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The iPad came out in Japan this weekend, so when I was at Yodobashi near my house earlier today I checked it out. It is nice, but 500 bucks for a 16GB model or like $700 for the 64GB? You’ve got to be kidding me.  Probably not anything I’ll be able to afford in the near future.  I think I’d rather spend $100 on the iPad I blogged about last night.  Of course the real iPad has a nice interface and all, but it’s so pricey!  The store display model was connected to wi-fi to let you try it out, so we checked out how sites like IUSTV.com and SarahJessicaParkerLooksLikeAHorse.com would look.  Pretty much just like on a computer, but with touching and horizontal/vertical flipping.

アイパッド  Kieran Farr interview on the iPad

We also tried YouTube and watched the IES Train Introduction Video and NR7000 doing his anime dance.  Ah technology.

Goodbye Ashton

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Went to check out Ashton yesterday. After a few years of the usual campus politics and paperwork, they finally got to tearing the place down. Here are some demolition pictures of the old IUSTV office. Also notice that people had already broken into the demolition area to graffiti the walls. Here are some pictures; I’ll try and note what part of the former office you’re looking at, for any IUSTV-related people reading this. These pictures weren’t necessarily taken by me, since I would never trespass into a dangerous demolition zone…

If you were standing in the conference room looking towards the control room:
conference room

If you looked towards the exec cubicles and front windows (yes, there is no wall):
cubicles

“Mr. B” is standing in the conference room where the TV was:
Mr. B

“Mr. A” is standing where the old bathroom used to be. That smell is finally gone!

Who knows how many hours I spent in this building over the past few years. Goodbye old office.

Holding down the B button

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I don’t know exactly how to describe my current state of being, although it could be likened to the end of a Mario level where the music starts speeding up, yet you’re only at the beginning of the stage because you accidentally got up to use the can and forgot to press pause. It’s a feeling of realizing time is quickly running out, you still have a lot to do, and while you’re pretty sure you’ll get to the flagpole, you wish you had more time on the clock to enjoy the level. That sounds about right. I realized this past weekend that I now have less than 2 weeks in Bloomington. It’s not like before where I have to go back to St. Louis for a weekend, only to return to my apartment to lay on the futon and watch TV for hours on end. I literally have less than 2 weeks to have all my stuff packed into boxes ready to be hauled off. Then after that, I have less than 48 hours to pack up my stuff to head to Tokyo for 2 weeks of hanging out in the baby aisles of Japanese department stores. I’ll be honest, I don’t really want to leave Bloomington, at least not just yet.

But I must!

It feels kind of strange to be getting ready to leave Bloomington, because I’ve been here for roughly 4 years and have gotten used to living here. I’ve gotten comfortable to things here. College was a good few years; I feel like I got a good deal accomplished while finishing up my schoolwork, and also met a ton of people along the way. A small percentage of these people that are friends, I’ll be in touch with probably until I’m old and grey, but aside from that there are a lot of people I’ll never talk to ever again. But that’s like anytime you move on from something. I guess the closest I’ve ever had to this was leaving high school life behind to come to college, and then on a smaller scale, leaving Japan after living there for a semester at IES. It’s not like I’m feeling all sappy or anything stupid like that, because I’m really not, but it’s definitely weird to be moving on to the next stage of life. Working a real full-time job, leaving the country for a while to work said job and whatever other jobs I end up working along the way, things are going to be different from here on out. I think you all understand, and I hope so, because I don’t know how else to describe it.

I have about a week and a half to pack up all my stuff, get ready to go to Japan for two weeks, wrap up my work at IUSTV, work on baby bottle research, and say goodbye to the people around Bloomington. I also feel like there are things around Bloomington that I should do just to say I did it, within the 4 years of being here, like going to the Upland Brewery, Oliver Winery, and maybe even going up to Indy for something other than the airport. There’s a chance I’ll come back to visit sometime in August, but that’s not for sure and even then it will just be a visit and not really a return to business as usual. From August 14-September 7 I’ll be packing and taking care of stuff back home, then off to Japan for probably more than a year. I need to get out of my recent summer routine of being really lazy and relaxed everyday, because there really is a decent amount to do. I’ll have some more deep thoughts like these as the next few weeks unfold.

