This was certainly a year of ups and downs. I’ve lost some weight, then gained some back. I’ve lost some friends, managed to hold on to some, and gained some new ones. Blew a chance of getting an amazing job. Learned some extremely valuable lessons in the process. I’ll start the new year trying to replace myself with somebody else at work and looking for a new job. And another weigh loss attempt.
Have a happy and healthy New Year!
This decade left me very exhausted. I hope next year will finally be my annus mirabilis because I’m tired of making the anus joke. Happy New Year and Happy New Decade, everyone.
You can see the old New Year’s cards are here.
This was a tough fricking year. I spent it on call for application breakdowns, learning system administration, stressing out of my mind, hitting hard deadlines, missing soft ones, gaining 15 pounds, etc, etc.
I was stupid enough not to listen to my very smart friend and keeping my 401K in S&P 500 instead of in cash equivalent funds. I did have enough sense to sell it after Lehman Brothers shat the bed.
This was my first year of being 99% free of Microsoft Windows. Indeed, once you go Mac you don’t go back.
An interesting new web application that I worked on in my spare time should launch around February. I did waste a lot of my free time watching “my stories” (“The Wire”, “Mad Men”, “How It’s Made”, and other yuppie deligths), but I did not waste all of it. You’ll see.
In any case, I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
Man, this was a tough year. I haven’t blogged much and you haven’t commented much, so I guess we are even.
A lot of things happened. The little tree that I grew out of a pine cone from Rockefeller Center tree that was featured in 2006 card is growing fast. So does Natalie E. I grew 30-40 pounds or so. With a little help from the Joel I found a new job and left Rockefeller Center (you should really check out his job board). I am at World Trade Center 7 now. I am slowly but steadily switching to Linux. I am hoping that 2008 is going to be my annus mirabilis because this one was more anus than mirabilis.
Happy New Year!
You can see the old New Year’s cards are here.
Somehow, the less I write, the more readers I get. Or seem to get. At least, according to Feedburner.
To be honest with you, I lost some blogging motivation when I could not break the 800 reader barrier for such a long time. Also, not one reader left me a comment after my customary self-made New Year’s card. The one lonely comment is from someone to whom I bitterly complained about this terrible injustice and thus does not count.
Just in case you cared, the seeds that I harvested from the pine cone given to me by a kind Rockefeller Center security guard, spent some time in a fridge and were planted. Well, in fact, I misplaced the packet with most of them somewhere on my desk, but the few that were planted resulted in one baby Rockefeller Center tree.
“No news is good news” – that’s what one of the old Usenet newsreaders used to say when there weren’t any new articles to read in your subscriptions. Is that a coincidence that CNN, one of the two evil companies that employs Lord Vader himself as its mouthpiece, is so obsessed with violent, fiery death? Cartoonist Jeffery Rowland even felt that he needed a special new word coined for this phenomenon.
CNN.com is a news site that I frequently visit, mostly because the url is so much nicer than http://news.bbc.co.uk, which is superior in all regards to CNN. As far as news goes, I am mostly interested in what’s happening in five countries: the US, Russia, Ukraine, Turkmenistan, Israel and Japan. Why Turkmenistan? Because of the Great Serdar, of course. In any case, not many interesting things happen in Canada or the UK, and I could not care less for France, Germany and the rest of the Snootyland. Communist China and North Korea do not let out any interesting news and news from the entire African continent are usually too depressing.
What’s different in Japanese news? Well, first of all there’s a lot more sex-related news. American news are heavy on violence, but light on sex. MSN Mainichi Daily News are full of headlines very much in the spirit of one famous hacker’s “Dear Japanese People” posts.
Right now, the headlines are full of stories about a 57 year old fortune teller living with a “harem” of “about 10 women.” An older popular news story featured an embezzling accountant who spent stolen money on 17 mistresses.
Unhealthy Japanese obsession with schoolgirls is clearly present in the news: not a day goes by when there isn’t a schoolgirl sex-related article on Mainichi. Here’s a typical one:
It gets more complicated than that:
“The two 18-year-old, third-year high school girls, whose names are being withheld under the Juvenile Law, threatened on Dec. 29 to reveal that the 19-year-old private 1st class had sex with one of them unless he handed over 2 million yen, local police said.
