6 September 2008, noon There's no point in trying to catch you up on everything that's happened since April. I'll just dig right into the current situation.
Kumiko is out teaching at the Japanese school right now. She'll be home at about 12:30. I attempted installation of a cat door into the garage so we can move Mona's litter box out of the bathroom. I got the holes drilled but realized that the jig saw I had to buy didn't come with any blades, so I'm sol until Kumiko gets back with the car. Actually it would be easy enough to bike to Lowe's, but we're heading that way with the car anyway this afternoon, so why break a sweat.
In the same direction as Lowe's is Michael's, where we have a couple of things getting custom frames which should be ready today, as well as lots of ready-made frames which we'll need as well. We're in a kind of spare-no-expense mode on our new house. I don't mean we're buying the best of everything, I just mean we're buying everything. It looks like we'll be getting a good chunk of money back from our lease pay-off pretty soon - probably in October. I put an ad on Craigslist to offer a subsidy to anyone who would rent that apartment. Yesterday somebody applied for a lease and the management seems sure that it will go through.
Many of my readers will be wondering about the food front. Yesterday was Friday, so we had breakfast tacos from A la Carrera, whihc are always good. But there were also a few pure chopped beef tacos this time, from Rudy's, which is one of Austin's best barbeque joints. That was good, but not really perfect breakfast fare. I think it would have been nice if they'd mixed the chopped beef in with some scrambled eggs.
Speaking of barbeque, I've put together a bbq fantasy team restaurant. Here's what they serve:
- brisket and banana pudding from Rudy's
- pork sausage from Sam's BBQ
- ribs and chicken from Artz Ribhouse
- turkey from Smokey Moe's
- assorted sides from Pokey Joe's
Today Kumiko and I will probably eat out for lunch. We're prett frugal with food money all week, and then we splurge on the weekend. Today's breakfast was simple for me. I had instant oatmeal, apple & cinnamon flavor. I went without oatmeal for prety much years, and I've recently rediscovered its charms. I like thinning it out with a lot of milk to the point where it's more like soup.
Listening to The Blue Stars right now, a French vocal group that included the more famouos Blossom Dearie back in 1954 when the recordings were made. This appears to be an album which was put together from different recording sessions as possibly kind of introduction to American audiences. I bought this album from a shop in New York several years ago. I like it better now than I did then.
My turntable just got hooked up last night. I was wanting one, and my friend George gave me a really fancy one - a Kenwood KD-650 - he had in his garage. But in trying to get it running, I decided it was a lost cause, so I accepted another donation from my friend and bandmate, Steve, who has turned all his LPs into mp3s. This one worked fine for several weeks, and then recently I think the needle either wore out or got damaged. By that time though, I'd already taken the Kenwood into a shop to have it diagnosed. It's just such a nice piece of old-tech that I couldn't bear to let it die. It turned out that the repair wasn't expensive, so we went ahead with it. This is really a very cool record player, but with a giant footprint. We'll have to work out how we're going to set it up. Now, what to do with Steve's player? I'll let it languish in the garage for a while I suppose.
Case del Swanko is playing at the Treehouse Italian Grill tonight. Middle of three weekends in a row at that place.
6 April 2008, noon Our friend Jenna is in town for a conference. Jenna lives in Indianapolis now, but Kumiko met her in Romania 10 years ago, when they both worked for The Body Shop, in far separated locations, and The Body Shop sponsored a trip for their employees to visit Romanian orphans (for charity, not to sell them lemongrass foot salve). She came to see our (Casa del Swanko, the band formerly known as The Ernesto Marquez Sextet until Ernesto moved away) show at the Treehouse Italian Grill on Friday night. Today we'll meet her after lunch and perhaps walk around Town Lake or go to the capital or something. We may go to Mozart's coffee house as well, before heading for texmex dinner, probably at Chuy's. It's not the absolute best food, but it's pretty good, and they offer some pseudo-healthy menu items for those who don't want to go with the full-on texmex grease experience (like I do).
