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I, Takeru

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[09 Mar 2011|11:11am]
I would like to update this more, but then I look at what I have to post and realize why I don't.

Like most people, I have made the switch from here to Twitter. Which, really, is kind of unfortunate. Although Twitter is much more immediate, I find it to be a frustrating medium for several reasons. First, it is a public forum where I feel constricted as to just what I can say. I could establish 12 Twitter accounts so that I can talk about what I want to without concern about talking about certain subjects in the open...but I feel that is really quite ridiculous. The ability to limit posts to select groups of people here is much better. Second, I can't really follow conversations on Twitter. An unfortunately large percentage of the Twitter population have private accounts; on LJ this doesn't matter, because replies to an entry are contained in the entry itself, not on the other person's LJ, but on Twitter it really makes things quite difficult. Then, of course, there is the 140 character problem. I can almost never fit my original thought into 140 characters, and have to spend a ridiculous amount of time instead editing my comment down, often to the point that much of the nuance of the original thought is lost.

Despite all that, the immediacy and the casual nature of Twitter have won out, and it is not hard to understand the appeal. Now that I have a smartphone, it is an easy way to casually keep in touch with what's going on throughout the day.

Anyway.

Life continues, virtually unchanged from a week or a month or a year ago. Taz and I have been together for over three years now. My job, though frustrating at times, remains generally kind of awesome. Work takes up a large chunk of my time, and school takes up the rest. I will be graduating from one school this semester, moving onto the next come fall. I have almost no time for outside interests right now, which is becoming increasingly frustrating (and contributes to this being a very boring entry), although this past weekend I did have a wonderful time celebrating my birthday (and simultaneously the birthday of another) with many friends at two different dinners out.
7 Things|Say things

[29 Dec 2010|11:33am]
[ mood | artistic ]

Having received a new camera for Christmas from my lovely boyfriend (one with such fancy features my previous camera lacked as real zoom and quite a bit more than 4 megapixels), I have started to take pictures again. A few of my images of the beautiful/awful New England winter below.

Taken on a beach on Cape Ann, Christmas DayCollapse )


Our deck, after the snowstorm blew throughCollapse )


A time-honored Boston tradition...Collapse )


This is supposed to be a two-way streetCollapse )

4 Things|Say things

41% of students go on to attend school at MIT, Stanford, or one of the eight Ivies [01 May 2010|10:12pm]
There is something so immensely wrong with this. I don't even know if I can put it into words.
5 Things|Say things

It's a secret to everybody [09 Mar 2010|07:55am]
Psst. I'm older today.
22 Things|Say things

[02 Mar 2010|11:30am]
I feel this should be spread:

"It had been my intention to eat a hamburger, as is so often the case, and while doing so the restaurant's televisor felt it was important that I know Tiger Woods was very sorry. Then some other people came on and talked for awhile about whether or not he had been sufficiently sorry, but the people wondering this weren't handsome young men, and they didn't really seem like they were the best in the world at anything, and frankly they seemed kind of angry that they weren't Tiger Woods." -Tycho
2 Things|Say things

Ask me things [07 Feb 2010|07:51am]
[ mood | chipper ]

I guess I just feel like doing what everyone else is doing lately:

http://www.formspring.me/RedBenjie

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An Example [19 Jan 2010|12:59pm]
Clarity trumps brevity.
4 Things|Say things

The staff of life [03 Jan 2010|03:40pm]
[ mood | hungry ]

My winter break from classes is about five weeks long. Besides offering a chance to recoup (somewhat, I still have work), it has allowed me to get back to one of my favorite activities: cooking. One of my big gifts for Christmas this year was Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I've already tried four recipes from it, which have turned out between very good and great (in case you're wondering, I've made scallops a la parisienne, beef bourguignon, soubise, and gratin of potatoes, sausage, and onions). I also had a chance to make one of my favorite breakfast dishes, an egg casserole with white wine and dry mustard. Taz and I have been experimenting with a few new toys for coffee as well, including a nice grinder and an espresso machine, plus some high quality beans my brother sent me from a local roaster.

I tried scrapple for the first time, and was completely surprised by just how much I liked it. The texture takes a little getting used to, but the cornmeal flavor with that little bit of meat to it is just wonderful.

