am applying for the JET program to go teach English to Japanese students somewhere in Japan. Fun! Fun really, not joking this time. I just hope that I will learn lots of Japanese.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fun with Electronics

Just got done with a lab report for electronics, now to finish prelab. These would be more fun if they weren't so cut and dry. But oh well, just another thing to get through right now.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Finally Settling into Winter

Ah, the nice cold days of winter, I believe they are right around the corner because it snowed today and the temperature is in the 30's and expected to drop this afternoon. So now that I am not so willingly freed of some things that I was involved with I think I have more time for homework and the like. Got to go find a professional background for a powerpoint dealing with a telescope. Here's a picture that I definitely will not use for the background:
This is a rose that is still blooming, as of today, in front of my basement apartment. That is my window in the background. It is a little bright but the white spots are snow. The snow started falling early this morning, but as with all snow in Wyoming these days it really doesn't stick around for as long as it should.
Enjoy the picture, now for me to do work, but you can continue enjoying.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Interesting Things and Bad Things

Interesting thing: my roommate has a blog. I didn't know, the info came from a third source. That's how much I talk to my roommate though. Really haven't seen him in a while because I have been gone from our basement apartment except to sleep, eat, or get some stuff for the next activity. I think it's cool, but as long as we keep the comments positive about each other. Going to set up a link on the side, go visit his blog.

Bad things: Sick and two tests coming up this week. Self explanatory.

Interesting thing: Some friends and I actually made tea with ginger root boiled with it. Then they put cocoa powder, crushed red chilis, cinnamon and a couple other spices in. Right now I really don't feel sick, and am a bit beyond wired, for a few more minutes. Here's the recipe:

8 cups water
1/3 cup coarsley chopped fresh ginger root.
4-5 bags of black tea
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 dashes of ground cloves
4 dashes cinnamon
5 dashes cayanne pepper or else crushed red pepper in a coffee filter, you really don't want to drink it.

Boil the water with the ginger in it. At the top of the boil put the teabags in and turn the heat to a simmer and let the bags in until the tea is a satisfactory strength. Take out the tea bags and the ginger. Put the pepper in if it needs a coffee filter, wait for two minutes and remove. Add the other spices and the cocoa last. Stir well. Drink carefully, it will burn even if it is luke warm. Drink until tongue goes numb along with the back of the throat. There really isn't any need to add sugar to this, it has enough flavor on its own and you will be able to chew fresh ginger root directly after consuming this sort of beverage as demonstrated by my friends.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


For some reason it is very hard to think right now. I really don't know what to write and, well... I don't know how to continue. I guess I am tired but I know how to deal with that. Classes are easy except one that I shouldn't even take my eyes off of for fear that it might destroy me. And well... here's another dead end in thinking, or at least writing. Let's just say that somedays are better than others in certain confusing situations. It is amazing how irrational the mind can be and once the analyzing kicks in it flings me to lower depths or greater heights. Fun. Or not. To not be confused is my goal, and in all instances that is what it is, but then (fingers dead on the keyboard) I am confused for no good reason. Do I just forget or what? It really isn't forgetting as much as analyzing a single point until that is all I am thinking about and not seeing the entire picture. This is not a very good strategy for nearly any application but this really isn't an application, just life.

Now I see my flow is coming back, even if it doesn't make sense to anyone but me or the few people that I have talked to. I just... cliche statement, want to understand but I am afraid that I might not even if I drop everything that I am doing and try to figure it out en totale.

Now to listen to some fun music while I try to do things other than type here, if the page loads. Finally, Cape Breton Live, good source of streaming celtic music, mostly Scottish I think. That's all for now.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Another week...

GONE, or close to. I really think these weeks are getting shorter and shorter. I hope it isn't a conspiracy but it might be, more on that later. Now to get a little bit of ranting in.

I hate protestors, or at least the ones that have been in Prexy's pasture for the past few days. They are protesting abortion, which is fine(to an extant), but they are doing it with shock methods. Showing pictures of murdered children and the processes that did them in. One guy I passed was asking people why they weren't doing anything to help, he was standing there yelling at us and being oh-so productive. I really just want to tear into some of those protestors and ask why they are wasting their time doing this rather than finding a solution. My solution: the development of artificial wombs. If a woman accidently becomes pregnant then the pregnancy can be moved to one of these so that the woman does not have to deal with the severe ethical issues that arise with the entire current debate. I am sure some people would be against the entire idea of an artificial womb saying that it dehumanizes the kid, but if we aren't killing them... Ach just think of the new debates. Wonderful.

Okay, enough with the ranting. Maybe I can get some sleep this weekend.

Another week...

GONE, or close to. I really think these weeks are getting shorter and shorter. I hope it isn't a conspiracy but it might be, more on that later. Now to get a little bit of ranting in.