We're in the process of re-aquiring about half the things we sold, gave away or threw out during the heady and impulsive moving to America days. Yesterday I took delivery of a new film scanner, the exact same model that I gave to Ueda-chan in the rush to reduce shipping fees. For some reason it doesn't work very well with Adobe Photoshop on my Mac.
8 Mar 2008, afternoon Kumiko is napping after a busy morning. She tought a class of 5th graders at the Austin Japanese School as a substitute this morning. I dropped her off at 8:30 and then tried to think of something unusual to do, being in the unusual situation of being home without Kumiko. I couldn't really think of anything groundbreaking. I fried up some potatoes and sausage. Pet the cat. Drank orange juice. Thumbed through the Freestyle Photographic supply catalog. Got slightly inspired to be artistic, so I thumbed through my own photos on the computer and then opened up the Austin Chronicle and circled the names of galleries and cofee shops in Austin that are currently hosting photographs - not to go see other people's photos - but as a reference on places I might try to show my own. There are a few places to try. I'm sure there are more than what's represented in this week's Chronicle.
Last night Casa del Swanko - the band formerly known as The Ernesto Marquez Sextet - played a show up north (here) at a brewpub called NXNW. We all felt that we played pretty well, and it was fun to try out four of the five new songs we covered in rehearsal last Monday. New on the list last night were "The Nearness of You" and "Too Marvelous", both of which Burnadette sang, and "The Gypsy", which I sang, and also "Greensleeves", the oldest new song by far, which the band did as an instrumental. I've always loved that song. Playing at NXNW is a good thing, especailly for Mike and Steve and I, who live only minutes away. They feed us for half-price and give us free beer of their own creation, and also pay us more than the other restaurant we play regularly. Of course it's a long set at 3.5 hours, but I'd rather be struttin' my stuff on stage than most other Friday night activities that don't pay anything. Kumiko and I have recently discovered that we have to live without spending money if we want to save the least bit, so it's nice to line my pockets every couple of weeks with a little percentage of the live music industry.
After I picked Kumiko up from the Japanese school, we went to Central Market and splurged a little. We had lunch at the cafe there and bought cheese and salsa verde and German yeast-free rye bread that Kumiko likes, and also some fancy heirloom carrots that are dark red and very perfect-looking. Those carrots are deserving of a photo-session before we cook them. We could make cheese and carrot sandwiches with salsa on German rye and use everything we bought today. Wouldn't that be something?
Today's final afternoon activity was a trip to the Harry Ransom Center at UT. They're having a retrospective on the Beat movement. My friend Michael told me about this exhibition, but it only started yesterday. They have the original taped-up scroll of tracing paper that Kerouac used for his manuscript of On the Road. About 50 feet of it is rolled out in a glass case. And of ocurse there are dozens of letters written from one author to another. It would take several hours to take it all in. I was tired of reading after about one hour but I could definitely go back and read some more. The last third of the exhibition was devoted to how the movement spilled into the movie industry and TV. That was pretty boring. I just wanted to see how those guys got started.
We got our tax refund yesterday. I'm interested to see if we get the government incentive check in May. Since we didn't live in the US for half of 2007, we might not qualify. I sure hope we do. I like free government money. I don't know who came up with the idea, but I like it.
I apologize to anyone who keeps checking this webpage hoping for an update. It must be terribly disappointing!
So it's now 5:21pm. I think I'll do some reading.
29 October 2007, evening Kumiko has introduced me to the joy of balsamic vinegar. I udes to think I didn't care for it, but now I realize that you have to have a good one and use it sparingly, and then it's awesome. For dinner tonight we had a gorgeous salad of sauteed spinach, diced tomato, basil, greek olives and cottage cheese, with, of course, balsamic vinegar, and it was sensational. Made me think of my boyhood in Trieste.
