Random Header

Friday, 11 April 2014

The Captain

I recently switched rugby teams, meaning having to learn an entirely new about an entirely new group of people, their names and personalities.

Obviously the most important person is the captain, so I took a photograph to remind myself of who he is:

After this picture I ended up walking around, taking pictures and videos (still working on it!) of other places and people.

I managed to get another picture I quite like -

And that's what I've been up to recently.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Happy Birthday to Me

Before you read this note that it's very late and I'm rushing to get to bed, so there will be many typing errors - many of which will never be fxed.

Okay that one was a joke.

But the rest are not.

So today is my birthday.  If you're reading this then the chances are you're family and therefore in England.  As such, it's probably still my birthday.  Or does that count?  Is timezone directly related to birthdays?  I.e. does my existing in a different one mean it happened at a different time?  Geographically and physically speaking that's an ugly idea, but I rather like the sound of timezones being actual entities that aren't simply human creations and therefore my birthday is still ongoing for you.  I may get you shit presents for Christmas but at least I've given you an extra eight hours.  But only on my birthday.  And I want those hours back when I come home, whenever that may be.

I'm writing this on the back of an envelope on the train and a mother of four just gave her eldest (8 years of age) a full can of coffee.  It's 10.30pm.  I'm not a parent but that seems silly not to mention unfortunate for whoever is living under that apartment when they get home.

I went to a training session for my new job (same company, new area).  I contemplated ending it about 50 times.  "This is a child.  Do not punch the child."  I may be exaggerating but not nearly as much as you might think I am.  It started okay, but after the nice american and patronising but amicable enough ozzie left, a loud, possible tourettes suffering yank took the floor and I spent the next 2 hours with a headache listening to 20 minute anecdotes about whatever shit took his fancy.  He was given coffee at an early age and probably has 3 brothers.  Prick.

Anyway, there were no windows so jumping out of there was out of the question.  I considered breaking a chair and beating myself to death with a chairleg.  Then I thought that I may as well beat him to death.  THEN I thought that I might get put in a cell with someone just like him in some kind of Bardic or cosmic comeuppance.  So I just sat there hating him.  I have 'training,' tomorrow and the day after so Christ knows if either of us will make it out alive.

So you're wondering why I'm on the train at what is now 11pm.  IBM training is on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  During the weekday it starts at 7.45 and finishes around 9.30.  It actually finishes around 10 because everyone just practices their own thing, whether that be passing or kicking or whatever.  So here I am, absolutely dreading the next couple of days of 'training,' and hoping that I can just get to sleep tonight.

I often find that I write the most when I'm feeling blue, and that's certainly the case today.

I loathe birthdays, with the very limited exception of a couple of friends and family, I find the entire ordeal entirely pointless.

I think I've used this picture before, but I have rarely felt more like the bear during any part of my life so far.  I don't know why specifically today, but I'm definitely feeling down at the moment.  The girlfriend got me a very thoughtful present and made dinner so that's cheered me up somewhat.  I'm waiting on presents from Grandad and Mum so when they arrive I'm sure I'll be able to look back on today and smile at this post - but for now I miss everyone dearly.  I even had a little weep on the train home; combining the extreme fatigue of today (training was very hard and I was borderline postal by the end of the 'training,' today) with my generally negative attitude towards events like today entirely accounts for the sadness so I guess I'll just try to not think about it.  It's times like these that I consider a stiff drink.

And that was today.  I woke up at 7.45, spent 10 minutes trying to figure out where my socks were.  I spent a goddamned lifetime listen to an utter berk talk bollocks, then went to training which was admittedly life affirming.  I got home about 30 minutes ago and now I'm off to bed.

Happy Birthday I guess.

Saturday, 22 March 2014


So I decided to fold the gym time-lapse style video I made into a more comprehensive video of my new club.  I'm playing for IBM now, so I thought I'd give a little tour around and show my locker space along with the ground and whatnot.