1 Thing|Say things

I'm a wild animal [19 Dec 2009|10:08am]
[ mood | restless ]

I am done with three out of four classes. I really hate this part, waiting for grades to come out. It's worse now that they put this stuff online, so you're always tempted to check it.

I feel like I should talk about MFF and our trip to Chicago, but it just seems so long ago. The con was great fun, met a few new people and had a great time seeing locals, many of whom I have not seen in a long, long time. After several incredible meals at Tramonto's shared with Frosty, and also Skippy and Magnus, I'm a little sad that the convention is moving next year, though I understand why they need to. It's been so long since the event that I'm not going to go into a lot of detail, but I wanted to say something about it since it was a great con, and it was wonderful to see all those Chicago people and others from the Midwest area who I miss quite a lot.

After spending a day in Chicago with Magnus and Skippy (and seeing the still-excellent Lincoln Park Zoo), we went to stay with Jim and Dave for the last few days of our vacation. They were great hosts, and it was really nice to spend some extended time in their company. We got to do most of the things we had really wanted to do-- see Shedd Aquarium, visit Millennium Park, and just generally relax and enjoy being away from Boston for a little while.

Taz and I had a chance to see The Fantastic Mr. Fox last weekend, which I think is an amazing movie; the best animated movie in probably the last five years, and the best Wes Anderson has done since The Royal Tenenbaums.

1 Thing|Say things

[01 Nov 2009|03:10pm]
[ mood | confused ]

I'm not sure, maybe it's just that I haven't looked at a fun size candy bar in a while, but I think they are even less 'fun' than they used to be.

2 Things|Say things

Something, something, trophic cascades, I don't know. [18 Oct 2009|07:55pm]
[ mood | chipper ]

Proof that I am a big dumb furry:

I was given the choice to work on any "contemporary" topic for one of my classes. My paper is about the delisting of the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act. More specifically it is focused on hunting as a form of wildlife management in regards to wolves. Many people have said this is a great topic since I love wolves...but honestly, I don't. I mean, they're interesting animals, I like them fine, but I wouldn't say I am particularly fascinated when it comes to wolves. Or perhaps it is merely that because I know so many people who are so passionate about this particular animal, my interest in them seems quite limited.

Also on the topic of big dumb furry. I don't know if any of you have seen Penguins of Madagascar, but it is a fantastic show. I mean, it's not deep or anything (obviously), but it is extremely enjoyable and silly. And Mort is a sick hilarious pervert.

8 Things|Say things

City mouse in the bigger city [11 Oct 2009|11:06am]
[ mood | restless ]

I've had very little time lately for anything outside of either work or school. This shouldn't really be a surprise, I suppose, since I am full time at both. This past week was the beginning of the serious schoolwork; a lab practical, an exam, and an essay. I guess after I get them back this week (hopefully) I'll have a pretty good idea of how well I'm doing.

It's a little strange being back in school; I feel like I haven't taken it this seriously in a long, long time.

Last weekend was great for my sanity-- Taz and I went down to New York and hung out with Cargo and Axiom, who were fantastic hosts to us. We had an incredible breakfast at Shopsin's, a little place located inside the Essex Market, and the market itself was also awesome. They showed us their favorite coffee joint, which had some of the best espresso I've tasted. The Frick Museum was an interesting experience, partially for the art, but largely because of the property itself. Once a privately held mansion, it was like a window into another time. There was more great food, a lot of fun hanging out, and a viewing of The Informant. Beyond all the fun experiences, it was just awesome for the personality that the city has. This was the first time I'd ever spent much time in the city of New York, and it was different from anywhere I've ever been. The people were just...I can't even think of the word. I liked it.

I'm doing so much writing between work and school lately, it has really changed the way I see the process. Honestly, if I had not started writing for work, I am not sure if I would be as successful as I have been so far this semester in finishing and being happy with writing projects for school. It has given me an understanding of how to create something under a deadline, which basically comes down to not being too worried about the final product. It's the anxiety about quality that has made it so difficult in the past for me to successfully churn out the amount of work that is generally required in school settings.

I really wish I had the day off tomorrow.

3 Things|Say things

Chicago [02 Sep 2009|05:34pm]
[ mood | chipper ]

Attention Chicago readers: Right now, the plan is for Taz and I to be in the Chicago area for the week of the Thanksgiving holiday. We're still working out what exactly we're going to be doing, and so I'd like to inquire if anybody's going to be in the area on the holiday and available for doing things. So, yeah!