I hate protestors, or at least the ones that have been in Prexy's pasture for the past few days. They are protesting abortion, which is fine(to an extant), but they are doing it with shock methods. Showing pictures of murdered children and the processes that did them in. One guy I passed was asking people why they weren't doing anything to help, he was standing there yelling at us and being oh-so productive. I really just want to tear into some of those protestors and ask why they are wasting their time doing this rather than finding a solution. My solution: the development of artificial wombs. If a woman accidently becomes pregnant then the pregnancy can be moved to one of these so that the woman does not have to deal with the severe ethical issues that arise with the entire current debate. I am sure some people would be against the entire idea of an artificial womb saying that it dehumanizes the kid, but if we aren't killing them... Ach just think of the new debates. Wonderful.

Okay, enough with the ranting. Maybe I can get some sleep this weekend.

Another week...

GONE, or close to. I really think these weeks are getting shorter and shorter. I hope it isn't a conspiracy but it might be, more on that later. Now to get a little bit of ranting in.

I hate protestors, or at least the ones that have been in Prexy's pasture for the past few days. They are protesting abortion, which is fine(to an extant), but they are doing it with shock methods. Showing pictures of murdered children and the processes that did them in. One guy I passed was asking people why they weren't doing anything to help, he was standing there yelling at us and being oh-so productive. I really just want to tear into some of those protestors and ask why they are wasting their time doing this rather than finding a solution. My solution: the development of artificial wombs. If a woman accidently becomes pregnant then the pregnancy can be moved to one of these so that the woman does not have to deal with the severe ethical issues that arise with the entire current debate. I am sure some people would be against the entire idea of an artificial womb saying that it dehumanizes the kid, but if we aren't killing them... Ach just think of the new debates. Wonderful.

Okay, enough with the ranting. Maybe I can get some sleep this weekend.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Weeks, passing quickly

The weeks are going so fast that I really can't keep track of them very well. Didn't school just start a week ago? No, it didn't and according to my count this next week is week five. WEEK FIVE? Where have the others gone? To answer that question would take one word: somewhere, specifically, somewhere in the past. So they stay there.

My jaw still hurts pretty badly but it might just be the muscles trying to reattach themselves to my lower jaw. That would be good, but it still hurts and so that is bad.

I went home Friday to get my holes checked out by the doctor to see if I had anything going wrong with them, nope. They are in good condition and might be mostly filled in in five weeks. Sort of like a broken arm, except there is really no way to learn to chew without your mouth. If you break your arm you can learn to eat with the other.

I am thinking rather than going to Germany in January that I will just finish my schooling and be done with it. There are two reasons: number one, Germany is 18,000 engineers short of filling all engineering jobs. And I really would like to finish school right now and be out in the real world of projects rather than homework. I might go for a year to Japan to teach English and learn Japanese then I might look at jobs back in the US or in Germany, or by that time I might be able to work in Japan in industry. If I come back to the US I would certainly like to start my own company and just start turning out as many good ideas as possible.

Ah the plans, the plans they are great. Hmm... now just to find out how I could do them all.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Teeth, ouch

Some people think it hurts to get teeth pulled. It does. Some people think that getting general anasthetic means that you are out for much longer than your surgery. Hmm?? I first remember about a half hour after the operation. Fortunately they put local anasthetic in as well. So it didn't hurt, yeah! I am actually in more pain now nearly a week after then, than I was just a few days after, it's fun though with the endorphins going through the system every few minutes.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A drinking game, and feet

I am not advocating drunkeness in any way. In fact I find drunks pretty stupid and hope to never be one. This game is for those who don't want to get drunk.

The other night the people above me had a party with a little too much noise so I went up stairs to ask them to be quieter. Fortunately they are nice people, at least while drunk, and invited me in for a beer. I accepted and went inside. The upstairs is quite a bit bigger than my basement apartment and they had already moved to a room not directly over my bedroom. I accepted a beer and started sipping at it when one of the girls asked if I wanted a shot of rum (as far as I could tell) and one of the guys poured a shot glass all the way to the top and tried to hand it to me. I refused until I thought of a good idea.

"If you hold that glass still for a minute and don't spill anything, I'll drink it." The guy agreed and I started counting. by the time a minute was up he had spilled quite a bit of it and I took my first shot of hard liquor. Bleh! It had so much sugar and flavoring that I had to take a swallow of beer afterwards to get rid of the taste. They said it was supposed to taste like cotton candy and it did to an extent but I think I will be avoiding rum and other highly sugared, high alcohol content drinks and stick to beer and some wine in moderation. Needless to say I refused anymore shots and left soon after.

Speaking of wine, red wine goes well with pizza, probably because it will go with any red italian dish. Go for homemade pizza though because all the other stuff isn't half as good.

I think this is a subject I will bring up only from time to time rather than listing everything, because I wouldn't have that much to list anyway.