Super Karate Monkey Death Car

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I’ve slacked off recently with my blogging, so here I go back with it. I’ve been in Bloomington for about two weeks, having spent the time before that back in St. Louis. I have the summer job/internship with Handi-Craft Company, translating websites and doing research for them. I’ll be going on a two-week business trip to Tokyo at the very beginning of August, which should be really interesting. You forget how bad your foreign language skills are when you haven’t actively used them in almost a year, and then get back into the practice of scavenging the internet for information on baby bottles, plastics, and retail distribution. The main enemy of course, for Japanese at least, is kanji, which to those of you who don’t know (you all actually do, I think), is like trying to decipher hieroglyphics only kanji are about a million times harder. My work vocabulary includes fun words that I can barely read or pronounce in English, let alone Japanese. Some examples include linguistic gems such as bisphenol-A, polycarbonide, polyethersulfone, and of course nipple.

Outside of working on researching baby bottle stuff, this past week seems like IUSTV is making a comeback, at least on my Outlook calendar. Had 5 IUSTV-related meetings or engagements from Monday through Thursday, which is light compared to what I used to do, but it’s still hard to believe I won’t be doing this for much longer. I think subconsciously I just like keeping myself busy (yes, I consider watching TV and surfing the web being busy), because I can’t think of too much time when I’ve had absolutely nothing to do. Even when I was getting bored at the beginning of summer, I went and picked up this baby bottle gig.

I’ll be back in St. Louis this coming week to meet with my boss at Handi-Craft, and also to take back hopefully another full car load of my stuff, which over the past year or two in Bloomington has inflated to the “ridiculous” level. I’m going to try to sell off stuff on eBay and OneStart, but otherwise who knows. I know I’m going to end up with several boxes of stuff at my parents house either way. I have 1 month left in Bloomington, will be in Tokyo for those 2 weeks, then will be in St. Louis for about 3 weeks until September 7th when I leave for Japan to work the AEON job. I definitely have a better feeling/plan for what I’m doing the next few months, which I wouldn’t say at all back in April or so. Once I get to Japan, I’ll have to start thinking of more schemes so that I can make it big being as lazy as possible. For now, I’m going to watch some more News Radio season 4, which I actually purchased real DVDs of. You know a show is good when I’ll actually pay money for it. I figure just like the other discs of this series, I’ll watch these enough to make it worth it.

Can’t live without it

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I write this entry after finally getting back online. Insight, the local cable and internet provider, apparently decided that last night would be a fun time to go nuts and cut the internet on and off for my section of town (possible all of Bloomington?), meaning that I haven’t really had a stable online connection since last night at 6PM. They’re apparently upgrading and screwed up big time. I’m going to call and complain; this is ridiculous. I’m not in the best of moods.

It does make me realize, however, how important the internet is to everyday life. I mean seriously, especially with summer here, and me still being technically unemployed, a great deal of what I do is with the internet, and cutting it off is probably more of an inconvenience than the electricity going out. Please ignore the fact that to use the internet, you need electricity. I think you understand what I’m saying. It’s not even that I want to sit at my computer for hours on end surfing and reading pages and changing my Facebook picture every 10 minutes. What really gets annoying is the smaller things, the ones that you use the internet for because it’s convenient. I guess I might do this more than others, but the internet has clearly infiltrated most peoples daily lives and without it we cannot operate as we would most like to. Unless you’re Amish. I guess they’re stuck building barns and eating oatmeal.

E-mail is the first big one. Summer’s here and IUSTV has tamed down, so I don’t have the usual 2,929,084,903 (approximately) e-mails a day to wake up to, but e-mail in general is somewhat of an obsession of mine. Outlook is open all the time. When an e-mail comes, I will immediately get up off the sofa, only to be ever so slightly disappointed when it’s spam or something I don’t care about. Without the internet there, I always have that feeling of “what am I missing?” OK I realize that makes it sound like I have some kind of severe psychological issues, but it’s not that bad. Instant Messenger is another big one. Like most people between the ages of 16 and 25 (I’m just guessing), I use AIM to communicate with people probably more than I use the phone. And of course that means cell phone, because who uses land lines anymore? Not having AIM to communicate with the outside world means that you don’t know what’s going on, what people are doing, and sitting at the computer isn’t quite so entertaining without the flurry of beeps and boops that AIM provides.