We have a cat now, named Mona. Mona is an 8-year-old medium hair black cat with beautiful yellow eyes. We adopted her from our friends Kristin and Carlos, who were having some trouble keeping her. We love having her around the house, as a constant form of entertainment and adoration. She freaked out and just paced around yammering on the first night when we took her home. Now she's totally settled in, relaxed and cat-like. This is day three. Kumiko really loves MOna, but seems to be allergic to her. We're hoping she gets over the allergies, otherwise we'll have to give her back to Kristin and Carlos.
Kumiko and I have made a habit of walking around Town Lake (now called Lady Bird Lake) on Sunday afternoon. It's a rare chance to exercise, and the walk is really nice. We may get a canoe next week. That should be more of a workout.
I've covered eating and waking. How about sleeping? Well, Chris and Eliza were kind enough to load the futon they weren't really using into their car and cart it all the way across town to us. I was using it as a bed until Kumiko's arrival. We tried a few nights but found that it's just too small (and lumpy), so we decided to go Japanese style and basically build a palette on the floor. We went to Super Target (our current favorite store) and bought the closest thing they had to a Japanese-style futon, which is totally different to what are sold as futons in the US. The closest thing they had was a puffy mattress pad. It works fine. We start with the quilt-like cover to the futon that Chris and Eliza gave us. That's the base. Then the mattress pad, then a cover sheet. It's pretty luxurious, but firm enough to keep my back from aching, and it feels like camping. I love it. While on our latest trip to Target, I picked up the game of Clue. It's the coolest game I remember from my childhood (in Trieste). This is the "vintage" edition, which comes in a fancy wooden box, but I'm pretty sure the graphics aren't the same as the edition we had in the 1970s. This one uses the original 1949 graphics I guess. We haven't had a chance to play yet, because you need a minimum of 3 players. Six is probably best.
Mona as night personified
12 October 2007, night I'm beat! Kumiko's here and we've had two very busy days. Today we rode our bicycles to the donut shop in the morning, then came back home and drove to the social security office to apply for Kumiko's card. We pulled ticket number 82 from the take-a-number machine, and the monitor showed that they were currently dealing with number 34, so we had a seat to wait and realized it would likely be hours before they got to us. Instead of waiting in the seething mass of humanity room, we went for a drive, and ended up at the Harry Ransom Center at UT. Not only do they permanently house the world's first photograph (1826 and almost completely faded now), they currently have an exhibition of victorian photography, which is fantastic. These are highly staged photographs, with many of the subjects in costume. Some of the scenes were just corny, but a few were breathtaking. Made me want to try something similar.
We came back to the social security office thinking that they would be serving number 50 and hoping it would be closer to 70. In fact, they were calling number 84 as we walked in. We missed our turn by a matter of maybe five minutes! Very disappointing. But we went ahead and drew another number, and this time were much better able to calculate how long it would be. We did go to lunch, but we didn't take any chances on getting back too late. We were gone for an hour, and when we came back we had to wait 30 or 40 minutes more. But it was worth it, because after that there was no problem, and Kumiko was promised a social security card in the next two weeks. We had lunch at Burger Tex if anyone cares.
Later we made a list of things we needed for the house, and drove to Target to work on it. I like Target.
I forgot to mention one thing that happened earlier. As I was dismounting my bicycle after coming back from donuts, I stepped right in a big fresh pile of doggie doo. Oh man, it sucked! It got all over one of my bike pedals, which was really hard to clean off. With your shoe, you just slide around in the grass for awhile. With a bike pedal it's not so easy! I was so angry.
Speaking of bikes, we bought one for Kumiko yesterday, so now we're both kitted up in grand fashion. We spent a whole pile of money yesterday and today. We also have a new vacuum cleaner and a lot of household stuff to show for it. Middle-class life is not cheap.
