well, this blog post is a couple of days late, but i just want to blog a very happy birthday to my beautiful wife, Diana!
Happy birthday! May you have MANY more happy birthdays with myself, Ryan, and the kitties!
I thank God for blessing me with such an awesome wife.
Oh, and by counting the candles it looks like you're 5 years old? Congratulations!
well, this blog post is a couple of days late, but i just want to blog a very happy birthday to my beautiful wife, Diana!
you know, one of the quirky little benefits of having a child is the new lack of choice in waking hours. If little Ryan has a schedule of waking up at 6am, so do we.
How is this a benefit? Well I'm sure the picture gives it away... more time to make breakfast if I choose to! Pancakes are one of those yummy luxury breakfasts that I like making every now and then.
If only it was possible to get maple essence in Australia then I could make some really good maple syrup like my mom used to make (with brown sugar). Mmmmmmmmmm.
Ryan and I had a Simpsons moment today... kind of.
I'd just finished drying and dressing Ryan after his evening shower, and he was sucking his hand quite happily. I was just lying next to him watching him. Quite spontaneously, he popped his hand out of his mouth, turned his head to look at me and said:
OK. He actually said something more like 'ni!' but you can see how that sounded awfully close to me (the keen father)! Reminded me instantly of the episode of the Simpsons where Homer is trying to train Bart to say 'Daddy' and Bart chooses instead to call him 'Homer'. hehe
There's the obligatory reference to Monty Python and the 'Knights Who Say Ni!' skit as well, but I won't mention that.
so they all rolled over and one fell out...
Gosh, so many milestones in such a short time. A couple weeks ago we started Ryan on solids (if you can call oatmeal gruel a solid) and he's been happily wolfing that down with his milk meals. Then a few days ago we moved him to just 4 feeds a day, and he is pretty much sleeping 11 hours straight at night now. And... today... he started rolling over! Diana said he did it a few days ago, but I wasn't around, so as the official record keeper (aka blogger) I had to be around to see it. It certainly looks difficult, but the little man makes it around from his back to his belly and then smiles his head off. Rolling from front to back has only been seen once, but now we know he can do it, anyway.
Well, this pretty much means the change table is a dangerous thing now so we're gonna pack it away. Also, he's been rolling onto his belly in his sleep which he doesn't like and ends up crying. Life's tough when you're getting mobile.
As for the rest of my life: well, work is going great (love the environment and the people are fun to work with)... Diana is still a wonderful wife... and everything else seems to be on pause. By this I am referring to the fact that the lens I ordered for my camera 3 months ago still has no arrival date and my work laptop which was meant to be returned to me last Friday still hasn't been repaired/returned... which I guess means that my patience is being matured.
sleeping son, so cute //
we try to awaken you //
and you sweetly smile \\
-- takayama-haiku, 2006
(yes, i know, there's no seasonal word so its not strict haiku, and i'm using the fake formal 5-7-5... forgive me literary puritans!)
Yes, Ryan fell asleep during his feed a few days ago (nothing new) and when we tried to wake him up he just gave us this cute little smile and stayed asleep! What a cute little kid!
This morning Diana and I went stroller shopping again to look for a new 3-wheel stroller for Ryan. Diana did an awesome job negotiating and we walked away with a good deal! We got a Quinny Speedi SX, which will make my mom proud. Why? Because Quinny is a Dutch brand! Awesome. Of course, we would have been respecting Ryan's heritage with any other brand... cause every other brand is made in China (and he _is_ half Chinese!)!
Anyway, the Quinny looks like a good compromise in a lot of ways. It is semi-jogging capable, and yet also has some carrying capabilities and is ... um, reasonably light enough for Diana to put it in the back of the Civic... it looks cool and it was reasonably priced... if by reasonably priced you accept the fact that anything to do with children is insanely ridiculously overpriced.