Other minor things, for me at least, mean that a sudden internet failure just makes things less convenient. Watching TV even, which I have not paid for since last July (somehow I just plugged my cable in, and I got cable TV, although I only pay for the internet service), usually starts for me with a quick look at the Yahoo! TV Guide, so that I know what is on and what to watch. Note that 9 times out of 10, this means I will watch Cartoon Network or Food Network. Another thing that seems to stand out is just the general ease of information that the internet brings. I mean, if I’m sitting here wondering that the names of the 7 Koopa Kids were from Super Mario Bros. 3 and can’t remember offhand, it will literally take me 30 seconds to find the answer online. There’s no other way to do this, unless you have a really really brainy friend who sits there ready to answer trivia questions. But I met Donkey Lips, not Sponge.

Well that’s the end of this nerdy rant. The internet hasn’t cut out again yet, and hopefully it won’t anytime soon again. The computer was a great invention, but the internet made it 1000 times better.

ビバ・ロック

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I’m writing this blog entry from an airplane. I just finished up my first ever (and too short) stint in Las Vegas. To wrap up this scheme in general, since Pat and I are doing an independent study through the Journalism school, part of it was that it would be beneficial to go to the National Association of Broadcasters’ Conference, which just so happens to be held in Las Vegas. Sounds like an educational experience to me! J-school decided to support us, and sent us out there expenses paid. We stayed at Caesar’s Palace, which is the biggest hotel I’ve ever been in (mainly because it has like a mall, casinos, restaurants, and a bunch of nightclubs inside of it. We both flew out on Thursday night, and unfortunately I could only stay until this evening (Saturday) before commitments in Canada called me away. However, here is a post summarizing my trip to Vegas and all that fun stuff. Unfortunately, my original plans of waiting until Pat was so drunk he would willingly marry a hooker didn’t work out, which is a shame because that would have been the greatest story ever told.

First night in Vegas, go from the airport to the hotel/Palace. When you first get the Vegas, the airport seems the same as any other place, a bit ghetto even. As soon as our shuttle approached Las Vegas Boulevard (“The Strip”), it was Neon City. And you thought Tokyo was ridiculous. I think everything that could be made of lights and neon was done just that way, and they have giant video screens everywhere and every building has a theme pretty much. Think of it as a Japanese Love Hotel district on crack. On The Strip alone, and just of the ones I walked to/by/in, I saw a pyramid, the Arc d’Triumph, the Eifel Tower, a pirate ship, the rainforest, an Arabian castle, and of course Caesar’s Palace has its own Colosseum in which you can try and fight Sephiroth and then not win. Also of note is the hotel “Wynn,” named after rich-as-balls-and-not-shy-about-it Steve Wynn, who didn’t seem to have a specific theme to his new massive hotel, instead just trying to go with the theme “I have more money than your entire state does.” The Wynn is an enormous metallic black building with video screen surrounding it, the word “Wynn” written in giant gold letters on the side of it (seriously dude, we know you’re rich, you don’t have to put your name on everything), and also the backyard of the place is the famous 18-hole Sands golf course. Pretty much every decently-expensive hotel/casino on The Strip had a ridiculous theme, which was carried out moderately throughout the rest of the place.