I haven't been doing much kendo because of my foot, the wierd thing is how fast it heals afterwards. I am doing execises to strengthen my foot because I believe that stronger muscles will keep the tarsals apart better meaning that the nerve won't be rubbed so much. So I just sit and watch and hopefully don't cringe too much when people do something wrong. That is a hard thing to do after observing for a while. I am doing fencing and ping-pong because when I am in shoes the foot doesn't hurt at all. That is why I believe it is foot strength, because when I wear shoes or go around barefoot not doing kendo then it does not hurt at all. Kendo seems to be the culprit and once I am confident enough about my foot then I will be working steadily on good basic footwork for a few months before returning to normal practice.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Ah, the joys! It really does feel good to be organized, it's just my usual procrastination that hinders it. I organized a google calendar, remembering that I am going to get me teeth removed on Friday the 15th. And I have notes as to when homework is due in all the classes so hopefully...

Now just to organize my room so that all the boxes are somewhere out of the way. I admit I haven't been spending very much time at the apartment even though I just paid 300 dollars for it today. But there is only me and my roommate and a computer that isn't connected to the net yet, or maybe ever. I have been spending my time at the honors house on campus and brushing up on my lack of social skills by talking to and listening to people. The summer wasn't all that great for speaking to people because I had an internet connection in my room, that might be a bad idea. I'll think about it harder, it costs money too. Oh well for internet then.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Survival of the somewhat fit

Well, I have survived 3 days of the first week and am on my fourth today with engineering senior design and German. It really isn't hard, no assignments so far and no labs this first week. I hope to test out of health because first, it is stupid, second, I know much of what is going to be taught, third, it is an 8 o'clock class, and fourth, it is crowded. I just have to place out of it with an exam next week that looks simple enough but of course I guess I could easily fail it or get a grade that will not be acceptable and I will have to take the course anyway. I could get out of the activity, rock climbing, because I am in a club sport, ping-pong, but I want to do some rock climbing so I will continue to do it anyway.

Speaking of physical activities I did about six hours of them last night. First was Fencing at 5, then kendo at seven, and then ping-pong at nine. I should have been up at 6 this morning to go run stairs but I felt pretty tired so I just rolled over and went back to sleep. So with that schedule I could probably get out of any PE requirment.

Time to start heading to class.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Class for me starts in just under half-an-hour as I write this and it seems that the summer went by too quickly. If I just had one more week... I would probably squader it. The nice thing about last week was that all the people I know, that haven't graduated, were coming back and so I could see them an d talk to them. Listening to harrowing study abroads to Israel or quieter ones in France and other places. And also getting to say good-bye to those going overseas this year. Now if I can just be one of their number.

Tried doing pull-ups today, got to twelve and gave up, only for today. I haven't done pull-ups in such a long time that it was hard to start again, but if I am to do rock climbing and not be hauled up by my harness then I will continue to improve on twelve.

I should probably start moseying over to my first class, oh and thanks to the hundredth person, I don't think it was me because my counter said 101.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


School starts in such a short time that I am having trouble reconciling the summer and all that I did or didn't do. I am going to take a few electrical engineering courses and a German course as a refresher, I hope I survive that. Just got my textbooks in, yey! Means I can start studying German and Probalistic and Stochastic patterns or something like that.

Almost one hundred, I probably added one more by using this computer. If you see #100 on my counter I invite you to comment. I would just like to know who else is out there other than Thomas. Sorry Thomas, no offense meant.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Almost a hundred different computers...

Almost a hundred different computers have visited me according to my counter. That doesn't mean a hundred people, I might be responsible for five or six of those computers. I hope I didn't scare off any of those people regularly reading my nonexistent blog because I didn't write for a while.

What can you do, though? I am just about to move to a new house which should be interesting considering it's a basement but near the theater and a park, pretty good huh? Maybe I'll start running in the mornings again because of closeness of grass. Concrete and asphalt are horrible surfaces to run on, but grass is much more forgiving even if it is uneven. Although, thinking about it, maybe I shouldn't run. I think I have done something to my foot during kendo. Rather than having problems with my right foot from fumi-kumi-ashi, stomping on an attack, my left foot has a pain between the third and fourth meta-tarsals where there is a nerve that dives between those bones according to people I have talked to. It may just need rest but it may need a shot of cortizone(sp?) or removal, not the foot, the nerve. Fun!

The other day I got a call from the oral surgeon's office asking if I could come in the next day for consultation and... SURGERY... Well I tried to scrape up a few people to look after me after surgery so that I wouldn't do something stupid like drown in a thimble full of water. My family is currently out of cheyenne on the annual family trip somewhere, of course I am too old to go with them it seems (something about making money) anymore and I guess it's okay but they don't know that I almost went into surgery. I am sure my mom will throw a coniption even though I didn't do it. I will probably have to wait several months before getting the surgery done. Although I figure that while I am on the last year of my parents' insurance, is there anything else I need done? My foot? I don't know of much else, also I want to be in perfect health before traveling abroad, otherwise I might be in trouble money-wise. How many surgeries are too many within a few months? I really don't want to find out.

It is hard cleaning out a room I have become ensconsed in. It seems almost as familiar as my family's house but I will be glad to get away from the ill-done and ill-kept bathroom. I don't mean ill-done as in decoration, ha, who cares? Except that it has carpet, old brown, and well, stinky. The wall paper isn't much better and all three of the drains in there including the toilet are always on the brink of blocking up. The sink drains slowly and it's sort of disgusting. I should take care of some of this but... I am moving and I have caused very little of the problem so I will clean out my room with minimal trace left that I was there and then I am no more. Of course I will from time-to-time visit but my staying days are over.