I think the reason for this pricing issue is because people know that you secretly want the best of the best for your kid but often decide just to get the best you can afford that doesn't look like it is going to cause injury, death or bad morals in your kid. Perhaps the solution is for all parents to start acting like they really don't mind if their kid drinks from discarded tin cans and wears garbage bags for nappies... shops will suddenly begin to think that their market is gone and start lowering prices accordingly!
Oh, and last night I got a chance to hang out with my friends, Sam and Dave. Was good to hang out with 'the guys', eat pizza, drink coke, watch DVDs and emit gas. Not sure what the other guys did. haha haha ... hm, my 'delete' key isn't working... oops. Guys, if you read this... I'm joking about the gas! (or am I?)
This time of year the wildflowers are blooming, the grass is growing and being mown, the trees are mating and ... the allergies are going nuts.
Plus, CALM is doing those burn-offs or whatever, and as a result the whole city is covered in smog. I hate smog. It stuffs me up just as bad as pollen. Stupid CALM... can't we prevent bushfires in a more smoke-free way? *sigh*
In a moment of interesting serendipity, a post in the Utata group, a flickr group that I am a member of, directed me to a section from a book by C.S. Lewis (whose book, Miracles, I am currently reading) called The Great Divorce.
In this passage, a painter has found himself in Heaven, and confronted by its great beauty is wishing he could paint it:
'...I should like to paint this.'
'I shouldn't bother about that just at present if I were you.'
'Look here; isn't one going to be allowed to go on painting?'
'Looking comes first.'
'But I've had my look. I've seen just what I want to do. God!--I wish I'd thought of bringing my things with me!'
The Spirit shook his head, scattering light from his hair as he did so. 'That sort of thing's no good here,' he said.
'What do you mean?' said the Ghost.
'When you painted on earth--at least in your earlier days--it was because you caught glimpses of Heaven in the earthly landscape.The success of your painting was that it enabled others to see the glimpses too. But here you are having the thing itself. It is from here that the messages came. There is no good telling us about this country, for we see it already. In fact we see it better than you do.'
'Why, if you are interested in the country only for the sake of painting it, you'll never learn to see the country.'
'But that's just how a real artist is interested in the country.'
'No. You're forgetting,' said the Spirit. 'That was not how you began. Light itself was your first love: you loved paint only as a means of telling about light.'
What a poignant reminder that the beauty we see around us is just a fragment of what there really is... and that it is merely a reflection of a greater beauty. Now I love photography and I see beautiful things all around me (and rarely capture a portion of that in my photos) ... so I can relate to, and understand this passage so well!
Just for giggles, I thought I'd post up my settings for processing RAW photos in Adobe Lightroom when I import them from the camera (cause plain RAW is very flat, dull and boring out of my camera):
* white balance: auto (i tweak every photo for white balance later)
* saturation: +20 (percent, I guess)
* exposure: tweak manually until histogram touches the right-side
* contrast: +10 (percent, I suppose)
* sharpen: 25%
* noise reduction: 25
These settings seem to work best for me, and I then only need to tweak the white balance and exposure... then export to JPEG!
Note: Most of my shots are done indoors, with a bounced on-board flash, at ISO 800. Slightly different settings might work better for outdoor ISO 100/200 shots, but I take so few of them!
Today was my nephew, Carter's 4th birthday party. He had a great little party, with tons of kids and happy parents milling around... lots of fun had by all. And happy birthday to Carter! You're a really cute kid, with an awesome smile!
I took my camera, of course, and soon found myself roaming around taking pictures. And I realized that I actually put a fair amount of pressure on myself at family events... a pressure to produce good photos that capture the moment... every moment! Well, I'm not a good enough photographer to capture every moment with its inherent beauty, but I try and sometimes I capture moments with some of their beauty. Big gatherings are tough because, well, with so many people around it can be tempting to take pictures of the whole scene (wide angle)... which tends to lead to 'documentary' shots that do nothing (for me) except show who was there. A couple of these shots are great, but I find myself looking for more personal, emotive shots. Shots with just two or three people at most, with smiles, some kind of interaction, and an emotional attachment.