We were thinking we would take a road trip to Dublin, Texas today, but the social security thing took way too long. We'll go another day. Dublin is the home of the only Dr.Pepper bottling plant that still uses real cane sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup. It's supposed to be way better and only available in Dublin, although we actually saw Dublin Dr.Pepper at Central Market yesterday. They're going to kill their only source of tourism if they keep exporting the stuff. I decided not to buy it at Central Market, because the thought of a road trip is very appealing right now. Anyway, we bought plenty of other stuff at Central Market. That's still the best grocery store I know of. It's easy to spend a fortune there. Money money money! I dreamed about money last night. I have a recurring dream in which I'm finding coins laying about in the grass or hidden in the carpet. Sometimes the coins are foreign, sometimes American but out of date, sometimes it's confederate bills, but last night it was new US quarters and silver dollars. I was in some kind of contest where one special quarter is hidden somewhere in a house, and all sorts of other quarters and coins are scattered around to confuse the situation., and if you find the special quarter you get a big prize. They sent me in with two or three competitors and in the dream it seemed I was the only one who was putting all the other coins in his pocket. I didn't care about the special coin. I was getting rich from all the decoys. But as Kumiko said, "You dreamed about finding money, but in reality you woke up without the money, and then stepped in a pile of dog crap." Such is life.
24 September 2007, night On Sunday night, I took Kumiko's Beavis and Butthead DVD over to Mike's house. Sunday night is dude's night at Mike's house. Ernesto and Jonathan and Tom have had this tradition of going to Mike's, ordering food, and watching Curb Your Enthusiasm for a couple of years or something. I don't know how long. Recently I've been available to join in. For the past two weeks, Ernesto and Jonathan have brought over barbeque from Rudy's, and watched "Curb" as they call it, and random stuff from Mike's Tivo. It was clear last night which of us are Beavis and Butthead fans and which are not. Ernesto really wanted to see the movie, and luckily Kumiko bought it off a Yahoo auction not too long ago.
Tom gave us all copies of his just-published book, Taxi to Tashkent, and treated us to some dramatic readings as well. We really enjoyed it. I have a couple of other friends who are aspiring writers, but I've never before seen a full-on paperback book by someone I know. Tom really suprises me sometimes with his ability to pull-off these major projects. I just know if I tried to make a feature-length movie or write a book, it would be a project of the half-baked variety, and would end as quickly as it began.
Now, give me a simple, hands-on project, like putting a dairy crate on the back of a bicycle, and I'm the guy to get it done. On Sunday, I rode to two grocery stores and a couple of liquor stores looking for a derelict milk crate, but found nothing, so I rode all the way over to The Container Store and found one for $9.99. Yes, just a plastic milk crate. That store is way over-priced but I was desperate. I had only brought $9 with me, so I actually didn't have enough. I asked a store worker if she had anything for less than nine dollars, and she just said she could sell the milk crate for seven. So I paid $7 for a milk crate. I couldn't see waiting any longer on the "rig my bike to handle groceries" project. I had to modify the crate slightly to accept the weird, three-stranded bungee attachment that came with my bicycle, but it was easy to do. I tested it on the way to Mike's house. After a near-disaster of dropping a five-pack of bottled beer on the street (all salvaged in the end), I consulted with Jonathan who suggested using automotive hose clamps to attach the crate. Today I stopped by the auto parts store on my ride home and decided to go with plastic wire ties instead. They worked perfectly. I have no fear of disaster, and I'm looking forward to doing some grocery shopping tomorrow evening. Thanks to Jonathan for the good idea. My bicycle is now complete: light, lock, crate, compass, bell. I'm ready for a Pee-wee Herman-esque big adventure.
It's time to iron shirts.
22 September 2007, late afternoon There's no business like showbusiness. Last night, after our band played a pretty bad show at Treehouse Italian Grill on South Congress, Mike brought us down to the Continental Club, to film us walking backwards for a scene to be included in his annual Christmas video project. It was a fun way to slough off the lingering disappointment from what I felt was a bad performance. I know our next show is going to be one our finest. Today Ernesto and Jonathan and I met at Mike's house to shoot another scene, in which we go on a treasure hunt. That was a lot of fun. The shooting culminated in excellent tacos from Tin Star Cafe near my apartment. I always like that place.