Now for something different:
What are men but lost and confused?
What does anyone want?
To be happy, and in happy be content with this short ephemeral existence.
Make an impact how you will.
Bring on the fires of hell, I will fight.
Bring knowledge and wisdom, I will learn.
Bring peace and security, I will enforce.
But most of all bring freedom, I will enjoy and defend.

I don't know if I can take my own advice on the learning bit, nearly burned myself a few minutes ago. In my defense I had an oven mitt on but I had to grab the heating element which I must say burns through much more quickly, literally, than a metal pan. I had to clean up the smoking stuff in a heating oven. Learn from me, don't be stupid. Fortunately I move fast, no harm done.

Much said, now mute.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Have you had a day...

Have you had a day where nothing comes to you? I wasted an entire day, but I will work extra hard tomorrow. Or maybe enough to get done what needs to be with maybe some time to do other things.
I am trying to pull multiple things together from anywhere, a couple days ago to next January through December. Hmm... Fun!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Quite a good sight in the fridge:

Eggs if you couldn't see clearly. This is my fridge though not my eggs. These are about five months old, possibly.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Some pictures and comparisons

Here are a few pictures, the first from Japan and the rest from Wyoming.

This is a view from one of the temples we visited in Kyoto. A little bit hazy.

Mountains in Wyoming, the Snowies in June. Can see very far with only a little haze, it should be clearer except that our wonderful neighbor states are smogging up the air, but the wind carries it away quickly.

A Bitterroot flower about the size of a thumb nail. Larger subspecies of this plant was an important food source for a few American Indian Tribes. This would be a very small root indeed.

Snow still in the trees off of the park (a large treeless area) in June. Sally, my parents' new golden retreiver loves to play in the snow.

Marsh marigolds.

Natural sculpture in the Medicin Bow Forest.

Tenegui (sp?) the bottom one from a long training weekend here in Laramie. The top one from Takarazuka Kendo-jo.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Long time no write

It's been nearly a month since Japan and most is well. I hope that I can go back, but now I should be focusing on more relevant problems such as my space grant. It is so easy to procrastinate in wonderful Laramie. The weather is nice and cool even compared to Japan a month earlier. But it's a tiny bit dry with the foresters for different agencies saying Wyoming and the rest of the west is about a month ahead of schedule for wildfires and extremely dry conditions.

I worked for a day on a construction site. They had me back-filling curb on a track, did that for about nine hours with small infrequent breaks on a very sunny day. I recovered from the soreness for the next week. The wierd thing was that I did some Kendo during that week and while doing Kendo I didn't hurt at all. Hmm... good I guess, although who knows how much longer my recovery took because of Kendo.

Speaking of Kendo I was able to go to a dojo in Takarazuka, Hyogo, Japan. Not the one I was looking for but still a very nice one and closer to the college. Yuko, my host sister, took me to the Takarazuka sports center and to the Kendo-jo inside. I was just going to sit and watch the class when the head sensei, Nakao-sensei, came up to me and handed me a shinai. Through Yuko he asked me to demonstrate some of what I knew. Great! Then everyone stopped in the calss to watch. Even better! So I did some basic targets, in street clothes, and kiri kaeshi. Then one of the other sensei worked with me for about an hour or so.

Afterwards I was invited to drink cold green tea with the sensei, three or four of whom were rokudan and several others godan(6th and 5th respectively), and a student who had just recieved the rank of ikkyu. Nakao-sensei told a few stories about some of the foreigners he had taught and how much they had improved over their stays, both in Kendo and speaking Japanese. One of his foreign students called mochi, pounded rice made into confections, Japanese chewing gum. They gave me a dojo tenagui (sp?) that was purple with the phrase Brotherhood through crossing swords, or something similar, in white kanji. I was invited to join them again on Wednesday to practice for an hour-and-a-half. I went on Wednesday and had a great time. I never found that other dojo, although the map said that I was very close.

I suggested the dojo that I visited to Beth, a girl in the Wyoming Kendo Club who is going to go study for a year at the college we visited for three weeks. She will definitely enjoy it I'm sure.

I will tell more stories later and throw up a few pictures.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Finished but not yet Recounted

I really didn't want to come back. Japan is so cool, I really just wanted to stay. I just have to figure out how to get back to Japan without breaking the bank. Janice said that anybody who wanted to could join the class without taking the class next year. In otherwords cheap stay without having to go to all the classes. But then again I think there is a better option, especially if I'm in Germany next year. Hmm... could be really quite interesting, and hopefully affordable. Lufthansa has direct flights from Fankfurt to Osaka for about 1300 dollars.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Lost and Loving It

Who says lost is bad? Not me but then I really wasn`t lost yesterday. Really I wasn`t. I knew where I was and how to get back, just not how to get where I wanted to get to. Asking a few questions of people who didn`t know english and then one who did but with no idea of where my destination lay. I walked around for about two or three hours without success and finally came back. Hopefully I might be able to find it on Saturday or next Tuesday, hmm... if I just knew alot more Japanese. I know directions and asking where something is but there are alot of ummmss and all sorts of akward pauses.