Well, looking for those kinds of photos you can sometimes be happy to just grab 1 or 2 from a whole day's shooting. Fortunately I managed a few more than that today. I really hope that the parents and friends enjoy looking at the photos. The kids were so cute, and I just had to be patient and pick my shots amidst the mayhem!
Perhaps, God willing, I will get better at this skill as I grow older. Maybe in 20 years I'll be ready to take photos at Ryan's wedding! Whoa!
This picture is of the massive video wall that we just installed at my work. The wall is basically a big projector screen lit from behind by 9 high-def projectors driven by 3 dual opteron servers acting as one big computer. The image on the screen is 7 web browsers displaying the full height of the google news webpage, side-by-side. A very cool way to read the news (7 times!)!
Anyway, I thought it was incredibly cool and thought I'd share.
Apparently I'm the world's greatest daddy. At least that is what the mug says! It must be true!
I actually got the mug for my birthday, but today it is just that little bit more meaningful.
So happy fathers day to my dad, who is a great man in his own right, and happy fathers day to all those other dads out there in Australia celebrating today as well.
And thanks to Our Father above, who thought of the idea in the first place.
what to report?
my new job is going very well. I enjoy it!
my little boy is growing rounder every day! he's very cute, although he has been a little quiet the past few days (not much 'talking').
my work macbook pro has been crashing frequently. i suspect either memory or motherboard. but it could be software, so I'm playing with different applications just to be sure.
um, that's it for now. I just wanted to share this great picture that Diana took!
So I turned 30 today, and for a change to mark the occasion I had a big party with a whole bunch of friends and family. Firstly, let me just say a HUGE thank you to Diana and her family and my family for their contributions in making this an AWESOME day. I had a great time, and I really enjoyed spending my birthday with so many friends and family, enjoying great food and conversation!
Everyone wanted to see Ryan, of course, and he got handed around as much as possible. He is a really popular kid! And, as I told everyone, he is a big kid too! 7.70kg - which, for his age is in the 94th percentile!!! Should I be disappointed that there are 6% of kids his age who are even bigger than he is?
Anyway, I'm a very happy guy, truly blessed (by God) and grateful for everything. Thanks to everyone for their awesome gifts (both useful and cool!).
Peace out. :)
Happy birthday to me!
Yay, I'm 30 today. Its a pretty big milestone, kinda like 27 and 28. hehe
I won't say anything more unless I'm forced to make a speech and need to keep all my good lines for that. However, I will say that I thank God for these 30 years... and I thank my parents for doing such a great job. Love you guys!
Time for old people to go to bed. Peace out.
I figure since most of today's Western society is pantheistic, and I am a theist, that I can safely post this brilliant 'creed' written by British journalist Steve Turner:
The Atheists Creed
We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin.
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don't hurt anyone,
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.
We believe in sex before during
and after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy's OK
We believe that taboos are taboo.
We believe that everything's getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated.
You can prove anything with evidence.
We believe there's something in horoscopes,
UFO's and bent spoons;
Jesus was a good man just like Buddha Mohammed and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher although we think
his good morals were bad.
We believe that all religions are basically the same,
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of
creation sin heaven hell God and salvation.
We believe that after death comes The Nothing
because when you ask the dead what happens
they say Nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied,
then it's compulsory heaven for all
excepting perhaps Hitler, Stalin and Genghis Khan.
We believe in Masters and Johnson.
What's selected is average.
What's average is normal.
What's normal is good.
We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between
warfare and bloodshed.
Americans should beat their guns into tractors
and the Russians would be sure to follow.
We believe that man is essentially good.
It's only his behaviour that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.
We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust. History will alter.
We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.
We believe in the rejection of creeds.
"Chance" a post-script
If chance be the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky,
and when you hear
State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten!
Troops on Rampage!
Youths go Looting!
Bomb Blasts School!
It is but the sound of man worshiping his maker.
Well, little Ryan is growing up before our eyes.
