Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pie

Marie Callender's

We went to Marie Callender's for my mom's (early) birthday dinner. While we were full from dinner, you can't really go to Marie Callender's without having pie, so we took home a whole one.

"Fresh Banana Split"

Looks a bit overwhelming, with its layers chocolate and vanilla cream sandwiching banana slices and topped with whipped cream, almonds, chocolate sauce and maraschino cherries. But it was surprisingly easy to eat. Yummers.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Party

Christmas at the Johnsons'

A shot from Christmas. Both the decorated reindeer and the shot itself are not my handiwork but the work of a sweet 4-year-old who decided I was her playmate until her friend arrived. She was adorable!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sushi Bowl

Sushi bowl

I think I'm just barely going to make it for today's entry.

My mom has this thing were she has to have sushi or sashimi about once a month. So when she was at the Japanese food market picking up ingredients for New Year's food, she picked up some tuna, yellowtail, salmon and salmon roe too.

Tonight's dinner was delicious sushi bowl.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Lupicia Tea

Lupicia Tea

I've been curious about Lupicia for a while so I was really happy when a friend gave us an assortment of their tea. Last night I tried "Joyeux Noel" which tasted just like it's image of "roasted chestnuts sold on the streets of Paris". Well, I'm not sure about the Paris part, but the rich aroma, bittersweetness is quite delicious. I'm usually not a fan of flavored teas, but I like this.

The only problem was my own fault; I did not take into account the time of day and it turns out that this tea has a healthy amount of caffeine. I was on a high for a bit until crashing a few hours later. Next time, I'll be drinking this in the morning. (^_^)

And! Not that I think the content of this blog is worth subscribing to, I've set up an email subscription so anyone who would like this randomness to show up in their mailbox, the subscription box is at the bottom of the sidebar.

LINK:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Goldenrod Park

Goldenrod Park

I got nothing today, so you get a photo of a local park. (^_^)v

Friday, December 25, 2009

Hummingbird

Hummingbird

You may have already guessed, but I'm opting for quantity over quality in this blog. So I'll do my best to post every day, but I will not guarantee the posts will be well-written. In fact, I can almost guarantee they will not be well-written; I think I've only proof-read a couple posts in this entire blog and most of those are in the beginning. Hopefully I'll at least be labeling them, but I won't even guarantee that. (^_^)

And so I leave you with a photo of a hummingbird that I'm quite fond of. It was a lucky shot.

PS Not that it really matters, but I write these posts and set them to update automatically sometime the next day. No set time like Chicago's blog. Just whenever. Sometimes I write a few in one sitting and sprinkle them out.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mt. Fuji

NGO to NRT

Nagoya's Centrair Airport has to be my favorite airport ever. It's conveniently close to my grandmother's and Hamamatsu. And it's just a great airport in general. I love spending time there. How often can you say that about an airport?

Since there are no direct flights between Centrair and California, I usually change planes in Narita. For my NGO-NRT flight, I always request a "Mt. Fuji side" window seat. If I'm lucky I get a clear view of Japan's tallest mountain.

While I was in Japan this summer, I went to Tokyo a number of times, but every time Mt. Fuji was wrapped in clouds and I couldn't see it from the Shinkansen. But! On the plane to Narita, I had the great fortune to see Mt. Fuji for most of the flight.

Even though it's a rather typical symbol of Japan, I never get tired of seeing Mt. Fuji.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Trying something new

New keyboard

I've been pretty good about updating this blog. Don't expect it to keep going though. I have a lot of material, but I also have a lot of projects here and there. But I'm also not planning on letting this blog fade like it has in the past. We'll see how this goes. I named this blog "White Noise" for a reason. (^_^)

Moving along, I've been wanting to write reviews to keep track of the things I buy and such. I'm hardly an expert on anything and everyone has their own opinions, but I'm curious about what the collection of my opinion of things will turn into. I have a feeling it will say more about how I operate more than the things I review.

So! First up is my Logitech Classic Keyboard 200.

I bought it about a month ago for $10. It's a simple, no-frills USB wired keyboard. I wanted a separate keyboard to use with my laptop because my posture had been bothering me. I have a computer desk complete with keyboard tray, so there is no issue of space.

I decided to not get a wireless one because I didn't want to keep replacing the batteries and I figured the wire wouldn't be much of bother on a keyboard like it would on a mouse.

Thankfully I was right. My posture has improved 100% since I got it and the wire doesn't bother me at all. I read a few reviews citing problems with the letters being hard to read, the keys being noisy, and general hook-up problems, but I've had no problems. I would have to agree that the letters are a bit difficult to read, but I rarely look at the keys while I type. The keys are about as loud as my laptop keys and have just the right amount of resistance for my taste. And it was simple plug-and-play.

It's also glorious to have a number pad again. I actually got a wireless keypad from Targus, which works beautifully, a few months ago. But now that I have this keyboard, my dad is currently using the keypad.

