Latent exhiliration.
Thursday, June 24, 2004
I've just gotten home from a welcome party for one of my co-workers. I'm a little boozed up and feeling good.

I felt, on the walk home from the station, that I was pulling energy from the city. I wish I could save this energy up for later.

Sunday, June 20, 2004
From Horowitz and Hill's _The_Art_of_Electronics_: "A voltage source 'likes' and open circuit load and 'hates' a short-circuit load, for obvious reasons." and "A current source 'likes' a short-circuit load and 'hates' and open-circuit load."

I smiled when I read this. You can take these derived meanings of "like" and "hate" and apply them to people. People like those that let them feel like they can be themselves. This is why my friend Moonie has several guys in love with her. She accepts and appreciates people the way they are. That is the most seductive thing anyone can do.

So we speak of ideals, but a voltage source connected to an open circuit would be connected to nothing, and an current source can't be connected to a short circuit load because all wires have some resistance. It is possible to speak of theoretical ideals, but reality is more complicated.

Saturday, June 19, 2004
I got all of my appliances from a guy who was helping a family move to Europe. They needed to sell all their appliances. As he was helping me set up my washer and dryer on my veranda, he looked across to the apartment building across the street and said "That's interesting. You can see the people when they shower."

"Are you sure? I might be the kitchen." I said.
"No," he replied. "Japanese don't put kitchens in the back like that."

This morning, I was mending my bicycle cover on the veranda when I looked across and saw a woman showering. Her back was toward me. The glass was the sort of fog glass that fuzzes things over, but I could still see her relatively clearly. When I got back from my bike ride this afternoon, there was a woman (the same one?) showering with her front toward me.

What was the architect thinking?

Friday, June 18, 2004
I found out recently that I live a 23 minute walk away from the Tokyo central library, and that another major library is on my commuting route. My apartment is located better than I could ever have planned it. :)

I was in a meeting with one of our distributors, watching my manager Y-san direct the meeting. Suddenly, I thought "I love the philosophy of engineering." In engineering, you take big problems, think about what smaller problems you might break them down into, and then work on the smaller problems. Large engineering problems are solved without one person knowing the entire solution. You just trust that other people know what they're doing.

So, I saw my manager as he talked about what we were working on. Unashamedly admitted things that we didn't know, but were still working on, and reviewed what we did know. One of the foundations of engineering is tolerance for ambiguity as you're solving a problem. You admit that you don't know things, but trust that you'll probably be able to figure it out as you go along.

This is different from school, where most of the time the problems are laid out cleanly, and the means for solving the problems can be found in the text or handouts.

Thursday, June 17, 2004
Yesterday I commuted to work without my glasses on or my contacts in. I could stare right at people's faces until they were very close, without being able to tell whether they were looking at me, too.

One of my mock trial coaches in high school said that when she was emphasizing a point, she would take off her glasses, or slide them down and peer over the rim, and look the judge and the members of the jury in the eye. Of course, she wasn't really looking them in the eye, because she couldn't see their eyes.

Monday, June 14, 2004
I bought a book of Japanese proverbs today.

Koi wa mujou no tane.
Love is the seed of ephemerality.

Meaning that through understanding another's feelings, or coming to understand pain through the loss of a love, increases one's compassion for others, and causes one to reflect on the transience of the world, both of which are good.

So it is.

(Pretty buddhist, huh?)

Sunday, June 13, 2004
I have a co-worker that complains a lot about other people.

After talking with this man for only about five minutes, another one of my co-workers told me: "You know, I've only just spoken with T-san a little, so I don't know for sure, but he's probably a boring person."

"Yes." I said. "He sets high standards for himself..."
"But he ends up looking down on everyone else."

Now, T-san is a nice guy. He cares about me, asks me how my weekends or evenings went. He even invited me to hang out last weekend. And, I can get genuine laughs out of him.

Yet he talks badly of other people. Just about every time I talk to him. Professors who are unresponsive to their students. Gaijin who go after Japanese women for sex. Japanese women who are only open to dating gaijin. There's no one he criticizes in particular, but he speaks badly of groups of people in general. It's annoying, and it's interfering with our friendship.

If he could get rid of the chip on his shoulder, he'd be a swell guy.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004
I think I have the two nicest managers in the world.

Once, we were in a meeting with a distributor, and I asked the presenter a lot of questions. I hate acronyms. We use so many acronyms. I asked questions about the acronyms he was using, and about what certain terms meant. I don't think I was that antagonistic, but at one point, the presenter said "That's something that a college graduate should know."

I said "I realize I'm asking a lot of questions, and it might be annoying."
To which my manager replied - "No, ask lots of questions. When you get yelled at, it only happens once, but the knowledge that you gain from having your questions answered will stay with you always."

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