- I started watching The Billion Dollar Code on Netflix. It's based on a true story about a lawsuit around Google Earth between a German startup and....Google. The origin story of Terravision (the Google Earth a decade before Google Earth) is really good. The early 90's techno-visuals really hits that Hackers spot for me.
- Kanagawa hit single digit covid numbers ( 7 ). There's a number of arguments made for why this number is so low so quick. The cynics say it's because there's an election coming up. Others think it's Japan being good about masks and getting some high vaccination rates. I think it's somewhere in-between. Vaccination rates are really good in Japan, people generally wear masks when out and about, and you don't get an official test unless you're showing symptoms, and if your vaccinated the chances that you're symptoms serious enough to get an official test is much lower. Either way, the number of serious patients in the hospitals is also declining, so they must be improving.
- I made some small improvements in Tanzawa. Nothing frontward facing, but some small bugs and quality-of-life improvements ( reordering menus and such). Been thinking about my priorities for Tanzawa development recently and I think I've figured it out, but need to work through all of my thoughts in another blog post.
- Friday it rained which pushed Leo's Sport's Day festival to the Saturday morning, the same morning we were planning a trip to the Atami area to visit a friend. Leo' had 3 activities against : a game where his group tried to collect their color ball from around the ground faster than the other group, an x meter dash, and a dance.
During the race he fell behind, realize he couldn't win, so he just walked the rest 🤣. Unfortunately, this soured his mood for the rest of the event and despite looking forward to the dance and despite his teacher holding him to try and calm him down, but it was a lost cause. In the end, everyone got a medal and we were able to make as planned.
- Driving to a new place in Japan is always an adventure. Our destination had two possible routes: one along the ocean and one a bit more inland. The ocean route is closer to my house but my gps said it was going to take an extra hour over the weekend, so we decided to go the inland route.
Along the way I got to drive the Hakone Turnpike, which is a famous twisty road to get you through the mountains. There were a lot of motorcycles and a couple of super-cars as well. Driving all the twists and turns was a lot of fun.
As we got closer we switched from my car navi to Google Maps, as my car navi didn't have the exact address we were going. Remember how I said driving is always an adventure? It sent us one left too early to save maybe a hundred meters on distance. That left too early also tried to send us up a 1 way road through the middle of the forest. Which I tried until there were too much debree that I decided it's best to turn back. Thankfully I was near a bit of the road that was wide enough I could turn around. I wish I had taken a photo. Either way, this quicker route still took us 3 hours.
Thankfully we arrived in one piece and we were able to meet some friends who we haven't met since January 2020. Also thankfully Leo and their son had no problems playing together that night.
- On Sunday we went to a local farm? zoo? where you can feed the goats / cows / rabbits. Leo fed the rabbits and I fed the goats / cows. The cows were determined to lick me each time I tried feed them.
After that we went to Jukkoku Touge (Ten Mountain Pass) to ride the cable car.
At the top you can get some great views of Mt. Fuji and the ocean. It's close enough and high enough that on a clear day you can see Yokohama Landmark Tower and even Tokyo Sky Tree.
After a quick bite to eat at the bottom we got drove home. This time we took the ocean route and it was a great view. Leo's already planning his next trip and thinking about which trains he's going to take with him to play with.
Our train trip via Russia to North Korea - using an officially closed for foreigners route inside the "Hermit Kingdom"....
A 26min film about the trip - with photos, videos and music:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1mzXFAzUjQI miss when the internet was full of travel blogs like this. Random photos of everyday things. Not super-polished or photoshopped to death. Just people doing their thing and letting others follow along.
The original travelogue is a fun read.
Riding a cable car. It’s soo steep! Almost like you’re going up a mountain…
Feeding the cows
As a Mac user since 10.1/10.2 the new MacbookPro look fantastic, exactly what I wanted from a new Mac. A return to utility. Similar my 2014 MBP. As someone who wants a repairable computer, however...it's mostly what I expected...not. Their chips are so much better than the competition. Slower/louder/hotter and a disrupted workflow is a hard sell.