9 Things|Say things

I am tired [03 Aug 2009|07:23pm]
[ mood | exhausted ]

Taz and I went down to New Jersey this past weekend, and it was an interesting experience. We first hung out with a couple of his friends, crashing at their place overnight and grabbing breakfast with them, plus playing some mini golf. Some days it seems to me that mini golf is harder than real, actual golf, and this was just such an occasion. It was fun to hang out with a couple of Taz's friends, though.

We had plans to get together with some furry types for a meet at a local beach, but that fell through as the beach was closed. It was a lot of driving for the fact that we ended up only hanging around a mall for an hour or two, but that's OK.

To finish off the trip, we went up to NYC for a few hours with another one of Taz's friends. That was pretty awesome. We got to walk through Times Square, ride on the NY Subway, all that touristy stuff. Normally I don't like standing out as a tourist, but I was pretty OK with it on this occasion. It's actually the first time I've walked around in NYC at all. Also, driving in the city: not as difficult as most people claim.

All in all, a very quick trip (we arrived in the city at 11:00 Friday and were getting on a bus at the same time Saturday) but I had a lot of fun.

In other news, I am pretty tired. I blame this stupid eye infection.

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You scream [30 Jul 2009|09:14pm]
[ mood | curious ]

Having lived in the Northern Midwest most of my life, there are things that I assumed to be universal (or at least national) and am only now realizing are actually part of the local culture there. I would like to take an informal poll on one of these matters, and so now I'm asking: have you ever heard of Blue Moon ice cream? How about Superman ice cream?

23 Things|Say things

World's Biggest Q & A Session [21 Jul 2009|04:16pm]
[ mood | determined ]

"Art is like medicine-- it can heal. Yet I've always been amazed at how many people believe in medicine but don't believe in art, without questioning either." -- Damien Hirst

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Book review [16 Jul 2009|08:05pm]
For various personal reasons, I've decided to start doing book reviews here.

Poppy Z. Brite's "Liquor"

Once a leading figure in the horror fiction genre, Brite has begun a second career writing novels and stories about the restaurant industry. "Liquor" is the real starting point in this series, and the second of her non-horror books I've read. I first read "D*U*C*K*" and, although her writing style and characterization remained fantastic, I was very disappointed. I forgave that book for its mostly plot-oriented issues because it was her first post-Katrina effort (she is a New Orleans resident and was one of the first to return to the city after the evacuation). Having now read "Liquor," I can no longer forgive that offense.

"Liquor" follows the story of two New Orleans line cooks and homosexual partners with a dream of opening their own restaurant. The characters are fully-fleshed and believable, and her celebrity chef stand-in for Emeril Lagasse may even have made me hate the real life individual less. The villain character, Mike, is perhaps a bit one-sided, but it isn't for lack of Brite's trying to give him a personality. The real sin of the book is in the plot's third act. Midway, we see our villain playing around with a gun in what is perhaps a bit too much foreshadowing for its own good. The character and surrounding plot-point pretend to relieve themselves at the book's end, bringing the tension down just before the big finale. In essence, the plot falls flat because it is merely one character's cocaine-inspired hate fantasy, and the main characters remain largely unflappable and unaware right up until the grand finale, which is therefore without much tension or excitement.

It seems to me that Brite is more interested in discussing the inner workings of kitchen staff than writing an intriguing tale, which would be OK if only the restaurant material was the focus of the book. Maybe this pseudo-plot, which is full of murder and drug use, is the after affect of a career writing horror novels, and the later books in the series improve in this particular department. I may check out one more of them to find out, but if it features an end that's as disappointing as "Liquor," I may be done with her non-horror titles.

Stay tuned for the next installment, in which I review Bruce Campbell's "If Chins Could Kill."
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How I Spent My Summer Vacation, By Benjie, Grade 3 [07 Jul 2009|07:18pm]
[ mood | jubilant ]

And so here is my con report.