Due to the increased amount of editing required, I'll get the video up in the coming week.  Extra long videos require extra amounts of editing.  Sorry about that.

Monday, 17 March 2014


The video is taking substantially longer than I thought it would to make.

Turns out, you can't just chop out a hundred frames and leave in one, at least not easily.

I will figure this out.

But now, off to the gym!

Monday, 3 March 2014


So I've officially finished my contract for this year.  There's a long layoff until the next one starts so I'm sitting on my hands somewhat.

I would like to say that doesn't mean I'm being lazy, but it probably means exactly that.

I've applied to various jobs, although I doubt they'll get back to me (not pessimism, just raw experience) so I've been hitting the gym and awful lot.  I'm going to make a timelapse video of a gym session because I'd be interested to see how much time I actually spend working versus time spent admiring myself in the mirror.  I fear the results won't be particularly satisfying.  I'm also interested in the various ways of doing timelapse.  The primary method for photographers is to purchase an off camera trigger that will time shots, the downtime, number taken etc.  Of course I don't have one of those, so what I might try doing instead is taking a video, then editing out large numbers of frames, leaving single frames in at set intervals.  It comes with a couple of caveats.  Firstly, I don't know if my battery will last that long shooting long videos.  Secondly, the camera only supports up to 30 minutes clips.  Today I spent close to 4 hours in there, so I don't know if I can trigger the camera without moving it about and ruining continuity.  Lastly, I don't know if the card will hold all the video.  I guess we can try it out at least.

In other news, I've put up some damned stupid videos of me and my friends playing games on youtube.  The idea is to learn the adobe suite of programs (just get a basic knowledge really).  Did you know that after effects can analyse a scene, determine the 3D properties of the scene, and then let you edit the footage as if it were in 3 dimensions ala 3dsmax or autocad.  I'm just going to let that sink in for a second.

It's not flawless, but when it works it's absolutely mind blowing.  The latest video I uploaded has exactly one effect added from after effects.  The scene lasts about 25 seconds, 10 of which have this effect added (just 3D text pinned to a wall to make it look like part of the scenery, not very well).  It took 2 hours for AE to figure out the properties of the scene and another 2 for it to render, but goddamned that is amazing technology.

In the past, gaming was the route to greater technological innovation - pushing polygons onto a screen was extremely hard work.  Then consoles kind of ruined everything by standardising to the lowest common denominator and now every game has a pixel budget determined by consoles - meaning any old PC can play games at a respectable quality.

I think it's editing software of this ilk, that will one day make it to the youtubes of the world, that will once again force technology forward (in the computer realm anyway).

Anyway, I can barely type because my arms and shoulders are full of lead or iron or something heavy, so this is me SIGNING OFF.


Monday, 17 February 2014

Another Night in the Snow

I very much have a favourite among these pictures, but I would be interested to know which of them you find most appealing.  I can't really put my finger on why I like this particular one the most, but it certainly jumps out at me as being the best - there's simply no competition!  These are in no particular order (beyond that determined by blogger) so I hope the sequence doesn't prejudice the results.

So there was another snow event in the Tokyo area (snow event as in weather event, as is all the rage to say nowadays).  I was originally going to wait until the next day to take these pictures, but it started raining around 11PM and showed no signs of letting up.  This would have meant losing the snow, but it also gave a unique opportunity because wet snow has several interesting properties.  One such property is the magnificent roundness everything seems to possess when it gets wet.  I can't really explain this phenomenon, but upon seeing the pictures it was obvious that the flowing curves were missing from my previous set of pictures.  Again, I can't really explain it, but I think you'll see what I mean when you compare these ones to last weeks video.
The rain also had another side effect; that of making the snow exceptionally difficult to navigate.  It became increasingly arduous to maintain balance while walking because the snow wasn't solidifying underfoot.  It became a layer of snow on top of a layer of ice, and even when the ground underneath wasn't frozen over, the snow itself would turn to mush and give way far too easily.  It wasn't as idyllic to walk through as the pictures make it appear.