I only have two qualms with the keyboard.

The first is the Home, End, Page up, Page down, Insert, and Delete keys are in an awkward configuration. I'm both annoyed that I need to look at the keys each time to make sure I'm hitting the right one and afraid I'm going to get used to this configuration and accidentally use the wrong one on a typical keyboard.

The second is the angle of the keyboard. Its two very short feet don't create enough of an angle that is comfortable. I had a three-ring binder under it for a while and then folded some cardboard and taped it to the bottom. (The picture above is from when I was still using the three-ring binder.) Now it's the right angle, but I probably should get a wrist-resting cushion of sorts to prevent injury to my wrists.

Other than these two points, the keyboard is exactly what I wanted and for $10, I really can't complain.

California Christmas

Christmas is coming

The photo was taken the Monday after Thanksgiving. But I find it appropriate to post this now knowing that my friends in other parts of the world are dealing with weather much harsher than the almost 80 degree afternoons I've been experiencing.

With weather like this, we rely on decorations to get us into the holiday spirit. And I am thankful I'm in America where most places wait until after Thanksgiving to start playing the Christmas music. I once saw a Christmas tree set up before Halloween in Osaka.

A few more days until Christmas. I did some last minute shopping yesterday. Despite the heavy traffic and the obscenely long line to the register, it was a rather pleasant experience. Good customer service should never be underestimated.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Koro-kun

Koro-kun

It's the winter solstice, but I'm taking things back to summer. (^_^) I have yet to write about my time in Japan this August, so I'll be posting various random photos from my trip.

First off: Koro-kun, my grandmother's dog. He's been around for a long time now, but I still see him as a puppy. He's a rather clean dog and doesn't require regular bathing, but I give him a bath when I'm there. He only puts up a little bit of a fight and loves it when it's over.

I hope I have the chance to give him a bath next year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mochitsuki

Mochitsuki 2009

Yesterday was mochitsuki day at the church. The mochi is smushed up by machine, rather than the traditional way, but it's still a Japanese tradition that I'm glad to be a part of. Everyone works together to make a huge amount of mochi from which everyone takes home however much they paid for. The theme of the event has always been "No work, no mochi." Possibly everyone's favorite moment is when all mochi to be sold has been rolled into balls and two batches of mochi with grated daikon and soy sauce are made and shared by all participants.

I've been participating since I can remember, and while there were a few years in between when I was in Berkeley or Japan or Boston, I have over 20 years of mochi rolling under my belt, earning me a kind reputation of sorts. The sad part is that I've been the youngest by several years and I continue to be the youngest. This is a tradition that may slowly fade away. I suppose the fact that I'm starting to think this way is more proof that I am getting older.

But I'm sure it'll still be around for the next few years and that's a bit of a comfort. Mochitsuki always makes me feel like the end of the year is on its way.

The full set of photos can be found HERE.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fitness Pizza

Fitness Pizza

My dad loves Italian food, but because of his diet eating restaurant pizza is usually out of the question (sound familiar?). Fitness Pizza (site plays music when opened) in Yorba Linda serves healthy pizza, so it's my dad's favorite place for pizza. We hadn't gone in a while, so yesterday for dinner we had some delicious healthy pizza.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cranberry Orange Bread

Cranberry Orange Bread

I used a cranberry orange muffin mix to make a cranberry orange bread to go with the mikan marmalade I made a while back. Cheap, easy and yummy. No complaints from me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Birthday Dinner: Part 2

Tulsa Rib Company

Last week, we went out with family friends to celebrate a few birthdays, including my dad's. Destination: the Tulsa Rib Company in Orange. I can't eat ribs anywhere else because of this place. The meat just falls off the bone. And it isn't just the ribs! The Tulsa potatoes and the creamed corn are just as delicious. I always order the baby back ribs and look forward to taking home more than half of my plate to enjoy later.

If you're ever in Orange County, and aren't vegetarian, I highly recommend the place.

Mmmm, I'm getting hungry just writing about it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Program

Christmas Program

Went to a Christmas program on Saturday with my parents at a local church.
Nothing like Christmas songs to get you into the Christmas spirit.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ice

Ice!?

The rain did not stay for long and was gone by sundown.

But in the morning, my mother called me to the yard and there I saw the birdbath with a thin layer of ice. SoCal has an image of being forever warm, but it can get cold enough to freeze water on occasion.

Though I'm sure it completely melted by 10am.

Rain

Rain

Yesterday it rained for the first time this season.

