Saturday, March 25, 2006

Back from the Tournament

Cherry blossoms on their way. Currently about 33% open. Most trees are still covered with tightly closed pink or red buds, but here or there is a tree that instead looks as if it was hit by a light, pink snowfall. There is also a trio of bright white magnolia trees outside the high school I pass on my way to work, now in full bloom. My plum tree has tiny green leaves just beginning to come out. The strawberry plants are doing less well. An insect ate most of the one good berry I had coming to me. Ah well, at least I still have my bread.

Last Tuesday was a holiday (Vernal Equinox) here, and I celebrated by buying a bread baking pan and some whole wheat flour. Much better than baking in the casserole dish I was using before. Still, the loaf pan just barely fits in my tiny oven. I walked back from Shinjuku with one roommate, and we stopped in at many stores, buying Indian cooking supplies along the way. Lentil curry with chapati for dinner. Yum.

Haven't had a chance to update my photos from the ultimate frisbee tournament last weekend. All in all, the games went ok. We went 1 and 1 the first day, then lost both the second day. Many of my teammates were up quite late drinking heavily on Saturday night (while I slept) and that was a major factor contributing to our losses on Sunday. To add injury to insult, after the last game finished, tournament officials came over to ask that we contact the inn to compensate them for damage to the room. I'm glad I was staying in a different inn from everyone else and hence not involved.

Work continues on in the same vein. I've finished using the PEAR package Image_Graph to make graph images on the fly and have now begun using the distinctively named Calendar to generate dynamic calendars for the project pages. What's even better, I wrote my second Ajax. This one to redraw the calendars without having to reload the whole page.

I've totally fallen for this technology. I can't remember being excited about coding in a while. On the other hand, I went to Junkudo in Ikebukuro to look at their excellent English computer book section but was disappointed to find only one Ajax book on the shelves. It looked quite useful, but at ¥7,000 (¥3,408 on, $25.19 on I had to pass it up. For comparison, none of the four Japanese language volumes on Ajax were more than ¥2,500.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Ajax & fresh baked bread

Nothing major to report. Lots of little tidbits instead.

First off, my project at work has been going well, even though it's two weeks behind schedule. I feel like I have most of it under control, and so when my manager asked me for a link that would either generate a CSV file or link to an existing one, I thought it would a good time to learn Ajax. After reading a couple webpages I put together my first basic function and it was almost as cool as the first time I used an Ajax app. Javascript it such a pain to work with, but the wow factor of the asynchronous loading makes it worth it. No going back to "web 1.0" now. Any web programmers reading this who haven't bothered to get into it yet—it's not hard at all. I know you'll love it too.

I've also started doing a little baking in my littler oven/microwave/toaster that I bought used off some Australian guy through the classifieds for about US$25. Naturally our apartment didn't come with an oven, although it did include a stove. I won't be making any pizzas in my standalone oven, but it's fun and satisfying just to be baking again. It's been awhile.

Jeff bought a PS2, which I might have mentioned before. I picked up a copy of Katamari Damashii, a game I'd been reading so much about. The praise is well merited, mainly due to the innovative gameplay. I have to wonder though, so many of the objects in the game are distinctly Japanese— did anyone outside of Japan know what they were rolling up? Perhaps it's not that important.

Lastly, I'm looking forward to next weekend when my ultimate team, Fukahire (prounounced "fook-ah-hee-ray", Japanese for "shark fin") travels to the Dream Cup tournament in Shizuoka prefecture. I was also there two years ago. Lots of fun. I just hope the warm weather holds out. Pictures from that event will definitely be forthcoming.

Now I'm going back to munching on some freshly baked bread. See ya.