Having said that, the snow looks particularly snowy because of the rain, so I'm not complaining too much.  When you have buckets of snow it can sometimes look fake.  It tends to look like a blanket, in that the effect is of someone throwing a textured duvet over a surface and being done with it.  The rain really changes the texture into something far more snowy (to look at, at least).

It's absolutely fine to think I'm mad for walking around in the snow until 4AM (truth be told, my battery ran out at 2.30 but I got lost) just to take a few pictures.  I probably am.  Oh well.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Barakiyama Myoukouji

So this is a local temple - the name being that of the title.

I took an awful lot of pictures but only a few came out worth the time to view.  Obviously I took them in colour, but for some reason I can't stop making them black and white.  I think they look infinitely better.

This first one is absolutely my favourite.  It's one of my favourite pictures full stop; although the few people that have seen it are only lukewarm towards it.

Both of these pictures are of the same statue, the drinking/cleansing fountain at the entrance to all Japanese temples tend to have an interesting ornament, often somehow including the water itself (a fountain head, for example).

I've been to this place a couple of times and there are always fresh flowers at the entrance.  The one downside of black and white is that you can't see colour; amazingly enough.  Not so great with flowers.

As a side-note, it snowed the other day so I made a little video.

Monday, 3 February 2014


Happy Chinese new year!

So it's Chinese new year which means a lot of people (really, an awful lot) are having holidays right now. Being in the workaholics country of choice that means of course we will not have a holiday, but we do get to throw beans around.

The long remembered of you may recall that this is the time of year during which people throw beans out of the windows and doors of the house to scare away devils. Or rather, THE devil. Obviously, this is more of a tradition passed down to children (young children) so naturally I was privy to a demonstration this year. And last year. And the year before.

But what the hey, at least I got to eat some nuts (which I don't really like but it's free food so...)

Anyway, in less bizarre news, I went to a shrine over the weekend. I took a few pictures, which will arrive upon ye blog at some point in the future - probably within the week.

In more disgusting news, today is the day of incredible disease (obviously people didn't throw their nuts out of the window hard enough) because one of my 8 classes today (tiny little kids, so only 25 minutes per class) had nine people absent, the others all had at least one. I also have a cold. AND ONE LITTLE TREASURE VOMITED IN MY CLASSROOM. What in the world was he drinking last night.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Ibaraki Temple

So this first one is my attempt at something called 'instagram.' It comes from the effect of taking pictures with crappy cameras in order to get a certain look - often aged or faded. The old cameras people tend to use are lomo (I think they are\were manufactured in Hong Kong) and one of the types of this crappy looking photography is lomography; I might have mentioned it before.

Anyway, this type of photography has its place in the world, as do all the other types. The problem is that people tend to think that this kind of massively washed out look has now replaced the idea of taking a good picture. Instead, you take any old garbage and then put filters (the computational kind) on top (hence instagram, the phone application). This is my attempt at recreating that look without using any nonsense.

All the pictures are directly out of the camera, converted to very low quality .jpg in order to speed the process of putting them on the net. I'll go back and modify them properly at some point.

The next two are my attempt at trying to capture the sunset. The colours are, frankly, wrong. However, I haven't gone back and modified the pictures in any way, so when I do, that'll be the first thing I change. Then again, I see my pictures on a lot of different monitors and they all look different colour wise, so maybe I should just leave them be. I have no way of knowing what a black or red or any other colour will look like once it's been printed. In most countries I think the cheapest way to find out would be to get a monitor calibrator. Here I think the cheapest way would be to take a few test shots down to the printers after a few test shots and simply have them printed out.

