You Gotta Run, Run, Run, Run, Run

I’m running again.

It’s been a year or two since I’ve run regularly, and the main reason I stopped doing it was that I was finding it difficult to both go out for a run and walk my dog on the same day — and running with the dog proved difficult.

I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that I’d give it another go, and I decided to take the plunge a week ago. One of the pushes came from the My ASICS running app, designed by my good friends atAQ — and the app’s graphic design is by my regular gaming partner, Ryan Ruel.

I’m no stranger to running apps, and have had multiple sessions running with Nike+, miCoach, and most frequently, Runkeeper. They each have their postives and negatives, and so far what I’m liking from the My ASICS app is the simplicity, and the running plan it has suggested for me (my current goal is to run 10 km).

Oh, and there’s my dog.

He is in fact accompanying me on my runs, and so far it’s been fine. I do have to stop a few times during the run, to let him do his business — both forms — but it doesn’t seem to be breaking my rhythm too much yet. That being said, I’m still only in the warm-up phase (short jogs), so we’ll see what the next week or two bring.

I was surprised by the fact that I could do those first sessions without much effort or tiring out, despite the length of time since my last run — all that mountain activity seems to be paying off.

If you don’t run, you can’t win.

A Cup of Water

My dog gets a personalized cup when he goes to Starbucks.

I’ve already written about the fact that we often go to our local Starbucks with him, and he’s become so familiar that not only does the staff usually bring out a cup of water for him, but as pictured in this post, they include a little personalized message.

Cher Confiture.

It may seem strange to be shining a light on a chain store like this — fuck the man, go local — but in a case like this, it’s hard not to feel like you’re getting the kind of attention you’d get from an independent cafe.

My dog sure loves hanging out in front of that place to people gaze, especially when he knows he’s getting a drink too.

Cyberpunk

I’m in a cyberpunk state of mind these days.

What mostly kickstarted it was me finally getting my copy of the Android: Netrunner core set, something I had been excitedly waiting on for months. An update of the classic collectible card gamefrom the nineties, and designed by Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield, it pits a “runner” against” a “corp,” in a battle that sees the corporation trying to protect its assets from hacking intrusions. The game is fantastic, and I’ve had a blast playing so far.

My cyberpunk journeys are also currently enhanced by Deux Ex: Human Revolution on the Xbox 360. I picked up the game a couple of months ago — I’ve been getting a lot of games this year on Play-Asiathrough their weekly sales, getting great deals (I pretty much wait until a game is $20 or less), which has given me a bit of a backlog — and have finally gotten around to playing it. I’m only a few hours in, but I’m head-over-heels in love with this game right now. I love the setting, the way the game offers up multiple paths to your objectives, and the cool cybernetic upgrades I can unlock for my character.

And if that wasn’t enough, I’m also considering starting a cyberpunk-related RPG campaign — and here, I’m talking about an old-school pen-and-paper RPG. At first I was considering playing theCyberpunk 2020 game, which I had always been interested in but never played, but a friend of mine — Jon Swanson, who has been my Netrunner adversary, and who will be participating in the campaign — brought up the idea of playing a new game called Eclipse Phase, and from what I’ve read so far, I’m currently leaning towards that. It’s also interesting to note that Eclipse Phase is released under a Creative Commons license, and although you can purchase print editions or PDFs, you can alsodownload all of the manuals for free.

Jack in, begin transfer.

PechaKucha Mix

What do vacation photos say about you?

I was able to find out what they meant to others, by way of PechaKucha. While I was in Canada for a 2-week visit to my hometown back in August, all the photos I took were with my iPhone, shared through Instagram. After the trip, I was contacted by the PechaKucha Toronto organizer, Vivien Leung — also my friend — who asked if I could let her do a “PechaKucha Mix” presentation with my vacation photos at her next PKN.

The “PechaKucha Mix” presentation is something we started doing here in Tokyo earlier this year, and we’ve been encouraging other cities to do it as well. The first time I heard of this sort of thing happening was in Fresno, and it’s a simple idea: Invite a few volunteers from the audience to take to the stage and talk their way through a PK presentation, not knowing anything about the images that will be shown. It’s “presentation improv,” and it gets a fantastic response from the audience, especially when things get funny.

I usually get a photographer to submit 20 photos that I use for the Mix, but after Vivien asked me about using my vacation photos, I decided to use the same set for last month’s Mix here in Tokyo.

So what did people think? You’re in luck, since Vivien shared her Mix on YouTube, and I did the samefor our Tokyo one.

Yes, food was a big focus of my trip. And I have the weight gain to prove it.

Pictured above, the crew in Tokyo who took part (and you’ll find more photos from the event in this Facebook gallery, or on Flickr).

Instant Bond Gratification

See it, buy it, download it, read it. While in your underwear.

That’s absolutely one of the things I like the most about reading magazines on my iPad. To that I could add pricing, availability, and a few more things, but today it was just the simple fact that I was immediately able to get my hands on the latest issue of the UK edition of GQ, because of the Bond coverage — and if you don’t why it was important for me to get this issue, then you obviously don’t see what I write on Facebook.

Not only did I get the issue this morning, while I was lying in my futon, drinking coffee, but it only cost me 350 yen — if I could have found the issue somewhere in Tokyo (and that’s absolutely an if) it would have cost 4-5 times that.

This is also an excuse to post all six covers of the issue, each featuring a Bond.

Skyfall opens in Japan on December 1.

CAGcast 300

300 of anything is impressive, let alone a weekly podcast.

To CheapyD and the CAGcast crew — Wombat and Shipwreck — huge congrats on reaching episode 300 this past week.

I can’t remember exactly from which number I started listening (I think it was in early 100s), but I do remember the story that kicked off the episode — about a guy who was stoned and running amok in the streets after leaving a party.

I started listening to the show after I befriended Cheapy — or David Abrams, if you will — which was around the time of the release of Arcade Mania. I think we interacted a few times online at first, and then I met him for the first time — along with his lovely wife, Shima — at the launch party for the book, which was held at Cafe Pause here in Ikebukuro, in September of 2008 (in Japan, it came out the following January in the US).

Since then we’ve become good friends, and I remain a fan of the show, and have never missed an episode.

Again, congrats CAGcast, and here’s to many more episodes of doodie and game talk.

Allergies

Sniff.

I used to suffer from really bad hayfever every summer in Canada, and when I moved to Japan, it didn’t affect anymore. I was so happy. Then, maybe 6-7 years ago, when spring allergy season came through — because of the damn overabundance of cedar trees — with news that the pollen was at a record count, I was affected, and I’ve had regular spring allergies to deal with ever since.

Sniff.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to deal with it thanks to prescription medicine, something I never got back in Canada (I’d only use over-the-counter antihistamine pills). It’s not perfect, but for the most part it keeps me together.

Sniff.

I’m not sure when it started, but I now also find myself affected towards the end of summer and in September. Like now. It’s not as bad as in the spring, so I don’t take my medicine regularly, but when I haven’t taken anything for a few days and it suddenly strikes, well, that sucks.

Sniff.

Time to pop a pill.