Thanks to my new bicycle, there were 3 days in the week when I didn't even start my car. If I hadn't been desperate for groceries on the third day, I could have made it four straight. Next week I'm going to try for 4 full days. If I can just find one of those plastic milk crates, I'll be able to take my bike to the grocery store.
I'll probably go to a department store in an hour or so. I need some casual pants, so I'll have to use my car. Lakeline Mall!
I read an article in Time magazine today about how gourmet salt is getting really popular. I've been using Alessi Mediterranean sea salt since coming to Texas. Kumiko and I went between Alpen Salt (from the Austrian Alps) and a different sea salt from Kyushu. I like exotic salt. It's still cheap.
Yesterday was my fourth wedding anniversary. Today is new pants and sunglasses. Tomorrow is the first day of fall. The day after tomorrow kicks off another five-day money-making spree. What a world!!
11 September 2007, night Never one to linger too long in a purchasing decision -- unlike my friend Glenn, who might spend three months considering the purchase of a pair of sunglasses -- I've gone ahead and ordered a bicycle. It's not the Raleigh Detour Deluxe. That was just too much. I went for the Giant Tran Send DX, which went a bit over my initial budget, but nowhere near the Raleigh. It does, indeed have everything I mentioned as criteria in my last post. I had to order it sight unseen, and put 20% down, because it's not a regularly stocked model. If I don't like it once it comes in, my 20% is non-refundable, but it is transferrable to a different bike at the shop. That's all right. No guts, no glory. I always say that. Ask anyone.
Tonight's dinner: hot dogs and unfrozen lima beans with a glass of orange juice. I'm going to finish reading Huckelberry Finn after I post this. Only about 5mm left on the book. I want to build a raft.
8 September 2007, night Well, I haven't been completely idle since July 9th. It's just that I've only this week come to a point where I have everything I need to be a computer guy again. So back to announcing my daily deeds...
Today was a total bicycle shopping day. Not total. I only started at about 3pm, after a morning of watching the OU v Miami college football game. I have no stake in either of those teams, but I was going for OU based on proximity. They won. But wait! I forgot to mention my breakfast. I melted some butter in a saucepan (because I don't have a frying pan) and fried some cut up bits of english muffin, then I added some okra and kerneled corn (fresh, not canned) and let it all fry for awhile before adding two eggs to the mix. Once I was satisfied with the condition of the eggs I scraped it all out onto a plate and liberally sprinkled pre-shredded (costs the same as in a block nowadays) cheddar cheese over the top. I nuked it for 40 seconds to melt the cheese and then went to town. That was a good breakfast by me.
So back to bicycle shopping. Here's what I want...I want a commuter-type bicycle with 28-inch (700c) wheels, a solid front fork (no suspension), a comfy seat, pull brakes, preferably fenders and a parcel rack, and fairly narrow tires. And I want to pay less than $400. Do you think it should be easy to find that combination? I think so too. But it isn't. I found a pretty cool one at the first place I went, Buck's Bikes, three days ago, but the color was a problem. The 2008 model only comes in kelly green. It's too bright for me. The 2007 model was black, which I like, but the distributor doesn't have any more in a suitable size. That bike did not, by the way, have fenders or a rear rack, and the tires were a bit fatter than I'd like, but it had everything else. Shame about the color. There's an awesome high end version of that bike that meets all of my criteria except price called the Raleigh Detour Deluxe. I like everything about it, but it costs $700, which is a bit crazy for me. I'll think about it, and I'll be looking at used stuff on Craigslist in the meantime. The beauty of a bike now is that I'm close enough to ride to work, and in a job where showing up sweaty in a t-shirt is okay. Today I went to five bike shops.