The young lady was on her way to her coming of age ceremony. I asked her in broken Japanese if it was okay to take a picture because she was wearing a wonderful kimono. I've seen a few black ones around lately (ones with a base colour of black because they're never all one colour) and it seems to be the latest fashion. If you're spending 5,000 USD on one of these, I would be surprised if anyone would try to keep up with fashions, but they do apparently.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Photographs Incoming

So I took a few pictures of a shrine - this being a fair while ago. Having deliberated long and hard over which ones to include or otherwise, I've decided that I will post three. One is imitating the lomo style that programs like instagram have popularised (to be fair, the 'style,' wasn't invented by them, but it had a very small following before people realised that taking crap photos didn't matter as long as filters were available to them).

The second is shrine related in some way, and the final might be a terrifying picture of my face. If I can bear to post it. I probably won't (hint: it's of me from about 50 metres away, so it blown up to jumbo sized proportions and suffers from both subject matter and quality issues).

They might go up tomorrow.

They might not.

That is all.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Happy New Year!

So last month I played a rugby game in which I got knocked out. Not a rare occurrence you might comment, but it did mean I missed a week of work because as a result (or entirely coincidentally) I caught the flu. A terrible flu that caused fevers and a runny nose that resembled Vitcoria falls. I also had a splitting headache, but I don't know whether to attribute that to the concussion or the flu.

I don't remember the day before the game, the day itself, or the following two or three days. I don't really remember how I got home, or how I even managed to open the door. It's pretty frightening to think of how many hours I will never be able to recall.

On the plus side, for Christmas I got a remote control helicopter, which is an absolute pig to fly. If I ever get good with it, it'll be something of an achievement. Even getting everything set-up is a challenge; as is setting the trim and all that. When flying with freedom in three dimensions, your brain starts to struggle (at least mine does) so I absolutely find myself cycling through each axis, rather than focussing on everything at once (is it flying straight? Is the height okay? Is it veering left or right? Is it flying straight? Is the height okay? Is it veering left or right? Is it flying straight...). It's probably not how professionals think, but damn it's hard!

I also used some money I received to buy a NAS! Finally, all my photographs are once again secure (my previous internal RAID sprung a leak). It took literally days to get the information off the broken internal disks, as they kept dropping the link between the motherboard and themselves.

Oh, and my computer breaking on Christmas Eve didn't help. I HATE COMPUTERS. It broke the day before Christmas. Can you believe it? Well, regardless if you can or can't, I certainly can. I had to get a new motherboard, reformat the boot drive, pray it didn't need a complete overhaul (money is always an issue) and click the go button. Of course even the new motherboard was a pain in the ass, having a fried capacitor and bloody jumpers (of course I lost the jumpers as soon as I saw them) meant I had to bodge the whole thing. I've since replaced it, thank god, BUT I STILL LOST A FRIGGIN' JUMPER. Again. Twice. What in the world possessed ASUS or whoever it is, to include jumpers on their boards. It's pathetic. Last time I checked we had left 1999 far in the past. Grow up, ASUS.

Anyway, after the incredible stress of not being able to phone Mum and Dad over Christmas, it was a pretty uneventful break. I had a lot of spare time so I modelled something in MODO (equivalent to 3dsmax I guess?) and all that's left to do is skin it. I practiced with the helicopter (it's terrifying indoors) and ate a lot of chocolate. I've lost 5 kg's so my training regimen starts again from today.

I took some photographs as well, which you might be able to see above or below. Apart from that, nothing else of note happened that I can recall.

I hope your Christmas wasn't as bummed out as mine.


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Pretty Tired!

So originally I was going to record a video post whereby I was going to do a little tour of the new house and tell everyone what's been happening.  But then I decided to not sleep on Monday night, which has left me with a debt to the sandman

Then last night I carefully considered my options and decided to once again forego sleep in favour of lying awake coughing.  Not pretty little coughs either - hacking bronchial coughs that reduce villi to pulp and pave the way to bronchitis.

Anyway, the upshot is that I am ruddy tired and quite frankly can't be bothered to record and edit even a short video.