I've always loved the rain. I loved playing inside during recess and lunch in elementary school. I love walking in the rain. I love the sound of raindrops on the roof, the sound of water going down the gutters, the sound of cars driving on rain-wet streets. I love the crisp feel of the air after the rain.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree Shopping

Today we went Christmas tree shopping and now have a splendid tree standing in our living room. Will be decorating sometime tomorrow. I think.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Lasagna

Dad's birthday lasagna

My dad loves Italian, but because of his low-fat diet, restaurant lasagna is often out of the question. Occasionally I make lasagna at home because that way I can choose all of the ingredients. But it takes a lot of time, so I only make it twice a year: Once on Father's Day and once on my dad's birthday

This past Tuesday was my dad's birthday, so I made lasagna. Normally I add vegetables and try different arrangements and substitutions, but this time I kept it simple. It turned out to be the best lasagna I've ever made. Simple sometimes really is best.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mikan on Parade

Mikan on parade

I just realized I talked about making marmalade with them, but I hadn't posted a picture of the mikan themselves.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Drag racing

Drag Race

On November 12, I went with my parents to the NHRA finals in Pomona. My parents are both NASCAR fans and occasionally watch other races. The Auto Club had vouchers for free tickets, so we went to the race.

The first thing that comes to mind is the sound. I'm glad I remembered my earplugs. There is no way that can be good for your ears.

Watching the crews set up the cars and the drivers warm up their tires, it's amazing to think they work so hard for a battle that lasts a few seconds. Very cool.

And thanks to the continuous function on my camera, I got a number of really nice shots. The Flickr set is HERE

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2009

Went to Bakersfield for Thanksgiving. Hung out with family, ate good food. Can I really ask for more? (^_^)

More photos in the Flickr set: here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mikan Marmalade

Mikan Marmalade

We have a mikan tree in the side yard. Every year we get a lot of mikan, which makes me very happy. Especially after 4 winters in the Enshu area.

One day I wondered if I could make marmalade out of mikan. Part of it has to do with growing up in Southern California, but I have very little exposure to homemade preserves. But after a winter in Boston, I got a bit curious about it and since we had a lot of mikan, I thought I'd try.

I looked up a recipe and spent the entire next day making marmalade for the first time in my life. While there were multiple times I was worried that I had ruined 1kg worth of mikan, it turned out all right and now there is a huge jar of mikan marmalade in the fridge.

Silly thing is, I'm not that partial to marmalade. (^_^;)

The full Flickr set can be found: HERE

Monday, November 23, 2009

Long time, no post. Again.

Apologies. It's not that I don't have anything to write about, I actually have a lot to write about. For this blog and it's Japanese counterpart, believe it or not, I like to put a bit of thought into entries before I write them. Unfortunately, if I think too much, something else catches my attention.

But, as my high school orchestra instructor used to say, "Excuses are the tools with which we build incompetence." I'll stop giving excuses and just post.

******

Chicago

Earlier this month, I ended up going to Las Vegas with my dad. He went to a car show; I was the driver. Rewind back to late June, my cell phone had issues just as I was coming back from the East coast. It had issues last year during a trip to Martha's Vineyard and recovered, but this was not to be the case this time.

I knew I needed to get a new one, but enjoyed the freedom of not being tied to a cell phone. Days, weeks, months went by. I probably would have kept enjoying my freedom, but I needed a cell if I was going to be picking up my dad from the convention center. So I bit the bullet, ordered a phone on Monday, it arrived on Tuesday, and we were off to Vegas Wednesday morning.

After much debate, I got a slide phone. I have always had a flip phone, but the flipping may have been a part of the problem of my last phone and I message more than I talk, so the Samsung Intensity fit the bill. And when the bill is free phone and free shipping, it can't really be beat.

I quite like it. Having a QWERTY keyboard is great. I was a bit weary about the color -Flamingo Red- but it's not bad at all. Plus it stands out more than my silver phones, which always managed to blend in and get lost easily.

I also took the opportunity to set up Twitpic for both me and Chicago. Even added a Twitter widget to the side of Chicago's blog. (^_^)v

You can see the excitement in his eyes about my new toy, can't you?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wedding


On June 20, 2009 one of my best friends from junior high got married in New York. It was very cool to be there. A great ceremony, a beautiful dress, delicious food, and new friends.

I also took advantage of going to the East Coast and dropped by Boston as well.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chicago-kun


My current biggest obsession is without a doubt Chicago.

I've taken I don't know how many photos of this cat; I have just under 1,500 uploaded onto Flickr. Wanting to do something with this insane number of photos, I started a blog for Chicago on a whim.

The Many Faces of Chicago.

A photo of Chicago is automatically posted every morning at 7am California time. I even went so far as to make MOO cards for his blog. I did this out of amusement, but they turned out to be quite popular and many of my friends are asking for more than one. Not that I mind, the faster I run out, the sooner I can make a new batch.

I know I'm pretty far gone, but I have no intentions of ever coming back.

Friday, September 18, 2009

July 7, 2009 Michael Jackson Memorial Service

The program, ticket and wristband.