We met up with Pat’s friends Neil and Josh when we were in line to check in, and also there was some Korean TV show taping a scene in the lobby of Caesar’s. I don’t know what show it was, but thank god Pe Yonjun wasn’t in it or I would probably be in jail for attempted murder right now. Anyway, I think the star of the show (or at least of this scene) was the only Korean guy in the shots, with a bunch of American extras and other minor characters. The crew had 3 huge and tall lights, a nice camera (possibly a HD), and 1 shotgun mic for the whole thing. The Korean guy might be some kind of famous man-idol, but he was definitely not a good actor. I think they only shot 2 scenes in the lobby; one of people walking through a gateway, and the other of the Korean guy coming up and confronting some white chick. It was supposed to be a serious scene or something, but the guy kept cracking up every time. I seriously think it took them like 10 takes to actually get the guy to make it through without breaking character. After what seemed to be a very long check in process, I went up to my room in the Roman Tower. Wow. This room was amazing (I’ll post some pics later). It had a HUGE bathroom with 2 sinks, a shower area, a toilet area, and frosted glass doors for each of these sections. Then the actual sleeping area of the room had a giant king sized bed with a mirror above it (OK this was kind of sketch), 2 easy chairs, a nice wardrobe that had the TV in it, and a freaking Jacuzzi about 6 feet from the bed. It was in the bedroom. Who the heck does that? I seriously felt like I was in a love hotel at that point. I also had a huge window view with a non-accessible patio that had a nice view of the Strip, and a direct view at the Flamingo casino. I was so paranoid about how awesome the room was, that I called the front desk to make sure they were charging me what they said there were. Sure enough, it was right. Pat says that his room (that him and his 2 friends used) was pretty close, but they didn’t have the Jacuzzi in the bedroom. Hoo-ah!

First night out, we all were playing in the casinos downstairs. Mainly (and for the entire trip), I played video poker and some video slot machines. Didn’t really want to get ambitious, and didn’t want to lose a lot of money. Beginner’s luck must have been present though, since playing those video games the first night I won about $80. That helped fund pretty much the rest of the Vegas trip. We also walked all over the place that night, in fact way too much. We walked at least a few miles I’d say, although it was really cool to see what Vegas is all about. I felt either too young or too old to be there, but it’s a cool city regardless. The next morning, we woke up and checked out NAB. I unfortunately am already leaving before the conference exhibits start on Monday, which I’m really disappointed in (even more than missing out on gambling more), since everything looks pretty amazing. I did get to attend 2 days of the Post Production Conference, which was awesome because the first day I got to learn the basics to Flash and After Effects, 2 programs I’ve been meaning to get to. These were the “Boot Camp’ classes they provided; pretty much 3 hour lectures to teach you all the basics of certain programs. Really cool. I wish school were like that, actually teaching something interesting and practical. I went to a session this morning that was just talking about field shoot gadgets, which was really awesome also. I’m a huge nerd, but still a lot of the people there (professionals, I guess you would call most of them) are even bigger dorks, so I don’t feel that bad.

We went to “Dishes” the giant buffet at Treasure Island casino. I do have to admit, at first when I saw the $26 price, I was a little daunted, but it was well worth the cost. This was probably the biggest and best buffet I have ever seen, up there to compete with the Yakiniku buffet in Chicago (which I will write about sometime soon, in my Nova post). They had stations that each were like a mini-buffet in themselves. There was a sushi one, a pizza one, a BBQ one (with prime rib), a seafood (shrimp and crab legs) one, a made-to-order pasta one, salad one, and one that I think just had awesome side dishes. The food was all amazing, and I ate way too much. What was the killer, though, was the dessert section. These were gourmet desserts for sure. I had a chocolate mousse that was about 10000 times too sweet to eat on a regular basis. They also had cotton candy, crème brulee, ice cream, cupcakes, mini donuts, and a few other specialty cakes and stuff. Definitely the best desserts I’ve ever eaten. I think with those desserts, the 4 of us were all admittedly defeated. It was a long hike back to the Palace, but well worth it.

I really wish that NAB and the Mantech Conference that I’m going to work in Vancouver weren’t during the same week, since I would have been able to spend a few more days in Vegas. But I’m at least getting paid in Vancouver. Overall though, Vegas wasn’t too bad at all. With my casino winnings the first night, I was able to gamble, eat, and travel for a lot cheaper than my per diem payment that the J-school is going to be giving me. So overall, a net gain for Vegas! I’ll bet not everyone can say that, haha.

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