Software developer, climber, and soon-to-be dad living in the Pacific Northwest. The blog is dead, but my web-based narcissism lives on over at Facebook.

We got married!

Yep, it all went beautifully. Betsy and I got married in Olympia on July 14. We and all our friends and family had a fantastic time.

Now we're in Ucluelet, BC, on our honeymoon, listening to two surfer chicks hit on the Welsh guy at the book/coffeeshop, then going to get some fish 'n chips. It's been raining a bit, but it's been a great time so far.

New website hosting

Ever since I wrote my own website back in college, it's run on a Linux webserver sitting next to my desk. Today I moved over to a hosting service, DreamHost, so I don't have to maintain it myself. They are carbon-neutral, which is pretty cool, too.

Green Web Hosting! This site hosted by DreamHost.

DreamHost Web Hosting

Condo photos

Matt asked for some photos of our new place, so here ya go (click "read more"). They were taken when the last tenant was still living there.

Betsy and Ralph's Wedding Website

We set up a little website for the Kluh/Bodenner wedding, with the date, time, directions, and accommodation suggestions. Our gift registries are also linked from the site. We're looking forward to seeing everyone there... Only 26 days to go!

Buying a condo

Betsy and I are making an offer today on a condo in Boulder! Exciting and scary. We're planning on remodeling it a bit while we're there, so if you're coming to the wedding, buy us Home Depot gift certificates ;)

Convenient train pass for Tokyo visitors

Visitors to Tokyo can buy a cheap train pass that gets them a ride on the Narita Express (NEX) plus a Suica card with ¥2000 of credit on it, all for ¥3500. That's more than a 50% discount on a one-way trip to most NEX destinations, which itself is pretty nice, but the best part is the Suica card.

The credit-card sized Suica device lets you pass easily through station gates by pressing it against a pad, which records your trip and deducts credit from your account. A big time-saver, eliminating the need to stop and buy individual tickets for Tokyo-area JR train and subway lines, and indispensible for a business traveler trying to get to places on time. You can even buy snacks using the card at some kiosks. Add more credit to the card by feeding cash into machines next to where you'd normally buy tickets.

Don't worry about leaving a few yen on the card when you fly out—it's good for 10 years after you last use it, so you can get right on the subway after you arrive on your next trip.

More info here:

Suicide in Japan

Recent newspaper articles have highlighted the rise of Internet suicide pacts in Japan, as well as in Korea. While I was working in Japan last week, there were two instances of people throwing themselves in front of trains near Yokohama. Two days out of five, JR lines out of Kannai station were shut down because of suicides.

Update: The incident Thursday was caused by a man falling off the platform at JR Kawasaki station.

Japan: Kawaguchiko to Yokohama

Didn't end up going up Fuji-san. Skis would have been nice to have. Instead, I went for a long walk on mostly paved sidewalk or gravel road, from the hostel toward a mountain called Mitsutoge. It was kind of a slog, so when I got to a bend underneath a power line tower, I asked a guy tromping around the hillside the way to Haha no shiratake, a waterfall that I somehow missed on the way up.

Instead of just pointing the way, he led me down a nice trail for a good 20 minutes, chatting a bit as we went. He was a fisherman who had filled his small cooler with trout and laughed when I insisted on throwing in a five yen piece at the two shrines we passed on the way down. The waterfall was nice, especially in contrast to the hot and boring road I'd been walking up.

By early afternoon, I was back at the hostel and looking for something to do. An Australian named Prue suggested the bat cave, which happened to be near a restored thatched-roof village at another nearby lake, Saiko. I got on the bus and one look convinced me that the bat cave was not what I was looking for. Plus I had already heard there are no actual bats. So I kept riding, on to Saiko iyashi no sato Nenba.

(Click "Read more" to continue...)

Japan: Narita to Kawaguchiko

I'm at a great youth hostel in a small town near Mt. Fuji, enjoying another pleasant early morning. Jet lag is getting me up to see the sunrise and I'm happy about it. One day left on the vacation portion of my trip, then I'll trundle back over to Yokohama for a work week. Today my sunrise was accompanied by a conference call, but my laptop is deliberately of reach for now.

I arrived Thursday evening and met Katsumi at Yokohama station, where we got caught up over udon and beer. We tried one hostel (booked) and a hotel (only triples) before settling on a basic business hotel near Sakuragicho station. The room was comfortable and had a view east to the water.

Friday morning I stuffed my pack and got on an early train toward Tokyo. I missed the rush, but the crowds were swelling when I reached Ginza and wandered toward the Tsukiji fish market. I spied a tour group of white guys with cameras just leaving what looked like a market, so I dodged the motorized carts careening around a warehouse just in time to see the end of a produce auction. I wasn't sure where the fish were at first, so I followed my nose. Soon enough, I was hip deep in sashimi.

(Click "read more" to continue...)

Fela Kuti

Been listening to Fela Kuti a lot lately. There's a good story about the African musician berating Paul McCartney after the Beatle went to Lagos, Nigeria in 1972 to record and, apparently, "steal the black man's music". My friend Doug, who introduced me to his music, describes Fela Kuti as a combination of Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Marley.

"Water No Get Enemy" is my favorite song at the moment.

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