It's November so let's take a look at 2012!

777 days ago

If you don’t already have an account, I totally recommend getting one for Letterboxd and goodreads. Because of both websites, I was able to easily keep track of movies I’ve watched and books I’ve read in 2012. I just wish there was a similar website for music.

Movies
I didn’t set a goal for a minimum number of movies to watch this year and if I had, I would’ve said 24, or at least two movies per month. Here’s a list of movies I’ve watched in 2012 (the date is the day I watched it) via Letterboxd.

  • 1/05 – The Descendants
  • 1/26 – The Viral Factor
  • 3/23 – The Hunger Games
  • 4/22 – The Raid: Redemption
  • 5/04 – The Avengers
  • 5/11 – The Avengers
  • 5/13 – Daylight Savings
  • 5/20 – The Social Network
  • 6/09 – Battle Royale
  • 6/29 – Brave
  • 7/13 – The Amazing Spider-Man
  • 7/20 – The Dark Knight Rises
  • 7/20 – Batman Begins
  • 7/21 – The Dark Knight
  • 7/27 – The Dark Knight Rises
  • 7/29 – Jiro Dreams of Sushi
  • 8/03 – The Dark Knight Rises (in IMAX)
  • 8/12 – Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai
  • 9/27 – Thermae Romae (HIFF)
  • 10/04 – Looper
  • 10/14 – Karakara (HIFF)
  • 10/20 – Safety Not Guaranteed
  • 10/21 – The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki (HIFF)
  • 10/21 – Moonrise Kingdom
  • 11/02 – Wreck-It Ralph
  • 11/04 – The Last Ronin

Books
This list comes via goodreads where I’m part of the 2012 Reading Challenge with a goal reading 12 books. Lots of comics and as it was the end of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, there was a lot of Batman books. I still have two more books to go to reach my 12-book goal.

  • 2/02 – 1Q84
  • 2/24 – Swallowing the Earth
  • 3/09 – Lost at Sea
  • 4/16 – Pinball, 1973
  • 6/22 – Bulletproof Web Design: Improving Flexibility and Protecting Against Worst-Case Scenarios with XHTML and CSS
  • 8/11 – Batman: Year One
  • 9/09 – Batman: Knightfall, Vol. 1
  • 9/10 – Batman: The Killing Joke
  • 10/24 – Ichiro on Ichiro
  • 11/01 – Batman: The Long Halloween

Music
This was a bit harder to do without a website that kept track of everything. So, I had to create a smart playlist in iTunes for albums with a 2012 release date. Here’s what I found.

  • Aki Akane’s Boroborona Ikizama (Standard Version)
  • Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra’s Theatre Is Evil
  • Benjamin Gibbard’s Former Lives
  • Dinosaur Jr.‘s I Bet On Sky
  • Erik Blood’s Touch Screens
  • Goh Nakamura’s Motion From The Music Picture
  • Grand Hallway’s Live at Neumos
  • Wreck-It Ralph soundtrack
  • James Iha’s Look to the Sky
  • Lee Ranaldo’s Between the Times & the Tides (Bonus Track Version)
  • livetune’s Transfer – EP
  • My Bloody Valentine’s EP’s 1988-1991 (Re-mastered by Kevin Shields)
  • Neil Halstead’s Palindrome Hunches
  • Now, Now’s Threads
  • Perfume’s JPN
  • Perfume’s Perfume Global Compilation “Love the World”
  • Ringo Deathstarr’s Mauve (Bonus Track)
  • Skylar Grey’s The Buried Sessions of Skylar Grey – Single
  • Sleigh Bells’ Reign of Terror
  • Toru Yonaha’s Ryukyu Succession – Dance Rhythms from Okinawa –
  • Trailer Trash Tracys’ Ester

Richie Yamashiroya

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Revisiting old posts

777 days ago

It’s been 324 days since my last post here. Wow. So, since I’m back, I’ve decided it would be a good idea to revisit and update my old posts.

  • Ala Moana Apple Store renovation from 7/4/11 – The renovation ended, they reopened and gave free t-shirts (I worked on that day so missed it).
  • Richie plays Okinawan music again from 7/17/11 – This, funny as it’ll sound, was the last time I played Okinawan music. Totally skipped playing this year.
  • My desert island picks from 7/17/11 – I’ll return to this with a new post.
  • Getting rid of messaging from 7/17/11 – I did it. I got rid of messaging and it’s working. Most of my family and friends either own an iOS device (iPhone, iPad) or if they’re on Android, are on Facebook Messenger. Of course, I still get texts every once in a while but because they’re few and far between, it’s still far less expensive than having the carrier’s texting plan.
  • Getting back in shape from 9/23/11 – I go running/walking for about 2.5 to 3 miles twice every week and go for a short walk (about half a mile) five days a week. So, I should do better. I’m hoping going high tech with the Fitbit One and a few apps will help. Haven’t been in kendo shape for awhile. I give a lot of credit to the guys/gals who turn up for practice every week. For me, at the end of my workday, I’m totally beat.
  • Let’s talk iPhone from 10/7/11 – And I now own an iPhone 5. ‘Nuff said?
  • Coffee evolution from 12/16/11 – I’ve since been a religious user of the AeroPress. The coffee it makes is just as good (maybe slightly superior?) to the nel-drip. And, it’s so easy to clean! The nel-drip takes a lot of time preparing and cleaning compared to the AeroPress.
Richie Yamashiroya

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Coffee evolution

1101 days ago

I remember my first taste of coffee was during high school and the cup was filled with a lot of cream and sugar—very sweet stuff. Scratch that, I think my first taste of coffee happened much earlier when visiting my grandparents in Okinawa. It was probably Pokka canned coffee (which is pretty sweet) and can be bought hot in the many vending machines that I’d find along the street. I think due to that being my first taste of coffee, when I encountered it in high school—albeit from a coffee maker, not canned stuff—it seemed only natural that I’d try to make it match that sweetness.