Getting to Anthrocon was frustrating. Due to a number of factors, Taz and I were waiting in the airport for 8 hours. As a result, Thursday was basically a wash. We got some mediocre subs and saw Lorefox and his boy Zhayde there. Despite having stayed at the Westin the last two years, I forgot how weird the beds are; I can't feel when Taz moves or gets out of bed on them, so occasionally I would think there was a third person in the room when I'd see him walking around in the dark. This phenomenon probably also had something to do with how tired I was throughout the weekend.

Friday morning we ate at Steel City Diner where I had what was, without a doubt, the worst omelet of its generation I have ever eaten. Taz wisely ordered pancakes, which were delicious. They had some good coffee, too, but we never went back. I got a chance to see Perro, Wolphy (I had seen him the night before, but he was wearing his fancy fursuit at the time), and Pawz who were all around the convention center before dealer's den opened. Afterwards I did my staffly duties in the artist's alley, then ate lunch at Fernando's with Taz. At some point I saw Cyan and Sprout, two of my old furry friends who apparently now live very close to my old Rogers Park apartment. We had dinner with Skippy and Magnus at the hotel restaurant, then watched Kage be amusing on a stage. After that, we basically just hung around the lobby with Kit, Royce, and Vish.

Saturday I spent some time with Pawz and his crew of people for lunch, then went and hung out with him alone for awhile, which was nice. At some point I spun around the dealer's den and saw that basically nothing was worth buying. We went to Sonoma Grille for dinner, which was the best meal we had over the length of the convention. We watched the fireworks that night, it was actually kind of cute with various furs singing the Star Spangled Banner and other such Americana.

We ate at Fernando's for lunch again on Sunday, this time with Pasha and Sirrah. It was incredibly great to see them again, and it made me miss Michigan a little bit. I went to the staff dinner that night, which I am very glad I did. Taz and I stopped in at a couple room parties that night, but he didn't know anybody at them really and we didn't stick around long. We did get to see Cargo do his DJ thing, and although I've left them out until now, we actually had some of our best times at AC this year while hanging out with Cargo and Axiom. We went home very early on Monday and were zombie-esque throughout the day. I'm still exhausted, but Taz seems to have recovered. Overall, it was probably the best con I've been to in a long time.

The End.

If I didn't mention you here despite seeing you at the convention, well, don't take it all personal-like.

17 Things|Say things

[02 May 2009|07:59pm]
[ mood | content ]

Life continues to go well. My job has changed a bit, and now much of my day is spent writing for my company's website. I just purchased an iPod (my first, the 120 gig classic, purchased direct from the Apple Store), putting me up to date with where everybody else was ten years ago. I don't make a lot of big purchases, and I'd been planning this one since January. I'm glad to finally have it. It's going to take a while to load my CD collection onto this thing, though.

Between that and today, it has been a great weekend. The boyfriend and I spent the day walking through Boston, enjoying the good weather and looking at possible future residences. The city has opened up a nice patch of grass in Copley Square in front of the library, too.

This winter was way too long. Personally, I blame Boston.

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Auto? Mobile? [24 Jan 2009|09:01pm]
A few months back, Taz and I joined Zipcar in order to get a car for Furfright, and since then I have been driving a bit more than I otherwise would, and trying out numerous different vehicles. For Furfright, I got us a Honda Civic, because I remembered previously driving what I thought was a Civic hybrid from Chicago to Philly and absolutely loving it. In driving the Civic down to FF, however, I realized that either it was a different type of vehicle that I drove to Philly, or the design of the Civic has changed over the years, because it was a cramped, unpleasant vehicle for driving all around.

In general, I have found that this is a big part of my driving experience: Vehicles that I like before I try driving them tend to be the ones I really find very unpleasant to drive, and the ones that I dislike before trying seem to be the most pleasant to drive. For driving with minor chores, we usually get the unattractive but very effective Toyota Matrix. It handles great in everything but snow, and even in horrible weather it got the job done without any heart-stopping moments. The ultimate surprise, however, was when I used a Honda Element to bring home our new mattress and box spring a few months back. I still maintain that this is an ugly, ugly vehicle. But, it drives like nothing else, just perfect for what I like. In fact, I have found that the more "truck-like" a vehicle handles, the more pleasant I find it to drive. It's funny, back when I hardly found cause to drive at all, I thought I might one day purchase a Mini Cooper. Now, I think it's more likely I'll end up driving a pick-up, should I ever bother to purchase a car.
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