Scenes from a construction site

Where that construction site is my house. 

She is literally shaking. I picked her up and ended up covered in scratches (including one on my ear) and tons of cat hair on my new black Diru shirt.

We will have a bedroom door soon, like a normal home!


They really did include a live signature mini poster with the box set I bought. I know because they signed them too quickly and the ink smudged. So on the reverse side there is the imprint from the next card they stacked on top of it, before the ink dried. 

But I am seriously impressed that they did care enough to actually sign it. Now I just have to figure out what to do with it. Maybe in 10 years it'll be worth some yen. 


On the subject of whiny musicians

Not bad - a little boozy tasting for me and (partially because I hadn't eaten all that much) I got wasted pretty fast on only a 375ml bottle.  I did let it air out some though and it got much milder.  Might buy again if I had no choice and really needed some sake to get my fix.

This week a band I very much enjoy is releasing their first album in two years.  They are doing (as some Japanese bands are, e.g. X Japan) a blitz in the US as well to get more international attention.  I actually preordered the album and because their international distributor did not learn from the Harry Potter snafus of 2007, has already sent out an album scheduled to be released August 3rd in Japan (the 2nd in the US) on Wednesday USPS Priority Mail.  I should probably get it tomorrow (July 30th).  

But, besides that snafu someone leaked a copy of the CD on bittorrent on Wednesday as well.  I'm no stranger to the bittorrent or piracy in general - we go way back;  I was pirating Photoshop back in 1996 (they really shouldn't let high school students have access to uncapped, unmonitored T1 lines).  So of course the band, through their "recluse" leader released a statement about how sad they are that someone did this and thanking their "true fans" for waiting for the CD and not downloading it. 

Naturally, I didn't even know it had been leaked until I read about it on facebook (and then on their Japanese twitter feed).  I found it... not revealing where (because I value their services greatly) and you know... "thought" about downloading it.  Not because I needed it - I'm getting it in the mail in the next couple of days; I paid for it - I even bought the deluxe package which includes the T-shirt and poster and LPs (what the fuck am I gonna do with those, I don't know) and random bullshit.  I've paid through the nose for shows, T-shirts, DVDs, etc. But, I thought about downloading it simply because I could.  

You know, the band is probably giddy as all fuck that this happened.  You hear about albums of top bands, rap stars, pop singers, etc. being released early on BT and those albums are usually highly anticipated and by musicians where there is enough demand in the market for people to upload their stuff illegally and ahead of time.  The fact that this happened to this band is very telling of the fact that they are at the point where people want to hear their music - highly eager - enough where you can get 1.5MB/sec down (on a shared T1 line) on BT from about 40+ seeds throughout the world also downloading or seeding this album (I heard about these stats from a friend of mine?)  They can give a shit about this; their core, rabid (I've seen them en masse at concerts) fanbase has already preordered this album months ago and those who are on the fence about them might actually, as a result of this, realize they are pretty decent and may decide to patronize them (through concerts or CD purchases or whatever) in the future.  I can say this for certain because I'm one of them (someone who was on the fence).  It kinda made me physically ill to read all the "oh poor you" comments posted to facebook from fans about this "horrible" incident when, in all likelihood, the band probably could give a fuck - I doubt as they are sitting in their multi-yen homes, entertaining various groupies and drinking the good sake that they are worried about this.  Likely it's Americans, Europeans and non-Japanese fans downloading it anyway - people who can't probably understand most of the lyrics anyway and are wondering what is up with this crazy Japanese hard rock.

And although I will give a full review when I receive the album - so far, I'm finding it to not be as strong as their previous works... I mean, my friend who downloaded it, isn't finding it to be as strong.  My friend who also bought a $130 concert ticket to meet them and see their show in December.

[To the RIAA, MPAA, CIA, FBI and anyone else looking to find and sue me - I do not endorse, condone or no longer usually engage in music, movie or software piracy (I use Linux and don't watch TV anymore, which helps)]

Update 7/30:  The band decided to sneak peak "stream" their album online; smart move.



This sake wasn't bad, but it wasn't very good either.  It was pretty run of the mill and I would not buy it again (especially since it was over $10).  No hangover or headaches as a result of drinking a 375ml by myself, though so it gets at least one point.

Yesterday and today I went through my entire manga collection so I can finally organize it on my shelves.  I have all or part of 35 series in Japanese or English or both.  It would take me serious amounts of time to read all of these.

In the process, however, I also noticed series that I really just don't want anymore.  If we ever did have a kid and stay in this place, we would have to do some serious book downsizing and get rid of some bookshelves.  So on ebay right now I am selling whatever I have (most being complete sets) of the following:  Bleach, W Juliet, Hana Kimi, Here is Greenwood, Mars (I own this one in Japanese) and Monster.  That frees up a sizable chunk of bookshelf space right there (assuming someone in the world buys them).  I am also trying to figure out how to get rid of some miscellaneous volumes of series I bought in Japan.  I don't think I can donate them to the library and I am physically unable to throw away books.  In recent memory, T and I have only thrown out two books - Rich Dad, Poor Dad (because this book is a fucking scam) and Dune - House Atreides  (T says it was the worst thing he's probably ever read).