I've just moved in to an apartment up in north Austin. It's a one-bedroom place, but pretty big and nice. Before this I was subleasing a student apartment closer to downtown. That was a good place to start out looking for a job and looking for another place to live. My new apartment is a month-to-month lease, so we can move out anytime, or stay through next March.
"We" is me and Kumiko. Kumiko got her visa last week. That's the biggest news in my life. She'll be here on October 10th. Awesome! I know it's a big load off Kumiko's mind, so mine too. Come on Kumiko!! Everyone over here is primed and ready for Kumiko. Kumiko. Kumiko. Yay!
I'm working in a cool office with excellent nerdy colleagues now. I like my job. Before this I tried working as a car salesman. Man, that sucked! I did sell a car and two halves in my three weeks on the job. I sold a Ford Fusion to this cool woman who does accupunture. That was the high-point. The low points were many. Car salesmen work about 50-60 hours a week. It just wasn't my thing. I met some nice people on the job and some sleazy ones too. I think I learned how to get a good deal on a new car. The problem with getting a good deal is that the salesman, for whom I now have a good deal of sympathy, is getting very little. That one sale might be the culmination of two or three days of standing in a hot parking lot, showing cars to people who have utterly no hope of affording one, blindly calling people who have no desire to be called, enduring inane sales meetings, working on Saturdays, skipping lunch and missing social engagements. It's a shame, but nobody wishes to pay more than they have to.
Every once-in-a-while, I get the idea that I want to be blue-collar, and act on it. Then I'm cured for years.
Since moving back to Texas two months ago, I've had two jobs and two apartments, and been to two baby showers. I've been to six movies at the Paramount theater and three at the Alamo Drafthouse. I've eaten at three houses of barbeque and multiple houses of burgers, tacos, and sandwiches. I've had five gigs with Ernesto's band. I've purchased three books (Dickens' Oliver Twist, Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle, and Lone Star (Texas history)) but virtually stopped reading. I've been to three people's houses I'd never been before, switched to store brand soda, volunteered twice for the steam train, payed as little as $2.75 for a gallon of premium gas and as much as $3.10. I've made at least four new friends, and multiple fringe friends. I've spent one entire day (today) walking around with a strip of paper taped to my back that says "Blythe Danner", thanks to a party game last night. I guess that will teach me to wear the same shirt two days in a row.
I'll end this first Texas post by thanking Mike and Ernesto and Chris and Eliza and Jonathan and Steve for making my transition into living here easy and fun. I have really good friends.
9 July 2007, 6pm This will be my last entry from Japan. Tomorrow morning I'll catch the bus with Kumiko and my mother-in-law, and they'll see me off from Kansai International. We're unexpectedly having dinner with a bicycle shop owner tonight. He's always been really nice, and given me good deals and lots of free service, so today I took my bicycle to his shop to give it to him, since I won't be sending it to Texas. He just called and invited us to dinner and we couldn't say "no", even though Kumiko had just put dinner on the table. He'll call back in a few minutes and we'll go over to Kobeya Restaurant to meet him. I don't even know his name.
We've had a weird and melancholy day today. Hopefully this dinner will put us in better spirit. I'm tired of seeing people for the last time and doing things for the last time, and tired of saying goodbye and tired of getting ready to go and feeling like I'm forgetting something, and at this point, as much as I'll miss Kumiko for the next three months, I'm ready to get on the plane and get it over with. The weather hasn't helped. It's been raining off and on for the last month, and constantly hot and steamy. My underwear haven't been dry for weeks.
My last meal in Japan is set to be natto and rice, tomorrow's breakfast. Some of my nearly last meals have been: unagi-don form an awesome unagi-don shop in Yodoyabashi, sushi from a place in Toyonaka, great Mexican food from a place in Tenma, excellent spaghetti at my in-laws house last night, delicious homemade tortillas at Kevin and Aiko's house, great other spaghetti at a restaurant near Kumiko's office, okonomiyaki at the place downstairs, gyu-don from Yoshinoya, steak from Volks, and om-rice from the restaurant at Ojikoen Zoo yeserday afternoon. Tonight was set to be Hashimoto-san's (the neighbor's) curry, but we shall see what happens at Kobeya.