As I kept drinking coffee through the years and went from buying it at a restaurant or shop to making it on my own, I found that there was less cream and sugar in the cup until finally I ended up drinking it black. (Note: I still drink flavored coffee from time to time if I go to Starbucks or similar coffee shops and canned coffee when in Japan.) I’ve been drinking my coffee black for quite a few years now and I must admit that I often frown upon people (not so much at kids but rather, at adults) who drink it with cream and sugar. For me, the stronger (or bolder) the better.

Getting back to making my own coffee, I started off with a coffee maker which I thought made the best tasting coffee in the whole wide world. That is until I visited Japan and had amazing pour over coffee at a hotel in Okinawa. Funny thing is, the thought of making it that way wasn’t processed in my brain till much later—I thought all coffee could be made to taste that way regardless if by machine or manually by hand. On subsequent trips to Japan, the one thing I’d always try to do is stop by a local coffee shop (kissaten) and lo and behold, the coffee made was almost always the pour over type.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to experiment with different ways of making coffee. (Note: I’ve always tried to buy a little better coffee beans so that part of making coffee hasn’t been a problem.) The first thing I did was go from a coffee maker to a French press which I’ve been using the last couple of years. At first I thought I’d found coffee nirvana and have been quite happy with it but still, it wasn’t the taste I was looking for. So I continued looking and through a podcast called Build and Analyze with Marco Arment, I found out about the AeroPress. It’s been in my Amazon.com Wishlist for quite some time now and this year I decided to make it my Christmas present when something else caught my eye: the Drip Pot Woodneck by Hario. Something about it just registered in me. So, I bought a whole set consisting of Hario’s: V60 Drip Kettle, Coffee Mill Ceramic Slim, and their Drip Pot Woodneck.

I got the set in on Monday but waited until today to make coffee with it. The first time it came out rather weak but with my second pot, I got it where it tasted great—just like the taste I’ve had in Japan. I am happy. In the near future, I’m sure I’ll continue my experimentation (or evolution) starting with the AeroPress and I think I’ll also check out Chemex and maybe the Hario Coffee Dripper too.

Richie Yamashiroya

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Let's talk iPhone

1171 days ago

My iPhone history for what it’s worth.

I owned the first generation iPhone which was released on 6/29/07. It was an awesome device and it’s the design that still holds a sweet spot in my heart. I ended up giving that iPhone to my friend’s younger brother who went on to hack it to run on T-Mobile.

I then went on to upgrade to the 2nd generation iPhone 3G when it was released on 7/11/08. I skipped on the iPhone 3GS (6/8/09) with my next one being the iPhone 4 (6/24/10). Part of the reason, or maybe the main reason I skipped on the 3GS was because I was still in my 2-year contract (AT&T let their customers upgrade to the 3G without having to pay the higher, non-upgrade price) and to me, it wasn’t worth paying the higher price to upgrade. The iPhone 3G went to my friend’s older sister who took it to Canada.

With the iPhone 4S about to be released next week (10/14), I’m still on the fence as to whether I’ll be upgrading or not. For one thing, I won’t be able to upgrade now without paying the higher price (e.g. for the 64 GB model, it’ll be $649.00 versus its $399.00 price) unless I wait till after 11/25/11 which is when I’ll be eligible for the lower upgrade price.

Compared to the iPhone 3GS, I feel that the iPhone 4S is worth upgrading to with its faster A5 processor, upgraded camera, and now it’s available in a 64 GB model. But, I don’t feel the need to upgrade. I have a month to think it over but so far I’m leaning towards waiting for iPhone 5’s release next year. At least it’ll fall in line with what I’ve done to this point which is skipping the ‘S’ models. Oh, and I’ve always owned a black iPhone up to this point but I think my next one will be a white one.

Richie Yamashiroya

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Getting back in shape

1185 days ago

Today’s run was the first day of my goal to get back in shape. What triggered it? Well, I’ll be returning to kendo practice following about a year’s hiatus and although I’m not that badly out of shape, I feel that I need to condition myself… Wait, who am I kidding? Yes, I need to get back in shape especially since I’m returning to kendo. The last time I was in shape (i.e. to me means regularly exercising) was back in high school when I played baseball (go Tigers!) and, well, let’s say many years have passed since those glory days of swiping bases and fielding balls in centerfield. But I digress. I needed some kind of motivation, or some kind of coach to get me back into exercising. I walk about 0.8 km a day so it’s not like I’m not doing anything but I know to really get back into shape, I need to get my heart beating and, you know, the sweaty shirt and stuff. Where was I? Oh, so for today’s run I used an iOS app from felt tip inc. called Couch to 5k (or C25K and I’m using the Nike+ app to do that cool GPS thing) to help me along in this goal. Getting back to the run, man, it was tough. A bit over (or was it close?) to the halfway point, I felt like pausing the app to catch a breath — but didn’t do it. I felt if I did that, it would be considered cheating and no one wants to start the first day cheating, right? Make that I don’t want to cheat, never. So we’ll see how this goes. Kendo practice begins next week and it’ll be every Monday and Thursday. My next run using the app will be this Sunday (I’m taking a break tomorrow to let my muscles rest which I’ve read is a good thing to do). Wish me luck!

Richie Yamashiroya

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