Sunday, December 23, 2012

Almost a full year has gone by with just one blog post and only 3 posts in the year before that.  What's going on here, you ask? (What, no one asked? Ok, fair enough, but I'll pretend someone did.)

First and foremost, I blame Facebook.  The main purpose of this blog was a way to share my photos and thoughts with friends and family.  The universal access to it was somewhat of a side-effect of the technology of the day.  I never knew which of my friends or family would be interested in this material,  so having a blog with global access meant anyone, friends and strangers alike, would have access to it if they happened to discover it.  I don't mind sharing somewhat personal thoughts and opinions with the world, but it was never really a goal.   As Facebook began to gain in popularity with the majority of my friends and family, I found myself posting more frequently there and less frequently here.  

However, reflecting a bit on things now, looking back on what I used to occasionally write about on this blog, I'm beginning to think I might prefer the long-form thoughtful format of a blog vs. the more snippety stuff I write on Facebook.

I'm not trying to say I'm going to abandon Facebook and return to solely writing on this blog.  Facebook is great for keeping up with a large group of friend and family, but I'm thinking, when time permits, I am going to try to use my blog as well.

And so, as a first attempt at getting back to this blog, I offer a summary of what has happened with me these past few years:

In late 2009, after several years of careful scheming and manipulation, I finally succeeded in convincing the woman of my dreams that it might not be a bad idea for us to date.  (Yes, it really did take her several years to agree to a date - we had been good friends for several years but she had always made it clear that we were only ever going to be "just friends."   If you read some of my early blog posts from several years ago, you will find there is the occasional reference to this friend.)

About a year and half ago we bought a house in the country and at the same time I somehow convinced said woman of my dreams that it might actually be a good idea for us to get married.  And so, this past spring, we did indeed get married. For a honeymoon we took a once in a life-time 10-day trek to Machu Picchu in Peru (I really should post some pictures - the mountains of Peru are quite beautiful).  And, now, at the close of this year, we are just a month away from the birth of our baby boy.

Exciting times both past and looking ahead, and as I've already been told many times, with the birth of a child life is never going to be the same for us.

Happy holidays to family and friends both near and far.  Wishing you all a happy 2013.

Monday, March 12, 2012


NOTE: somehow this post got lost - I wrote it about a year and a half-ago (back in 2010), but forgot to click the "publish" button.
For my birthday this year, my sister and brother-in-law gave me a vintage pachinko machine which they had discovered at a yard sale.

If you don't know what pachinko is, you can read more about it on Wikipedia.

Although I've been to Japan twice and I have seen lots of pachinko parlors from the outside, I had never actually ventured into one and I had never seen an actual pachinko machine until now. It's a pretty interesting mechanical device.

It's totally "gravity powered", meaning it requires no batteries. A series of levers, ramps, and pressure plates are all that control the inner workings of the machine. It does have two lights that can be battery powered (one for signaling the machine is out of balls and one which turns on during a payout), but the lights are totally optional as far as actual gameplay.

The machine I have was manufactured by Nishijin, in Tokyo, Japan in the early 1970s. Nishijin manufactured many different style machines, and this one is known as a model A, or recycler model. It had a unique feature of "recycling" the losing balls into the payout pool so the machine didn't have to be refilled with balls as frequently as other models.

In order to give you an idea of how the machine works, here a few videos of it in operation.