They forced a 21-year-old lance corporal who was accompanying the private to withdraw 400,000 yen from an automatic teller machine at a convenience store in Sasebo and received the money from him.
The girls subsequently demanded 1.6 million yen from the GSDF soldiers. However, the soldiers consulted police, who arrested the two girls.
A fisherman and two other men were earlier arrested for giving the girls advice on how to extort money from the victim.”
Japanese news agencies are no stranger to violence. A particularly unsettling trend that I noticed is an abundance of stories about family violence in Japan: “Man stabbed parents because they wouldn’t drink his miso soup“, “Man arrested for leaving bed-ridden, elderly mother to die“, “Woman nabbed for fatally kicking boyfriend“. It gets weirder, too: “Jobless man sets fire to futon in house after mom refuses to buy him dolls.” Overall, all these stories feature jobless people.
Violent (“Homeless man stabs abusive youth in stomach“) and non-violent homeless people (“Homeless man can officially register a public park where he lives as his residence, a court has said“) are often in the news.
We all think about how safe life in Japan is, but according to the news that I see, if the jobless, the homeless and the US servicemen won’t get you, train crashes, heavy snow, natural gas or sticky rice cakes will: “4 die after train blown off tracks in Yamagata“, “Elderly woman trapped in heavy snow freezes to death“, “Natural gas kills mother and children at hot spring“, “4 Kanto residents choke to death on sticky rice cakes“.
All those people got killed in heavy snow, yet mount Fuji was missing it’s snow cap last year. Strange.
The conflict of Japanese whalers and Greenpeace activists gets a lot of coverage: for some reason I’ve never seen this picture of a Greenpeace dude nearly harpooned to death anywhere else.
Two Japan-specific stories that don’t get much play in the US news is the Livedoor scandal and the badly constructed “twin” condo buildings. The Livedoor news get funny sometimes: “Convenience store chain am/pm Japan has decided to pull an energy drink developed by former Livedoor President Takafumi Horie off its shelves because it doesn’t want to sell items associated with scandal-tainted people, it has been learned“.
New Year’s cards (“nengajo“) are apparently a very serious business in Japan. From what I understand, they are supposed to be delivered exactly on January 1st. There was a flurry of news items like “Feces in 2 mailboxes stain 140 New Year cards“, “Post office to redeliver New Year’s postcards that arrived too early“, “Post office in Osaka to deliver 35 New Year’s cards a year late“. Big whoop. By the way, while we are on the subject, check out Japanese New Year’s prints by master woodblock printmaker David Bull.
The headline writers for Mainichi are prone to using puns and old-fashioned American slang, although not always very smoothly: they really overuse the words “nab”, “pinch”, “clink” (prison). Sometimes it feels like you are reading an old detective story.
This quote also is kind of unsettling:
Foreign sex workers get dirty digging for Japanese roots: “Gentlemen may well prefer blondes, but Japan’s not-so-gentle men seem to, as well, sparking a rapid increase in the number of South American sex workers with more yam than Yamato running through their veins to claim Japanese heritage, according to Spa!”
“More yam than Yamato”? What the hell?
As you might have noticed, dear readers, my blogging frequency is not what it used to be or should be. It’s not that I have writer’s block – in my GTD project folder I have enough notes for several hundred posts. But with the time constraints that a new baby, a demanding day job and several Quadrant II projects put on me, I have trouble finding motivation to sit down and craft my posts.
Still, blogging in itself is a Quadrant II activity, and even though so far I failed to make any real-life friends with it or attain any career-related connections, there’s the question of monetary gain. Belieive it or not, but even a small blog like mine, with only about 1000 readers or so, makes me enough money to pay for the hosting fees, and then buy myself a significant New Year present. I am talking a rather nice and expensive lens kind of money. Over the time, I had some thoughts about online advertising, and today, in order to make up a little for my blogging hiatus, let me share them with you in the next post.