Today I think he hit his rebellious teens. He has been crying and unsettled. I think I'll pretend it was something Diana ate. haha
So right now he's in his room sleeping to the sweet sounds of a simulated womb, while I sit outside with a headache and a brain that is pulsating to the beat of the same simulated womb.
But its all good, right? The kid is immeasurably cute (I can verify this... I tried measuring it and failed)... and... well, he's a gift from God.
I'm just going to quietly pretend that I'm not turning 30 in 18 days.
Moving on to a new job at a university producing webapps for genetics research. Yay! Start the new job on Aug 9.
Praise God for new opportunities! I'm grateful for the ones I've had here as well. I've had a good time working here, despite the occasional struggle... and the people I have worked with have been great. None of them read this and I'm still complementing them! Nice, huh?
It'll be awesome to be working so close to home, and with a group of talented people.
So now to find some humorous exploits to enact before I depart...
This little foot is part of my boy. Untainted, pure, soft and beautiful.
Wow, lucky I'm not an overly sentimental dad. Hah!
Overall its a cute look, and his nails are now safely hidden away for the next 4 to 6 weeks. He tried scratching the scratching post and slid right off! I feel safer letting him near Ryan now.
Maybe next time we'll buy him some pink or orange softpaws. haha
What a joy. Truly. It's so nice to be able to spend time with your wife and child (my wife and child, not yours, sorry).
So even though it was rainy and stormy outside, everything inside was fine and beautiful.
Praise God for the gift of Love. Let us not focus on the gift but the giver, eh?
Words cannot express the intense joy I felt in my heart.
Thank you, God, for this little boy you have given to us to love, teach, protect, discipline, comfort and cherish.
(if you're wondering how the image relates to this topic... I wanted a zoom lens this big in order to capture the detail of that first smile)
Um, seriously, the weirdest movie coming out this summer:
Snakes on a plane
And the internet is awash with buzz over this movie due to the extreme camp fun to be had on the title, subject and the fact that Samuel L Jackson signed on BECAUSE of the title.
What an ... interesting... world we live in.
Bounce flash, +5EV, ISO 800, Aperture Priority f 4.5
Originally uploaded by ntt.
Proof is here. CLICK!
I hope my photographic friends get something out of this. I'm no expert, but I just wanted to share what I have learnt.
Otherwise things are going well in the Takayama household (a member of the Takayama Household conglomerate). Ryan does sleep for 1.5hrs at a time quite well unless he has something bottled up... feedings are going OK, and the little kid is nearly back to his birth weight after only a week.
And, being a parent makes me realize how much we rely on God for even the little things. Thank God for our little baby and every moment we have with him!
I'm happy just to have the whole family under one roof.
Now to go read Ryan's blog.
Tomorrow he gets to go home with Diana and myself!
Of course, he won't have midwives tending him 24/7, and he won't have the nice climate controlled room... but at least he'll be home!
We're very excited. And a little scared. But it's all normal.
The morning went by quite smoothly. The afternoon became hectic, and now the evening is another chance to feed, cry and relax. And Ryan may do the same.
Oh, and for those of you who are wondering if we might have Ryan circumcised... no, we are Saving Ryan's Privates.
That was for the people who said I made bad jokes.
Well, if everything goes to plan, anyway. Our baby is due tomorrow.
I'm pretty excited... and anxious... and also wondering what's taking the bub so long. He's been in there 9 months and the suspense is palpable!!!
Congratulations though to Matt & Suzy, who welcomed their new boy into the world today. Thank God for your great blessing. Look after the little lad.
We praise God for his amazing blessing on their family, and pray for Him to always smile on them.
In turn, we eagerly await the arrival of our little child. Please pray for our baby!
I must say, even though I understand their marketing explanation for the new name of the Nintendo Revolution, I just don't think it is a good choice...