I don't have the space either.  All the parts for the worlds most awesome NAS (16tb, 4 mirrored) have arrived except for the hard disks, kind of the most important part.  Then again an NAS without an enclosure isn't really N or A.  I didn't realise my bank balance was so perilously low.  If I'd ordered less manly drives I would have been fine; but I can wait until I transfer some money across.  All told I now have (or rather, will have) some 20plus terabytes of storage.  Hard disks are about the only expenditure you can justify in terms of tech because they generally last long enough, and you can get an awful lot of space for the money now.

Anyway.  When I get some space and whatnot, I'll put all the pictures I've recently taken on there, and they will subsequently appear here.

Until then!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Chest Bump

So I played for Lion this weekend.

I started for only the second time this season, and I managed to snag a try by being in the right place at the right time when one of us put a kick through that bounced horribly for the other team.

I also bruised my windpipe, by letting someone hit me in the chest. The result is that I have a tiny amount of blood present every time I cough, meaning that my mouth constantly tastes like blood. Which is gross. I didn't carry on because coughing up blood is as scary as hell, and because my chest, and by extension shoulders, neck and back, were bloody sore. I went to the hospital and had an x-ray, despite knowing it was pointless and was promptly sent home. I'm still coughing a tiny amount of blood so I'll go back to the hospital and tell them to cauterise it or something.

Now for the defence: I had to tackle him in a moronic position because there was a 2 on 1 overlap and without me making like a scarecrow, he would have just passed out of the tackle and they would have scored. So there. Anyway, that aside, I have some more pictures from climbing last week, and a couple from the game this week.

The guy behind (his name is Yuu) has got the best expression I think I've ever seen in a picture.  Look at that smile!

This is me prepping for one of the pictures further down the post.

This is me trying to smile while weighing a lot.

This is me failing to smile for long enough.

This is, without a doubt, the best picture of me that I have ever seen.  I'm trying to smile while holding onto the wall with one hand - and it just isn't working.  I smile every time I see this!

This is the obligatory end of season team picture.  I'm bloody cold at this point so have my tracksuit and hat on.  We won all our games this season so we're going to play in a promotion match in two weeks, against Japan Airlines.

And this is just another shot of me getting up to the protrusion for the photo.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Lion Rugby

So this is the third time I've written on this post, I hope they stick this time.

This game was against the second placed team (the team behind us) so it was quite important.  A win would secure the league.

These are all entirely out of order, so you have to imagine them being replaced.

I'm a bit muddy so I guess this is later in the game?  I don't really know but it looks like a slow jog kind of day.

The height/weight discrepency here is immense, so this little fella' didn't stand a chance.

I think this is the second time I went past him in the first half.

That angry face.

I don't know why I'm sticking my arm out here, but I'm definitely going to be tackled.

This might be the first try of the game?  Let's just pretend it is.

This might be the second one, who really knows at this point.

This is the second half, and the only break I made of that period.  I probably made a hundred metres this game, including both scores.

This is the one tackle the little winger managed on me - I took the ball at head head with no momentum.  He could have probably intercepted the ball, it came so slowly.

This is a picture in the buildup to one of the tries.  I really don't remember which one.

This is the precursor to the tackle above.

This one looks pretty far out, but I don't know where it is or what the leadup was.

It's like a slideshow!

This is a cool side-on shot of the guy I hand off.  Once again I look pretty angry for some reason.

Whenever I put my head down to run my hair immediately goes up to look more intimidating... or something.  Maybe it's like those dynamic fins on modern sports cars.

This ball was completely awful, but luckily I'd positioned outside their last defender so had a clean run to the line (with one defender to beat, if you can call that clean).

The leadup to one of the tries.

This might be a duplicate...

This one looks pretty cool.

Look how far away from the try-line I am, yet I appear to be falling to put it down.

The ministry of funny walks.

The ministry of funny hair.

I really like this picture, it looks like a proper try!

I think prior to this picture, I actually had some fingers in his mouth.  Ewwwwww.

And I include this picture because you can see the factory in the background, it's a serious company making a serious number of goods!

I've got some climbing pictures for the next post, so check back next week or so.