27 June 2009

Thought for the Night

Somewhat inebriated thought for the night, that is.

Is there any music that compares to Leonard Cohen? Anything as deep, meaningful, soulful, or moving? The dude's been at it for well over 40 years, and he still carries a certain gravity that is just... impressive.

Okay, me sleep now.

P.S.: The touchpad on my laptop is starting to go. Might just be time for a replacement machine.

25 June 2009

Kit Kat: Muscat

Kit Kat: Muscat
Originally uploaded by gogakuhei
For this week, Muscat Kit Kat. To be honest, I don't really remember what this one tasted like. I think that means it was somewhat unimpressive. I think it was a chocolate (not white) base.

20 June 2009



They had three or four people read the line, and the director would make the decision in post-production. Maybe next time, eh?

15 June 2009

Unscheduled Vacations and Karmic Retribution

Apologies for the two week absence. I managed to get busy and distracted all at once.

For a long time, I've resisted the pull of the iPod. I've had, used, and enjoyed my iRiver H10 MP3 player. It has served me well over the last 4 years or so, carrying tunes and podcasts and audiobooks for me with little fuss. I appreciated the fact that it supports more file formats than the iPod, and that when you connect it to a computer, it shows up as a simple external hard drive. If you want to share something with friends, it's as easy as drag-and-drop.

Even today, I know there are much better portable players out there than any iPod. There are much better programs to manage your media collection than iTunes.

But I received an iPod Nano as a present a little while back, and decided to finally give it a go. Now, I've been on the PC side of the Mac vs. PC ideological divide for many years. I understand that they each have their strong points, and in the end it really is just a personal preference. I resisted the iPod for it's perceived limitations, and avoided iTunes for other reasons. But in order to use the iPod, I needed to install iTunes (apparently you don't have to use iTunes -- but you do have to have it installed). Since I was installing it, I decided to try it out.

How is iTunes? It's not bad. It is far from a superior product. I don't think it's as good as Microsoft's Media Player, which is sad. The iTunes Store is ever-present, and ever-annoying. iTunes informed me that, in order to fully utilize the features in iTunes, I needed to create an iTunes Store account. No problem. I went through the required steps, giving it my name and contact information, selecting a username and password. It then brought me to a credit card information screen.

For every item or button you can click on for information in iTunes, there are two other buttons to purchase the track/album/book/item you are looking at or looking for. With all these purchase options everywhere, I did not want to give them my credit card information. I looked all over the screen, but there was no option to skip the credit card information. Grumbling, I decided I would go ahead and enter a credit card, and just be careful of what I (or anyone else) clicked on in iTunes. I pulled out a card -- one that I have used for over a year in Japan. I've rented cars, paid for hotel rooms, bought groceries, even paid my phone bill with this card.

But the iTunes Store declared that my credit card is "not valid in Japan", and I need to use a different card. Well, Mr. iTunes Store, screw you. If they didn't want my card, I decided to just quit the process, and clicked on the only other button available to me -- Cancel. Cancel... which simply closed the credit card window. I think it allowed me to finish the account creation process, but I didn't check.

Anyway, I threw a bunch of music on the iPod and subscribed to about 30 public radio podcasts. Got everything ready for Monday morning, and went to bed. I woke up this morning, got ready for work, and headed out. On my way to the station, I put in my ear buds and hit play... and discovered my headphones had broke. There's a short in the cord, killing one side and making the other play at a real low volume.

Then I got to work and discovered the Windows registry on my computer corrupted. Windows wouldn't boot.

I should mention what happened last week -- the oven broke. The new oven. A repair person came to the house on Saturday to take a look at it, and declared he would have to take it in to the shop. I'm hoping to get it back tonight or tomorrow. I made enchiladas last week that I'd really like to reheat (in the oven) and have for dinner.

I'm surrounded by electronic failures. What's going on?
( . .)>

(Additional apologies for the rambling post. This is so sub-standard it hurts to hit "publish".)

03 June 2009

Kit Kat: 塩&キャラメル (Salted Caramel)

Kit Kat: Salted Caramel
Originally uploaded by gogakuhei
Your Kit Kat for today? Salted caramel (well, the bag says "salt & caramel"). These were really good. Chocolate base, with some caramel sweetness and just a touch of salt.

Not much else to add. Going to catch a quick workout and get to bed. It's been a long day and shaping up to be a long week.

02 June 2009

Ranking Ramen

Hayto Ramen
Originally uploaded by gogakuhei
Pulling more pics from the Flickr archives, but this time just for illustration purposes. (Originally taken back in 2005, in Hayato Town, Kagoshima.)

On some other site I stumbled across a link to a "Ramen Database" at a website called "Supleks". (Interesting -- they also seem to have a Curry Database. Seems to be a mix of Japanese and Indian curry. I'll have to look and see what they have.) While it seems a bit Tokyo-heavy -- it's a fair assumption that population and internet density would favor Tokyo -- this could be a good tool to use to find new culinary adventures of the ramen (or curry) kind.

Two of the (currently) top ranked ramen places are actually not that far -- I think I pass one on the way to work, actually. I'll definitely have to check this out. Will report if I do.