And writing this much later, all the interactions I had with shopkeepers were either in broken english or broken japanese. It helps that I learned to say (in broken japanese) kore wa hitatsu or futatsu or the counters such as ban and all the rest. If I write any more it will be tomorrow morning or Monday morning.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Rainy Day

I finished copying down the hirigana and katakana so I may be able to sound things out at least. It will not help me understand what I am saying, just a way to help facilitate meal ordering. Maybe by the end of the trip I will be able to recognize the kana on their own without the help of a notebook. The best classroom is the real world. I forget who said that.

Today is raining pretty hard from what I hear, I have not looked outside myself but it sounds like its raining pretty hard. Now do not jump all over my apostrophe grammar, I would have to hit too many keys to actually use it. Also today we are going to learn a little bit more about the way of tea and ikebana or flower arranging. I should hope that it will be a good day despite the rain.

Yesterday, after the welcome party we visited the music building and participated in a class that was taught in English and it was about music. It was very elementry for the music and not overly hard for the english and something that american schools would probably never fund.

Long Day

So it was a great day, wandering around the campus on a tour, getting welcomed at a welcome luncheon and then getting a "train lesson" and eating some superb ramen at nishinomia kitaguchi station. All in all a great day, now to go copy some hirigana and katakana so that I`m able to at least sound out what I want rather than pointing it out.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Here and already loving it

Flew in yesterday on a flight that would never end, 14 hours from Dallas to Osaka. I think I went crazy during the flight, not really but it did seem as though nothing really happened. I slept maybe a total of twenty minutes on the entire flight. That is quite amazing when thinking that we got up at 3 a.m. to get to the airport to catch a flight to Dallas and then the long flight from Dallas.

The weather right now is just the right temperature with very little humidity. Already went wandering this morning watching all the people going to work. It seems most walk down to the mass transit and take that where they are going rather than driving. We went through a temple on the way back up to the college we are staying at. It is such a different society and I understand about one of a thousand words. We are getting a tour in an hour or so and then a welcome party, should be interesting.

This keyboard that I am using seems like a normal keyboard except that it has hirigana all across it, hmm... I think there is a button that might do something いぇん I think that says yen, but not really more like ien. I will take some pictures and eat some ramen.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Japan, Two Days to Go

All the paperwork's finished, I have my passport, starting to pack, reading the books for the class, am I forgeting anything? I don't think I am. I know how to pack for trips because my family traveled at least once or twice a year. The optimum amount of junk (clothing, toiletries, gifts) all depends on the person. I pack light, the lighter the better. I'm going to have to carry it so it might as well be managable. Here's a partial list of stuff I think I need:

-6 days of clothing, so it will be laundry twice while I'm there
-Gifts, a book, a placemat and a deck of cards
-Hakama and Gi, in case I can practice some kendo still trying to decide whether or not to take it.

-Books, notebook, pencil, pens, smaller more portable notebooks, class materials in otherwords
-Camera with extra batteries and a charger
-shoes, one pair has to be an inside pair only unless I want to be in my socks or barefeet all the time

I really can't think of much more to go with me. I think I will be prepared though so nothing should surprise me.

Remind me to write about the LAN perty we had last night.

I'll write about the last Musashi quote when I'm in Japan, got to go.

Monday, May 01, 2006

3rd Month, nearly 30 people

Happy May Day! What does may day celebrate anyway, hmm... hold on a second. Ah ha, May Day is International Workers' Day that sort of started in the US when workers wanted shorter working days. People always say shorter hours, but hours are hours, unless of course you say that you work for 45 minutes then take a fifteen minute break. Americans are notoriously overworked. Some European countries have a lot less gross hours over a year and hardly any overtime put in, their economies aren't quite as stable but still we could cut back a little even after 150 years after the first strikes to get "shorter hours."

I am really tired of school. This is the best week though. It's Finals. Finals means no homework, other than studying, and shorter hours compared to a job. The rest of the weeks at school are cumbersome with all the homework that has to be done outside of class, hence homework. I really don't like homework, when I have a job there will only be some overtime, no homework. And then I will retire... but that's way far away when I'm 60 or so (~40 years), a blink of an eye or less.

