Lauren In Tokyo

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

All I seem to do is write about earthquakes

Well, that's because at 10:40am here in Tokyo we had about a minute long shake which I'd estimate around 4. The actual magnitude is probably much higher and located over in Niigata where they've been having quake after quake since Sunday. No power, no water, roads are impassable. Those folks are in some bad shape.

I'm glad I can be here in Tokyo sipping my coffee instead of over there.

Which reminds me. I need to remind my wife to send a donation to help the disaster relief.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Making dinner reservations

Every now and then this company decides to go out for a whole-company dinner. This is in stark contrast to my previous company where we all tried to avoid each other once we left work.

This time, I am in charge of making reservations. I was planning on having it next week or early the week after, but the word came down from on high that it should be this week. That leaves me with only tomorrow as a possible day because it seems the other days are already planned for.

It's a little like herding cats. First, no one seems to be able to agree on a cuisine. Then some people drink, others don't. No one is able to tell me whether they can go or not, so I can't even call a restaurant to see if they have room for 10-15 of us.

The size of the room changes for groups over 10, so I know that there will be at least 10 engineers there, but I haven't received any word from the sales or managers yet, so I can't make a reservation.

The only saving grace is Guru Navi (Gourmet Navigator) which helps find restaurants with only a few clicks. I wish it had English, but it looks like the individual restaurants design their own webpages so it would be asking a lot for them to translate it into English as well.

Monday, October 25, 2004

More meteorology

So last time I wrote I talked about the typhoons battering the Japanese islands. Well, that was just the beginning of the Japanese apocolypse. Starting two days ago, there has been a long series of earthquakes striking the northern prefecture of Niigata (website is currently down because they don't have any power in the area, I guess). I was at Tokyo Disneyland's shopping mall when the first one struck. Unlike the normal jittery shakes we get around here, this one was a rolling/swaying shake type. The normal ones are clearly finished when they stop shaking, but the kind that hit us tend to affect my sense of balance and it's hard to tell when the earthquake actually ended.

Well, more people are dying because of the weather here. It's been a strange year weather-wise.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

49 years, time to reset the clock

Yesterday Japan was wracked with the second typhoon of October. The last time two typhoons hit in the month of October was 49 years ago. The one that hit yesterday was the largest of the year with many fatalities throughout the country.

Most of the early typhoons creeped along the northwestern half of Japan but the last two have wreaked havoc across the southeastern parts including Osaka and Tokyo.

No damage to report from home, but then again I live on the fourth floor and away from rivers and oceans, so I don't usually expect much damage.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Ralph Lauren embroidery

I just noticed this, but if you look closely at the Polo embroidery you can see that the horse and the man are actually separate designs. The man's leg is clearly visible as a separate layer on top of the horse's body.

Motivation to work fading...

Thursday, October 14, 2004

I need rabbit ears

Well, it looks like I need to have those rabbit ears on the lens in order to meter with the EL.

I'm looking at getting the Nikkor 24mm f2.8 AiS as the permanent lens for this body, but I think I'll need to mow a few more lawns before that becomes a reality.

Nikomat EL and my modern lenses

I received a very old Nikomat EL from my uncle a couple months ago and have generally been afraid to mount my lenses on it because it looks like there is a significant amount of mold in the lens that it was originally attached to. I really don't want my newer lenses infected with mold. I finally took it to the Nikon Service Center and they said there was nothing wrong with the camera except for a minor -1/3 metering error, but that's nothing serious. The lens, on the other hand, is shot.

So I got up the gumption today to finally mount one of my lenses on the old hunk of junk. I was worried because it seems that the EL has a metering pin to which a set of "rabbit ears" on the lens fits around and which tells the camera metering system what f-stop is in. Newer Nikons use a "metering ridge" which is built into the backside of the lens mount which essentially does the same thing without a metering pin on the camera body or ridiculous rabbit ears on the lens. I slipped the 28-105 f3.5-5.6 AF into the EL mount and it snapped right into place.

I turned the camera on and the meter jumped to life. I depressed the DOF button and was able to determine that the camera was able to change the f-stop on the lens without trouble. Hooray.

Then when I got to work I realized I hadn't done the most important thing. In all my excitement, I forgot to verify that the camera was metering correctly with the lens. This just means that I needed to watch the meter for changes as I rotated the aperture collar.

I'll have to do that when I get home tonight.

Friday, October 01, 2004

No free movies for Marines

So I heard on the radio this morning that the DOD has mandated that recreational facilities in the military must justify their existence with a 4% profit. One side effect of this is that the Marines no longer will enjoy free movies at movie theaters on military bases worldwide.

Now, I'm not in the military, nor am I related to anyone who is. I opposed the war in Iraq and have generally had less-than-good experiences with military personnel (we used to antagonize them on Guam in my younger days). However, I think that this kind of boneheaded profit-based management of the military is quite possibly the worst idea to pull in this time of thin resources.

The military is already under considerable stress due to the continuing efforts worldwide to maintain peace and order. Each uniformed individual is personally under that much greater stress because of the unnecessary and ill-conceived excursions into Iraq. The idea that more money cannot be moved from elsewhere in the Congressional budget to fund recreational facilities for military families seems ludicrous to me.

Military families are truly wards of the State. They are neither truly free as we civilians are, nor are they as well paid for what could be considered much more difficult work than the vast majority of us do. They take this burden upon themselves in order to fight the fights that the rest of us choose not to. In a very real sense, their existence and willingness to put themselves in harm's way preserves our freedoms and way of life. This is not always noticeable as civilians, and for that we are lucky that we don't have enemies at our doorsteps. One thing that keeps them away is knowledge that there is a strong military to repel them if need be.

These individuals give up quite a lot to defend their country. Can we not find a way to pay for their movies?