One of the best widely available sakes in America (got it at Whole Foods for about $25).

So this sake gets +1 in overall taste, +1 in the hangover test (i.e. after pretty much drinking the whole bottle by myself, how ill do I feel the next day), +1 in price (under $30), -.5 for being a little _too_ fruity, although it still went fine with my jerk chicken tenders.  Overall, I'll buy it over and over again.

I am having a serious problem getting past all the bullshit puzzles and obstacles when trying to beat FFVIII.  There is just way too much shit to do to get to the final boss and it isn't even fun or entertaining.  It really is serious grinding, when I don't even need the level grinding anymore.  All my characters are at 9999 HP (when junctioned) and Squall has maxed out at L100.  I am thinking of just bypassing the last two mini bosses (and unlocking some abilities that are locked right now) and just beating this Ultimecia bitch so I can see the final cut scene.   I have been "working" on finishing the game for about a week now, but after about an hour and frequently checking the walkthrough I get bored again and just decide to put it off until later.  It is a bad sign when something that is supposed to serve as a diversion needs a diversion.

I have put the entire discography my top five bands, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Tool, Radiohead and Dir en grey into a single Amarok playlist (cutting songs that I don't like, live versions, duplicates) and that produces 36+ hours of music.  After listening to this for about a week off and on, I still 12 hours left.  One thing I've been doing to make this seem semi-productive is taking five words in a Dir en grey (they have a lot of fucking songs since they have put out more albums than the other four bands) song that I don't know and adding it to the anki flash card deck that I have been studying from in preparation for the JLPT N3 (which I failed the first time after failing to study).


Dreams realized

Sad dream, however, pretty stoked to have a Toto washlet again without having to live in Japan. 


Sitting in the dark

Penguins - just hanging out

So we are mostly settled in at this point in our new place.  We get the honor and privilege of making our
first mortgage payment next week.

I also got the honor and privilege of meeting our upstairs neighbors on the best terms ever.  Due to their improperly maintained shower, water leaked into our office closet.  I don't know if I mentioned this before, but this exact same thing happened to the previous owners (of our unit and theirs) in 2009.  Everyone had been told the issue was fixed at that time and it wouldn't happen again, etc., etc. so of course it happens three weeks after we move in.  Now, we have to call out contractors to replace the drywall in our closet and repaint and whatever the hell else goes with that.   This will be in conjunction (although not the same people) with the door installation which will be taking place soon.  Until we get a bedroom door installed, when the boy goes to sleep I have to turn off the lights in the office (which also has no door) and I can't listen to music or anything.  (He is very sensitive to light when sleeping, so I understand).  At the old place, it was laid out in such a way that even if there were no doors, I could do stuff while he slept, but this place is designed weird.  Weird bad, not weird good.

In awesome news - two things:

1) Bought ourselves a Toto washlet - for fear of flooding our bathroom, however, we are waiting for our handyman to come out and actually install the thing.  It is sitting in the box on my couch, lamenting that it cannot warm and wash my ass just yet.  The fact that people do not know the joys and wonders of having a washlet in their bathroom makes me weep for the future of this country.  How Japan managed to surpass us by 20 years in bathroom technology is astounding.  At some point we are going to look into getting the temperature gauge/control for the shower/bath.  I really liked knowing that my shower was set at 40 degrees (C) and I didn't have to fuck around with the knobs trying to get it to that perfect location between freezing and scalding.

2) Dir en grey is coming to Chicago in December (and to a city likely near you as well).  They actually sold, and I actually was enough of a fan girl to buy, VIP tickets which will allow me a chance to "meet and greet" (at least some of) the members of the band and I also get some premium swag like autographed posters and stuff.  I was reminded that this is similar to when I did the penguin experience at Sea World.  It probably isn't worth the money, but I can say I did it.  I am paying for the "experience".  I will actually do serious study in conversational Japanese in case I get the chance to use it (outside of just "Hajimemashite. Douzo yoroshiku.")

My only concern is that they other people who also bought these tickets are probably more fanatical than I and I may have many cringe inducing moments when I have to interact with them.  I am reminded of the other Americans at the shows in Tokyo; I asked what other bands they listened to, and they looked at me as though I'd asked if there really was a rabbit making mochi on the moon.  Also one had tattoos of the band name; you hear of "super fans" but you never think that you'd ever encounter one.

I am totally expecting these guys (the members of Dir en grey) to be complete and utter assholes.  Like, not even remotely pleasant.  I'll find out for sure in December.