Saturday, August 28, 2010


I went to Fairyland in Oakland, CA today with (to entertain my niece) and met this fella who goes by -- I'm not kidding -- Señor Juan Valdez. He seemed to really like me, coming up to say hello a lot and 'humming' (really more of a whine).


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Tokyo Redux

Oh so very very late, here are a few pictures from my trip to Tokyo in May. I heavily blogged my last trip to Tokyo, but this time around not so much. So here are some highlights.

1.) We stayed at one hotel with hilarious 1960s-vision-of-the-future decor. Everything in white. Everything in our room in molded white plastic. Awesome view, though. I tried to get some pictures:

2.) Watching tv in Japan is great. Every commercial has an adorable animated mascot. And I correctly guessed that the tv show were were watching was a boy band talk show.

3.) Food. You know what's surprisingly good together? Foie gras and daikon. I know, sounds terrible. But it was really really good. We went to a tiny, classy, old-school bar where the bartender chipped ice from big blocks by hand. And, most importantly, the ninja restaurant!

4.) Last time, I went to the Roppongi Hills (indoor) observation deck. This time, they had opened up the helipad for tourists. It's not like any other outdoor observation deck. No rails or fencing. Just standing out in this big open space way up on the roof (floor 54) and you can see city as far as you can see.

5.) Finally, we went to the Studio Ghibli museum. It's a bit out of the city. But so very worth it. It's not a regular museum: there are no maps, no little plaques explaining the historical context of the exhibits. It's really looks exactly as you imagine it would look in a Miyazaki movie or possibly what the inside of Miyazaki's mind looks like. There's a mock-up of an animation studio. There's a room with a giant Catbus for (and, sadly, only for) little kids to play on and in. And their theater shows shorts that are only shown there. And there's no video screens. Just drawings and models and film being projected. Here is someone else's photos and description of the museum and my favorite (and this blogger's too) part of the museum is described: the zoetrope. You're not allowed to take photos inside, but here are some from the outside.

Totoro's in the ticket office!

On the roof of the building there's a giant statue of one of the robots from Castle in the Sky. You can go have have your picture taken with it.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Books I Still Haven't Finished

If you have been monitoring my profile, you will have noticed that there are a couple of books that have been on the 'currently reading' list for more than a year: Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver and Halldor Laxness's Independent People. I haven't ruled out finishing them, but I'm not actively trying to read them now. I also started the novel version of Isaac Asimov's Nightfall more than a month ago and haven't finished it. Why haven't I finished reading these books?

I can pinpoint the answer for Quicksilver:

The year is 1713, and Enoch Root goes to visit Dr. Daniel Waterhouse and the institute he has founded: the Massachusetts Bay Colony Institute of Technologickal Arts. It's only page 16 of 916 and it's unbearably cute. I didn't make it past page 50.

Independent People came highly recommended. It just seems to require more attention than I can give to it. Basically all my reading gets done on airplanes and it's just not airplane reading material.

As for Nightfall, it is hilariously direct in the analogy between fictional astronomical conundrums and real-life counterparts. But it's only been a month and a half, so I might still pull through.

Anyone want to make a case for taking another crack at any/all of these books?


Monday, August 09, 2010

Egg Timer

I'm sorry for all the blog neglect. I've been busy, but it's not like I have a really good excuse like Tim. I still have a backlog of really old stuff to blog, but to get going I'm presenting to you right now the most awesome kitchen gadget ever:

Sean and I found it at Crate & Barrel while trying to use up the last of our wedding gift cards. It's an egg timer for boiling eggs, telling when they'll be soft, medium, or hard. And I hate hard boiling eggs: I'm always anxious. Am I cooking them long enough? Am I leaving them in too long?

How does it work? Put it in the pot of boiling water with the eggs.


The eggs are now medium (I only pulled the timer out for a better photo.)

And now, they're hard.