A major overhaul

As you probably can tell, I’ve done a serious overhaul of the blog. It has taken a ton of time and it is still not done. Features includes:

  • multiple sidebars with widgets
  • calendar for easy navigation
  • a customized header with random personally designed header art
  • categorization of photo content
  • new black border around images (don’t know if I like it or not)
  • all new fonts, colors, justification, and general layout attributes
  • I still have to do a number of things, like center all the images from 2008, and add the photo content categorization to entries with interesting photographs. I need to customize my favicon as well, but that will come over time.

    Let me know what you think. I have positive feelings about it. I really like the random header art. Just keep clicking refresh. More are queued to be edited as well.

    Thanks for reading!

    A little tweaking

    I felt like my blog looked very 1992. The header was flat, I was widget-less, and the format was generally boring. When I started the blog almost a year ago, I just wanted to get going and didn’t really think that much about the style.

    I recently updated my software, and it allowed me to update my template as well. I’ve spiced up the format a little bit by adding some sidebar content and creating a gradient in the big red blob. Still, there are things I’d like to change that I haven’t been able to yet. I’ll keep working on it though and see what happens. There may be a few more changes coming along – depending on how my practice blog works out.

    I liked the grayed out sidebar from before. What happened to that?

    Saying hello to Chris Martin

    As I said I had really good tickets to see Coldplay in Kobe. Two nights of general admission tickets. It is very interesting how they handle general admission here. Or I should say at least at these venues / concerts. You queue behind a flag that has your general admission number. We were numbers 4 and 5 for Saturday’s show, and numbers 49 and 50 for Sunday’s show. They call you by number and line you up and SLOWLY move you through bag check and then through ticketing. Security leads you in to the venue, all the while people maintaining two single file lines. Once you are in the venue they lead you on to the floor, still maintaining the single file line. Slowly you approach the barrier in front of the stage. About 2 meters before the barrier security basically yells something and then it is a free for all. I had asked Tomo what our strategy was the first night and just followed him. Obviously with the numbers 4 and 5 we got front center.

    The next night we had a bit of a communication breakdown. We agreed to go right, and then he darted left. Say what? He said he got caught up in the moment. Somehow in the midst of all that shuffle I ended up able to stand next to him on the barricade. Of course, more intimacy followed for the entire show.

    I was, as far as I could tell, the only white guy on the barriers. The first night, Chris bounced a drum mallet in to the pit. I tried to ask security for it but no luck. At the end of the show, I got a gaijin cameraman’s attention and he handed me the mallet. Happy Valentine’s Day Tomo! So Tomo now has a “touched by Chris Martin” concert souvenir. I don’t think the Japanese liked the white guy to white guy bonding moment. Sorry. The next night we were right by the cameraman, so we chatted him up for a little while. He was from LA so we shared some common LA stories.

    Here you can get an idea of the barrier and the edge of the stage. Pretty close, huh?

    The barrier


    Here’s a serious picture of Tomo and I at the concert, and the crush of humanity behind us.

    Tomo and Jon and the concert


    Chris moves around a lot, so I was only able to get a couple of non fuzzy pictures.

    An almost still Chris

    Grooving at the piano


    Finally, here is an idea of the stage. They had these cool projection balls that I really liked.

    Stage orbs

    The past tense of shave

    Tomo announced this morning as we were getting ready to go out that he had “just shoaved.” I learned that “shoaved” is the past tense of “shave.” I had a good laugh at that, knowing that it sort of made sense but could not come up with a rule that would make shave go to shoaved. Of course, we have the ride/rode combination. Compare that to the hide/hid combination. Or what about the make/made combination? Pay/paid? Write/wrote? Strike/struck? Yikes!

    I don’t know how anyone learns English. I can recall in my Japanese class that my fellow classmates wanted some rules to follow for certain patterns. Rules? RULES? Try learning English I bet. The only rule is the exception. Conjugation in Japanese is very easy – and except for one or two exceptions, rules are followed.

    I caught Coldplay again tonight. Again on the front row, and again violated. We had a good time. Pictures coming soon I hope.

    A taste of Spring

    I’m in Kobe this weekend, isolated around the port area and catching a couple of Coldplay shows here. We had great tickets last night (number 4 and 5 into the venue) so I was front row, center. SInce it was general admission though, there was much jockeying for space, pushing, etc. I felt violated and so did Tomo! I’ve been to some crazy, packed dance clubs in my younger days, but never have I become so familiar with those around me. I won’t get in to details, but it seems I should have at least learned the names of a few of the folks!

    That’s not the point of this note though. The weather this weekend is amazing. Spring is in the air – you can feel it. It is warmer here than in LA. Unfortunately, it is going to get cold this week with a prediction of snow. But the hint of Spring is really refreshing and I look forward to changing to a light jacket or shirt sleeves. Heck, I am even sort of looking forward to the dog days of summer, the buzzing of cicadas, the oppressive heat. I can wait though and savour the anticipation – for now I want to enjoy the winter a little bit more. As much as I complain about the chill in my apartment, I am really enjoying have seasons.