Saturday and Sunday were awesome. The kendo tournament did not go well for me but this my first one and I need to practice more, a lot more. I won one match in the team matches. I got one point and it was good and solid. The good thing about that point was that it was against someone who had a higher rank than me. Unfortunately on Friday night during practice I developed a blister on the bottom of my left foot, right in the center of the ball as big as my thumb. I tried to tape it up for the tournament but by that time it had created a bruise right under the toes so it was very painful and threw off my concentration(excuses, I know, excuses). I was able to concentrate on Sunday for the rank test though just because I put it out of my mind. After sliding around a wooden floor for about three days I popped it and today I was able to get back to training with no pain what-so-ever. I will have to be more careful next time before a tournament or a test. The criteria for testing were simple: 30 hours of practice within a consecutive amount of time, I had 60, know all nine bokuto kata or nihon kata, I know all nine of them plus the waza names for instance number nine is uchiotoshi waza. If you want info go visit the Wyoming Kendo site. And then be able to do basic things such as kiri kaeshi and uchi komi geiko. We tested in groups of four and Iwakabe-sensei (the head sensei for Rocky Mountain Kendo) said that the group that I was in did the bokuto kata the best! That's an excellent comment from Sensei. I hope I made 5th kyu, the second rank, but I will be happy if I made 6th kyu. If I didn't make rank then I will practice much harder, but as people said, the real requirements for making 6th kyu is that you can stand and breath. I can do both and attempt to show my best kendo skills at the same time so I definitely made 6th. My parents were able to come watch the tournament and finally see what I was talking about when I said kendo. Although I have a few complaints about how the tournament worked, I'm preparing for the next.

The Japan trip is coming up very quickly. We leave in a week and a day. I will have access to computers while in Japan so I will try to update as often as possible. I've been hearing only good things about this trip and am eagerly looking forward to it. I am going to make the class a little bit tougher so that it will meet some senior level course requirements but as I said before, I will do research on the correlation of the bushi, warriors, and Zen Buddhism. I might trhow in something about how this compares to others such as merchants and ninjas, I don't quite know yet.

Last, but not least:

"Overlook nothing regardless of its insignificance." Number eight of nine basic attitudes for a warrior from Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi as translated by Stephen F. Kaufman. I like this one particularly because I hardly do overlook anything. I notice when something changes, say for intance knowing that my roommate has been at the house by seeing the melting pattern of the snow on the sidewalk where his car left a shadow while the rest of the snow melted. Although sometimes I will notice something is different but not be able to pinpoint it, only rarely though. If you do not notice the signs then you may be trapped, that's from me as far as I can tell. There are many situations that are life threatening or just embarrassing that can be avoided if you can see and recognize the signs.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Few More Pictures

A few kenshi, including me (behind the camera) demonstrating the wonders of Kendo to the passing masses on Prexy's Pasture in front of the University of Wyoming's Union. Most of them just gave us wierd looks, and a newspaper quoted someone saying the craziest thing they've ever seen is ninjas on campus. Hmmm... I like the idea of ninjas but the traditional ideas, not the modern trying to take the name of ninja or ninjitsu. Oi, go bujutsu, go ninjitsu.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Exciting! ...Really.

Easter weekend was interesting, went to a sharp-tailed grouse lek early Saturday. By early I mean that I got up at 4 a.m. What a great thing to do. We got to the pasture before the sun had come up all the way. Rolling down the windows I could hear them drumming and calling, really weird sounding. As it got brighter we could begin to make out the white feathers on the males as they danced around. People who had been before said that this was the longest they continued, about half an hour. It got quiet really quickly once the grouse saw the Northern Harrier. We realized it was a Harrier too but had seen it sitting on the fence post before the grouse did. That was fun and as we drove off we realized that we had a flat tire. Fun, we had to turn bak to Cheyenne and call it a day for birdwatching. After getting home I slept another four hours.

Sally, my parents' new golden retriever puppy, is a little bit out of control. Just a little bit, but she is small enough that she can easily be fended off. My parents need to establish dominance with the puppy even though she should be much more docile. But she is hardly my problem, me not being there most of the time and not really planning on living at home for much of an extended time.

I got the books for my Japanese class. They are mostly interesting and I need to read the first few chapters for next week. I already found some material for my presentation about the connection between Zen Buddhism and the Bushi or warriors of Japan. Hopefully not too many people choose this subject but it seems likely. Some of my other sources will probably be Musashi since the Book of Five Rings does cover quite a few concepts of Buddhism and it will be unlikely people will have a copy of that book or have read it. Also the experience I have so far in Kendo I will try to apply so that people can see the connections.

"See that which cannot be seen." Number seven of nine basic attitudes for a warrior from Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi as translated by Stephen F. Kaufman. A very Zen statement, to see the thoughts of your opponent and act accordingly before they can react is the true way of defeating your opponent. If you can do this you will be the best. If you are not, or cannot, then practice. On that note, on to homework.

Monday, April 10, 2006

What to do when angry...

First: try not to be in a situation where anger commonly arises. If I could figure this out for those wonderful situations where I am angry then, well, I wouldn't be angry. Hmm... sounds like target recognition in Kendo, need more training to see it, but that involves putting myself in the situation more often which is less desirable.

Second: deal with it on your terms. Do not take the anger out on the person who made you angry unless to prove a well considered point. My gut reaction is to deny an accuser, block a shinai (kendo), but the more correct thing to do is to tell the truth, or in kendo be faster than the other person. When someone moves to hit you then is the best time to finish them first, the longer you wait, or if you block the more time they have to recover from a failed attempt. The stereotypical way of taking out your anger is on a pillow. Pillows, I fear, are no substitute for a person, something more solid like a punching bag is much more useful. Also the heavier and more packed the bag, the better, make sure you punch correctly, concentrate on accurate punches and soon you will forget your anger and it will be replaced by a good batch of skinned knuckles.