On July 6, my cousin invited me to go with her to the Michael Jackson Memorial Service. While not being a Michael Jackson fan, I had a lot of respect for the influence he had on music and I really had no reason to say no, so I said yes.

By the luck of the draw, my cousin (who is also not a Michael Jackson fan, but had respect for the man) had not only gotten tickets, but had gotten third tier front row seats. Despite our worries of greif-striken fans and crazy LA traffic, getting there and leaving was surprisingly easy.

The ceremony itself was quite good. A celebration of his life. I admit it, I cried. How could I not? It was a memorial service. It was strange that the first time I ever saw Michael Jackson as a human being was at his memorial service. It would be the first and last time I was ever in the same building has him.

It's been over two months and while I'm still not what I would consider a fan, I think I'm finally starting to actually appreciate him as an entertainer. Maybe it's too late. Maybe it's never too late.

The photo set from this day can be found on Flickr here. They let us into the Staples Center with cameras so I took a shot of everyone who took the stage, but we were on the third tier so these are attempts to capture the atmosphere rather than good shots of celebrities.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

4 months since graduation

I know, I know. I've been a bad blogger. To be completely accurate, I've been an obsessive blogger, but just not on this blog.

A lot of stuff has happened and I have pictures for pretty much all of it. I'll try to post bits of it over the next week.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tsuchinoko


Chicago bears a striking resemblance to a Japanese mythical creature known as a tsuchinoko.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

At least this much

I know, I've been horrible with updating this blog. I still have intentions of keeping it going and all that, but for now:
Graduation

I've graduated and can now call myself a "librarian".

An unemployed librarian, but a librarian nonetheless. (^_^)v

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Since when is it the end of February?

The semester is a third of the way over and I'm just barely settling in. With snow days, holidays and professor sick days, I don't feel like I'm in class as much as I probably would otherwise.

To give a quick run-down of this semester's load:
QuinRose♪LIS 417: Subject Cataloging and Classification Which threatens to own my soul. Or at least start bargaining for it. But it's fun. There's also the comfort (or not as the case may be) of taking this with a professor I've had before. Knowing teaching style and personality makes it easier to jump into a subject. And after a few hours in the cataloging lab, I think this might be a bonding experience for those of us involved.

E-R DiagramLIS 458: Database Management Which I think I enjoy more than I should admit. The last class we started to draw E-R model diagrams and I was having a blast. I even started to imagine what else I could draw into E-R diagrams. I'm only having problems with the participation factor; I understand it, but it takes a while for me to figure out which side of the relationship diamond to draw the double line to indicate total participation. I'll shut up now. Another class with a professor I've had before, so again, really easy to jump into.

XML homeworkLIS 469: XML Which...um...yeah. I think I get it, but I'm not quite sure. It's all very abstract at the moment. The code part is hands-on, but the application of it and how this applies to real-word models is extremely abstract. Doesn't help that the XML level of experience and expertise is across the board in the class. We'll see. I still have hopes that I'll come out with something that will at least help me get a job.

Freedom Trail Open During ConstructionAlso, a good friend from my Hamamatsu days was visiting from London and we had a great (though cold) few days doing some sightseeing and hanging out in Boston.

It's hard to believe that I'm going to be graduating in May. I literally just got here. Part of me wishes I spent more time thinking through the possibilities for me in this field, but another part of me is pretty sure that I'll find what suits me.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Boots

New boots♪The rain boots I bought last year failed to survive through the rainy season and there is considerably a lot more snow this year. I was going to pick something up while I was home in SoCal, but the warm weather didn't put me in the mood for finding new boots. I got back to Boston with the intention of getting new boots as soon as possible.

A week later, I put off looking for new boots yet again. Then last night I heard that there was a snow/sleet/rain storm approaching and finally the urgency kicked in that I needed something that would keep my feet at least dry.

So first thing this morning, I walked through the falling snow to the REI at the Landmark Center with hopes of finding something. Just like buying a yukata in August, most of the winter boots were sold out a month ago, so styles and sizes were sparse. I was tempted in getting rain boots again, but after the last pair, I didn't want to walk around wondering when they would fail me. I was also tempted to get a pair of waterproof hiking shoes, but they were a bit expensive and as much as I love Death Valley and the like, I don't go that often.

New boots♪And then I tried on a pair of boots that just happened to be in my size. Perfect fit. Fluffy. Waterproof. And affordable. This was an easy decision. I bought them and wore them back to my room.

So far, so good. I looked up the company online. (Sorel. The style is Joan of Arctic. Cheesy name, but a cute boot.) It turns out that I can get replacement liners, which is cool. And the reviews on Amazon are great. We'll see how these work out.

Monday, January 26, 2009

To put it simply...

I left this behind in California...
SoCal




...to come back to this in Boston.

SNOW!!


Classes start tomorrow!

Friday, January 2, 2009