The Somewhat Odd

Big thanks to Rafael for bringing me a couple of bottles of this when we met in Tokyo:

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That is a bottle of sparkling green tea. Yes, green tea with bubbles in it. It’s a little strange; something seems to have happened to the flavor in the carbonation process. Tracie’s reaction was one loudly voiced obscenity. I guess I’m not surprised that it’s disappearing from the market, according to Rafael.

He also brought me a bottle of sparkling soy milk. I’m trying to summon the courage to try that one this evening. read more

Heian Jingu Gardens

We went for a stroll through the gardens at Heian Jingu (Shrine) yesterday. These gardens are known for their spectacular cherry blossoms in the spring. We thought it would be interesting to see them at a different time of year. It turned out that they’re sort of between seasons right now. There aren’t many flowers blooming other than water lillies, and few leaves are just starting to change color. It’s a beautiful place any time, though, and it was a pleasure that there were only a few other people around. read more

Here’s Something You Don’t See Very Often

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That’s the inside of a huge suspension bridge. The underside of the road itself is at the top of the photo. The two flat areas stretching into the distance are service roads and walkways. The bridge looks like this from a more common vantage point:

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The first photo was taken just beyond the far side of the huge concrete structure, which must be the anchor for the mainland end of the bridge. The bridge extends from Kobe to an island, and has the longest central section of any suspension bridge. You can read about it at Wikipedia here and, if you happen to ever be in Kobe, you can go to the visitor’s center and see it from the same vantage that we did. Big thanks go to our friends the Makinos for taking us there. Sid, a professional tourist guide, really has a knack for finding interesting things to visit. Tracie and I kept having flashbacks to the bridge-crossing level in Half Life 2 while there. read more

Kyoto has Black Butterflies

While walking through the neighborhood between Kyomizudera and the Yasaka shrine this morning, we were startled by several large, black butterflies. The first time I saw one I caught only a glimpse of it, and I thought it might be a bat or a small bird (although, yes, it was the wrong time of day for it to be a bat). They’re at least as large as a monarch, completely black, and have unusually shaped rear wings. They passed by fairly quickly so I didn’t have an opportunity to photograph them, and I’m not having much luck with Google image searches, which is too bad because they’re quite strange-looking. read more

Greetings from Kyoto

We’re back in Kyoto for about a week. We arrived yesterday evening (local time) and got up early today for a whirlwind trip to Tokyo to see our friend Rafael. I’m about to crash from jet-lag so I’ll just cut it short here and preset this photo of Fuji-san, shot from the window of the shinkansen on the way to Tokyo.

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(Getting a photo like this is mostly a matter of luck, because the view is frequently obscured by buildings, power lines, etc. All you can do is use an auto-winder mode and hope that at least one exposure works.) read more

Latest Modular Origami Project

Here’s a photo of my most-recently completed modular origami project:

120-unit modular origami

It’s from Tomoko Fuse’s Unit Polyhedron Origami. It’s 120 units folded from rectangles. I don’t really time how long it takes to make things like this, but figure about three minutes for each unit and about two to three hours for the assembly. Assembling it was somewhat tricky because the units were a little springy and wanted to be inside-out until I joined enough of them to form more than half of the spheroid. No, I didn’t do this all in one sitting. read more

New Cat Photos Online

Because the web can never have too many photos of cats, I’ve just uploaded a bunch of photos of our numerous cats to my Flickr site here. They’re not in any particular order and there isn’t any particular theme or whatever–just snapshots of the clouder taken over the last few months.


Autumn, Maybe?

The first signs of autumn may have arrived. We just had two straight days of overcast, rainy weather (which is unusual for here), and it’s still cool-ish today. I noticed on the first day that some of the trees nearby are starting to change color. Personally I’m ready for a change in season. It’s been a hot summer and I have no objection to cooler weather.

In other news… Um… Well, there isn’t much other news, I guess. I’ve been toiling away on Audio Damage’s latest creation. It’s not a terribly complex plug-in but we decided to switch to Steinberg’s VST3 format as the basis of our products. We think that this is the most future-proof approach to building plug-ins currently, since Steinberg provides code to turn VST3s into Audio Units and VST2s, and also covers the 64-bit versions. We hope that Steinberg’s backing of this system will help isolate us from whatever surprises Apple throws at us next. We’re also building our own platform-independent preset system, something which Chris has been trying to talk me into for years. So, we’re doing new and interesting things, but this means learning a new plug-in framework, which–as is par for the plug-in development course–is not particularly well documented. It is kind of fun to be doing something different, however. read more

Ramen in Japan

There’s a nice article here at our travel agency’s website about ramen in Japan, including a mention of the ramen museum which we’ve visited. It makes me want some ramen right now–not the usual instant Top Ramen, but the hot, thick, flavorful stuff found in Japan.