Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

A happy new year from Janne and Ritsuko!

2017, The Year of the Rooster

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Let's Self-Santa!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I just learned a useful new Japanese word this week: セルフサンタ or "self-Santa". That's the act of buying a Christmas present for yourself. What to self-Santa this year?

Fishing berth in central Naha.

We're going back to Osaka for the New Year holiday. And Osaka is chock-full of good used-camera stores. Camera phones suck, and I happen to have a very nice Minolta AF Macro 50mm lens from a "camera rescue". So one self-Santa idea is to get myself a small but capable digital camera. A second-hand M4/3 body such as the E-P5 would be small enough to bring every day, and I can get an adapter for the Minolta lens.

But I could also use a long lens around here. Okinawa is home to most US military bases (over 75%) in Japan. There's no lack of bad effects on the island of course — but it does mean lots of military aircraft and things to photograph. To do that you do need a long lens, so a used 300mm for my Pentax might be a good idea.

Choices, choices. I guess it mostly depends on what I manage to stumble onto while we're back in Osaka. Let the self-Santa begin!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Aaa, where'd the time go?! We only just moved here, and it's mid-December already?

What happened is a new place to live. And a fun job with much lower stress and much more free time. My job is interesting and endlessly varied — so far it's included creating an introductory class on GPU programming, doing cluster software maintenance, and helping users with issues ranging from "Matlab doesn't start" to "How do I speed up a TensorFlow network with a custom reinforcement learning component?"

Okinawa city park.

And when I come home at night I'm really free. There's no extra work for me to do — no papers to read, no code to write. For the first time in forever I'm able to sit down and spend an entire evening reading a novel or doing some software project without a nagging feeling I really should try to catch up on work instead.

For a long time I used this blog as a stress-relief valve. I could distract myself from work for a few minutes at a time by writing a post on something unrelated. I never even posted most of what I wrote; clearing my head was the point, really.

But I don't have all that much stress I need to to distract myself from these days. And, paradoxically, my new-found free time keeps me busy with other things. I need to rethink how I use this blog, in other words. Perhaps I can start writing more about work-related things and interests now. We'll see.

Gone Fishing