The funniest comment I've heard is that one guy will buy one when it comes out and then go 'wii, wii, wii all the way home'. lol. rofl. hahaha
I'm still waiting to see what the PS3 is like when it comes out. Maybe it will even have a method for stopping time so I have time to play it, what with a newborn baby around at the time! hehe
More importantly, I asked if the obstetrician wore gumboots when delivering babies. His answer: "For caesarians, yes. Otherwise it depends...". Fascinating, yes? As long as he doesn't also use barbecue tongs and a Dyson vacuum I'll accept pretty much anything I think. ☺ In other news, aren't banks annoying?
Me: "I want to collect a bond in my name"
Bank: "You need the letter"
Me: "I gave you the letter weeks ago, you told me to come back"
Bank: "Oh, well you could have done this from any branch"
Me: "I want to do it from _this_ branch _now_"
Bank: "Oh, OK I think I know how to do this..."
Yes, I drew this in the class. I was paying FULL attention.
BubbleShare... very Web2.0... but worth switching? I don't think it is ready yet. The uploader insists on uploading the full-size image which can be rather slow, and has almost no options. My flickr image uploader is much better featured...
However, the animations and captions on BubbleShare are kinda cute:
Praise God all is still well! We went to the obstetrician this morning and he told us everything is good. We're at the 35 week mark, leaving approximately 5 weeks to go before the baby is due. The baby appears to be healthy, Diana is healthy, and the baby's head is in a downward position which is good!
Spent the latter half of the day shopping for a chest of drawers to put the baby's clothes etc in and finally settled on one from Sam's favourite place... Ikea. :) Whilst there we almost bought a floor lamp (one of these cool dimmer ones with various colour filters for various moods), a wall light in the shape of a flower, some picture frames, a small table, a miscellaneous container and some other stuff. Man, that place has so many things that it is so easy to get distracted!
Oh, and the steaks were good. Diana loved it. In fact, I think she wants to go back! I had steak and ribs... I preferred the ribs. I've decided I must be some weird fast eater as I had finished my meal and everyone else was only half done. Of course, maybe I should talk more. Or maybe not. Oh, the decisions!
I think the food wins.
Good luck in the new job, Yen!
the visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, especially as rendered by a particular lens : a quick, visual survey of the foreground and background bokeh of a variety of lenses.
Attached photo is a weak sample. Very weak sample. View it larger to work out what I'm talking about. I have better samples somewhere, but this one was recent.
Didn't manage to take many good photos. A couple missed focus, a couple of odd facial expressions, and some boring crowd/scenery shots. I guess its like golf. Some days are good, others bad.
Had a great evening, nice dinner, and a chance to see Hannah again. She's a cute little kid. Sam and Ming are truly blessed!
Oh, and I did my wikipedia research... "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" wasn't originally a tune by Mozart... but he did do several variants on the tune. Oh well.
Anyway, most of the pics are on flickr. Check 'em out (click on the pic and click around)
Had to kill a cockroach this morning. He wanted my caramels.
PSP = good for watching episodes of Prison Break on. However, mental note: put episodes on PSP that I _haven't_ watched already. *d'ooh*
Calling this a virus is similar to :
"Hey, there's a new virus for the stapler you have. Its called superglue. Yeah, someone gives you the superglue and says that it is oil to make your stapler work better. If you don't think before applying it you could completely clog up your stapler!"
*sigh* Darn media blow out.
One day someone will write a real virus for OSX. Until then, its all superglue.
Diana's iron levels are a bit low. I love to say "I told you so" but I waited until we were out of the doctor's office. hehe
So we've taken the day off to spend time together. Oh, and I finally bought GT4 for my PS2.
It is 1:22am on Wednesday. What am I doing up? I'm "watching" MacWorld Expo 2006 unfold over in San Francisco.
There is no video feed though. So how am I "watching" it?
I'm reading as someone in the audience updates an IRC channel live via laptop and mobile phone... transcribing live as Steve Jobs talks. And I'm also monitoring another AIM chat group that has someone typing it up... their brother is inside the convention center and he is sending updates via bluetooth.
Oh, and I have a webpage updating with new data as well.
Ah, what a geeky world.
No big news yet ... must continue to watch!