Third: Commit the atrocity of politics, or dealing with the problem or anger on someone else's terms. "You need to change!" Yeah so I have changed a great deal and usually feel better for it. Give me some pointers to what I need to change, and please don't change on me for the worse. I have grown out of being too possessive for most things, I do things without being asked, sometimes I do more than necessary, and even ask politley if people would like to share something with me even if I would like the entire thing for myself. Lastly I am much less subtle in what I ask or say at the request of my roommate. I really do like a subtle turn of words sometimes but I do see the point of not trying continuously. A good pun is always appreciated, even if it takes me a second to register the pun, the best are made by people unwittingly and they usually groan or threaten when I point it out to them.

In other words this post is more of complaining then anything else. I think I would deal better if this came from a girlfriend but I have not had that experience and really cannot say.

"Strive for inner judgement and understanding of everything." Number six of nine basic attitudes for a warrior from Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi as translated by Stephen F. Kaufman. I am sincerely trying to understand everything but when I try a little further it seems that the basic or closer things that I already understand take a turn for the worse or I realize that I really don't understand what it really was in the first place. This doesn't help me progress. But I will strive for good judgement in all cases and try to understand what I come across so that I may help this world. Now where did I put the humor?....

Oh, Thomas, if you are reading this, write your essay! Or continue reading.


Why are people insistent that on a twenty-first birthday you must get smashed? I don't know, I didn't and I'm better off because of it. Last night I had one beer, just one and no more. I could have ordered my food a little more carefully to go with it so I don't think cheese goes well with beer. That's a funny thing to think about, it's the alcoholic drinks that you have to order more carefully for, like wine and in my opinion after last night, beer. I mean you can get a pop or lemonade and it really doesn't matter what you have with it. Maybe it's just me. If you didn't catch on I turned 21 yesterday and was very happy that I did not hold back the other people from kendo in sitting in the bar area of the restaurant. Fortunately the restaurant was very busy and the request for them to sing Happy Birthday fell through, not that I would've minded if they had, just that it was nice not being sung to.

The really funny thing was that the two people on either side of me last night don't drink. Very odd that I really realized it now that while I was drinking my first (I have had a few sips of wine before) they were drinking lemonade. Having a German heritage I think that not drinking alcohol , being a tea-totaler, is unreasonable, but that getting drunk is absolutely stupid. I don't plan on getting drunk ever and last night was the night that started that, a single drink is fine. It's the same reason I don't cuss or curse. There's no need to, I tell my friends if they ever hear me cuss, running very far away very quickly might be in order. I will use it only to emphasize a life and death situation.

"Know the difference between right and wrong in the matters of men." Number five of nine basic attitudes for a warrior from Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi as translated by Stephen F. Kaufman. It is sort of self-explanatory, when you know what is right and wrong then you may act in good faith that what you are doing is right, I hope it's right, in today's post I know it's right.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Well I asked for it, not directly, I think, but I got a digital camera from my parents. And this is Sally, a golden retreiver puppy, who takes a little bit of patience to take a picture of but now I have a good picture and an easy way to get more. Now this wasn't just randomly, I know that my parents want to see my trip to Japan so I will take pictures and post some of them.

That Japan trip requires daily entries into a trip diary and I'm thinking of either using this medium exclusively or just posting what I write by hand. I'll have to ask.

I'm going to skip Musashi for this post but I will take more photos for posts after this one.

Ah Ha!

Now I can see how many people are visiting my blog, even if it's skimming. I chose the option that only counts the number of individuals not the number of times my blog is visited. So now to watch all the people fascinated with my wonderful life... At least 2, come on! Am I the only one that reads this blog? Well what if I put pictures up, that would require a digital camera or a scanner, I really don't want to bum pictures off of other sites. I'll just have to think what might make this interesting.

The housing situation is never easy unless the spending of gross amounts money isn't bad by staying in the dorms. That will burn a hole in anyone's pocket. My potential roommates were not impressed with what I found other than the cleanliness factor because the person who I had talked to previously about those accommodations was only the broker in case we wanted to buy, but as the manager of the complex put so bluntly, "He knows nothing, all his numbers are wrong." Or something to that effect. So even though I was attacked afterwards for speaking fallacies I made sure that the three guys would also be looking and not just leave it to me. I've known them for a while, when the leader fails in any of our escapades, that leader tends to keep failing. I'm guilty of seeing it that way also but in my defense it has been true most of the time. So I really don't want to be seen as the leader for good reason. It might still work out, we'll see.