Thank you to everyone who helped me in Japan. I'm sorry to leave.
23 June 2007, afternoon Today (or was it yesterday?) is my 7 year anniversary of being in Japan. We're having a dinner party tonight and something like 17 people are coming. Should be a tight squeeze. Nachi and Hina-chan just stopped by to say goodbye. I probably won't see them again before I leave. I really hope they'll come visit us in Texas. I met Nachi's husband for the first time too. Nice guy. We've spent the morning preparing for the party. Kumiko has devised a game about me for our guests to play - a kind of treasure hunt/guessing game. Last night she made a batch of her famous chicken curry, but without the chicken, to accomodate our vegetarian friend, and I'm simmering lasagna sauce at this very moment, trying to thicken it up. We went to Costco yesterday, and found they have good prices on cheese, so my lasagna is going to rock the casba. It's vegetarian-friendly too, but we'll also be grilling sausages and Kumiko's mom is bringing over some salmon. Last night I had drinks with coworkers, so I think I'll lay off the sauce tonight. Don't want to overdo it. My last train is apparently about 5 minutes earlier than it used to be, so I had to take a taxi home. Luckily I could share the cab with Wayne, so no big deal monetarily.
Last week we visited Okinawa briefly, in order to attend an interview for Kumiko's immigration visa. It went pretty smoothly, but there's another interview coming up for her, probably in August or September. Looks like everything will work out with thanks due to my mom and maybe my sister too. We got to see our friend John in Okinawa. He and Tomo are living there now, but unfortunately Tomo was away during our stay. We'll see them again when they come to Texas some day I hope.
If anyone is wondering what I had for lunch today, the answer is: a pork and cucumber sandwich from the bakery downstairs.
For breakfast: Yogurt with strawberry jam and hot cornbread, courtesy of Kumiko. Way to go Kumiko. Good breakfast.
As the time to leave is coming closer, I've been rotating through all of my loaded cameras and finishing off the rolls.
This is a shot from the pedestrian bridge over the Yodogawa (Yodo River) in Osaka.
Shot with my Smena-1 (50s era Russian cheapy) on Kodak T-Max 400
9 June 2007, afternoon It's 4pm and Kumiko and I are
taking a break from cleaning. Actually, it's not strictly cleaning, but
clearing out. We've spent much of the day sorting through our closets and
drawers and deciding what to sell at the flea market next weekend, what to
sell elsewhere, what to give to specific people and what to throw out. The
throw-out pile is the biggest. Last week I distributed a full-color
catalogue of things I thought people might want to buy, and I've had a few
bites, but mostly it seems people have enough stuff in their apartments
already. Later this month we're expecting a professional scavenger to come
over here and offer us some small bit of money, or perhaps nothing, to
take the heavy (once expensive) stuff away. I think his existence hinges
on the fact that throwing it out would mean paying the City to haul it
I'll go to work tomorrow for the second-to-last time. My last working
day is June 11th. That's exciting. I've never worked for the same company
this long before. I'm just finishing up my seventh year. The days between
finishing work and leaving the country are going to be full of "sayonara
parties", immigration meetings and paperwork, remote job and
house-hunting, cleaning and boxing things up and saying "thank you" and
"goodbye" and "do you want to buy this" to a lot of people.
A few months ago, I wrote a review of my
thinking it might become a regular feature of my website, but then I
forgot to mention it since I'd pretty much stopped updating the site at
that time. Perhaps it still will.
I had to scan and do some restoration to
this photo yesterday. The print is 3.5 years old.
Stupid crappy digital printing. People think that "digital" means "good"
companies and photo labs are pushing it, but it really just means