- Technically from last week, Jacob linked me to this short video about Dutch continuous sidewalks. I never thought I'd become excited about sidewalks (other than them existing) until I saw this video. And it makes so much more sense: bring cars up to people level, not people down to car level and make cars a guest in human environment.
- I went to the office to work for the first time (at Octopus) and the first time since early February 2020. I rode the train around 6:30 and arrived at the station around 7:30. The trains weren't super crowded either where I rode (in the very front).
There's also a Tully's nearby in the IBM headquarters where I could decompress with a coffee and work for a bit before going in. I used to do this when I was going in to the BeProud office.
It was great to meet part of the team in person. Going out to lunch in a social setting was a lot of fun too. I can't remember the last time I did that. Each Friday's is "family dinner", where there's a small presentation followed by beers at the office, which was also a lot of fun.
- We got a second quote for solar panels on our home. 2 down, 2 to go. This time the talk was much better. Not just the price (about 10k less), but it felt like he was communicating when we asked questions, not just giving us canned sales responses.
He recommended QCells panels and a Japanese battery. Overall kilowattage from his quote was a bit smaller as QCells (like most foreign solar panels) tend to be larger square (like foreign roofs) so they tend to leave gaps along the edges. Domestic manufacturers tend to make smaller / non-square panels, so you can get the most of your small roof. This company is also going to produce a quote for us with domestic panels as well. Will be interesting to see how they come out.
- After last weeks' unseasonably warm weather (and two trips to the beach!), the temperate finally decided to drop. These times when the weather suddenly changes are the easiest to get sick, so I've got to take extra precaution to keep healthy this week.
- Covid cases were down to 23 in Kanagawa and 29 in Tokyo Monday. Monday is usually a low count day, but it's the lowest they've been in over a year. At this rate I think we'll be down to single digits again soon...maybe next week? Let's hope it stays this way.
Waiting to get my MyNumber card. Applied using my phone a few weeks ago, super smooth.
I mostly drink two things: black coffee and water. Unless I actively think about it, I usually don't drink enough water in a given day. While I enjoy the taste of water, I have a habit of just sipping my coffee and getting a refill from the maker when it runs out.
This isn't a good habit. Sometimes when I go to sleep at night, about an hour after I fall asleep, I'll wake up with my feet feeling sore. Problems if your feet at night cause me alarm. Usually as feet problems can be signs of diabetes.But it can also be cause by having tired feet because you were on them all day and they're tired. Or, as I discovered, dehydration.
Drinking nothing but black coffee, which dehydrates despite being a liquid, is a good way to end up really dehydrated. In an effort to drink more water I've been taking my old Laken water bottle with my coffee upstairs with me when I start work. Doing so has kept me drinking more water and I can't remember the last time I my feet were sore at night.
I love my little Laken. It's forest green. I've had it for probably a decade at this point. It has a dent at the top that gives it some character. The cap has a great clip that I can use to attach it to my bag so it doesn't fall out.
But it's a bit small, only about 500ml. I often find myself needing to buy a bottle of water to refill it, which defeats the purpose. And that clip I love? It's kind of a pain to unhook when I'm walking around town and want a quick drink. The mouth is also a bit small, about the size of a regular plastic bottle, so I always spill a bit when filling it up. And it's not insulated, so it sweats as much as I do during summer.
So I upgraded today to a 946ml (32oz) Hydro Flask. It's the opposite of my first bottle. It's big. It's got double-wall insulation, so it won't sweat and drinks keep cold/hot. I can put hot liquids in it. The mouth is huge. The lid doesn't have a hook, but it does have a loop that I can use to strap it to my bag. It's freakin' purple (technically "eggplant"). It's a tank.
My old water bottle lasted me a decade still has plenty of life left in it. I hope this one keeps me hydrated for many years to come.
Another day. Another Tully’s. w. Taco Rice.
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