Good news about the Japan trip: I over paid and got a check back which should be enough for tuition and books. Another good thing is the upcoming Kendo tournament which is going to be my first. The day after is a rank test, also my first, which I hope to make at least 6th kyu, if not better, but that's only because I've been training for nearly eight months and the test is going to be easy, just keep talling myself that. My Aunt nd Uncle sent me a birthday card witha check saying "Origami Paper in Japan" I will definitely put it to good use on some high quality paper. Just what to make eludes me. I am somewhat good at the traditional crane and a few derivatives that use half-and-halfs of other bases. A particular favorite of mine is the congratulations crane. It has a fanned tail sort of like peacock but still uses the crane base. If you use half a frog base on the oppisite side from the head then a swan is possible, just watch very carefully, I haven't seen it any where before but someone has probably done it somewhere.

And for the longest post yet, the winner for my blog, this post.

"Understand the Way of other disciplines." Number four of nine basic attitudes for a warrior from Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi as translated by Stephen F. Kaufman. Disciplines may refer to other martial arts but it also refers to arts in general. The pen may be mighter than the sword but if you understand both equally well then you are starting to round out, or you know nothing.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Brighter and Darker

It's great when things go my way. I found new roommates for next fall which means that half the battle is done. Now the other half is also close to being won also, I just have to jump. Some people know what I mean by jumping and probably have done it themselves. I don't like jumping because someone said to but all those oppurtunities mentioned in the previous post are because I jumped. I hope that these will all work out though.

I am getting so tired of school that it seems all I can do just to focus in class much less on the homework. If this sounds like I'm complaining, I would say that I'm not, but I am and repeating myself. I learned to curb my complaining when I was fourteen on a backpacking trip, I had much too much gear with me and the entire trip was a hundred miles long although it was spread over ten days. Since then I have learned how to pack and seven years later I still don't complain half as much as I did before. Although this homework and school situation is more like a hundred pound pack on a four year journey where there really is no rest, espescially with the homework. I think I have good cause to complain but it still isn't good.

"Become familiar with every art you come across." Number three of nine basic attitudes for a warrior from Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi as translated by Stephen F. Kaufman. Art refers to the martial arts because if you don't know what you are up against then there is only a slight chance of beating it. So learn about all of them!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I've gone from almost no plans to plans coming out my ears. First I'm going to Japan for eighteen days, then an internship, then back to UW to start and finish a grant and hopefully I will go to Germany for a year of study abroad and another internship. Need to brush up on my Deutsch so that people can at least understand me and then hopefully I will be much more fluent when I start the internship. I know I can visit Kendo dojo in Japan, I already found one that sounds interesting. But Germany might be a different situation, let me go look... Yep, lots. In fact for being only a little larger than Wyoming there are 49 that I could count from a site in Germany. That's 47 more than are in Wyoming. I should be able to find a few within traveling distance, that's good.

I hope that I survive all of this that I have planned for myself, it should all be fun but there are a couple things not going my way for the Japan trip but I will only mention it if it does become a problem.

"Constant training is the only Way to learn strategy." Number two of nine basic attitudes for a warrior from Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi as translated by Stephen F. Kaufman. The Way is refering to a way of life Do in Japanese or Tao, Dao in Chinese.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Second

Time seems to slip by, but everything moves so slowly at the same time. Waiting for someone takes forever when it is only five minutes and yet walking the fifteen minutes to and from class I barely have time to think and find myself going up the stairs of the engineering building. Engineering classes can extend so long as to seem infinite. This happens especially when I start falling asleep after getting up too early to practice Kendo. A second in dream land and then I am back listening to the professor and attempting to take notes that might make sense when I am hurriedly looking for equations to write down for tests. If anyone knows an easy way to memorize relationships of equations dealing with Fourier Transforms or Electronics please tell me.

I am in favor of digital. Designing digital systems is so fun compared to analog. Oh those wonderful logic gates that give so many people troubles are not so fun as to love them but they are spectacularly easier than analysis of analog circuits. But in general it is hard for me to keep interest in school in general. After getting a taste of the real world by interning last summer those evenings without homework and me left to my own devices that I somehow managed to waste seem like a sweet alternative. With Kendo that I started last fall, Ping-pong and many of my other interests I do not plan to waste my evenings in following summers or when I graduate, only a few.

I really do have too much to do but I think I will have enough time tomorrow morning if I don't practice Kendo and just go to the class in the evening.

"Think constantly within yourself in your dealings with all men." Number one of nine basic attitudes for a warrior from Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi as translated by Stephen F. Kaufman. I might add that in my mind men refers to people in general since I live in a different society than Musashi.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Join the Millions

Well if I join the millions of blogs out there it's because of a great need. Yes, a need that is even bigger than needing to express myself, namely homework or as I am doing now avoiding it. This is not an assignment by anybody but it seems to me to be a good waste of time and so maybe I will continue with more posts after this.

My motivation for homework should be a lot more but is the end of spring break here in Laramie and that means the continuation of calsses which means the homework that I didn't do is due, soon. I am even now getting tired of this subject and wish that anything would spring to mind other than the impending doom of homework.

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John studied himself in the mirror as best he could through tears. Red, puffy eyes stared back at him, a running nose already leaked just a ...