Drug of Choice

November 27, 2009

So I feel like almost everyone I know has a drug of choice. You know, something that just takes you away and lets you forget your problems. For some people it’s music, others actual drugs. Mine: Hugs. Not the kind you get when you’re saying goodbye to an acquaintance. You know, those kinds that are like hugging someone who smells really bad. You usually get those out of formality and it’s become part of modern culture to hug as you say hello or goodbye. I’m not interested in those. I want a good solid hug. The kind that makes you feel safe, as if nothing in the world could harm you because you are wrapped around this other person.

Anyways, I bring this up because I realized that I could *really* use a good hug. The lack of human contact is troubling to me. I would go out with a sign for free hugs only I’m sure everyone would stare at me funny or not get their hug because I might have Swine Flu.

The last person I hugged was a friend. She was cold.

I need to get my hug fix.


Canvas For One Note

November 21, 2009

Just installed office and thought I’d look into Canvas for One Note. I know it’s still in development stages but I must say the interactions are just not agreeing with me.

There is an invisible wall on the upper and left sides of your canvas. Sure, you can grow your canvas out to be as large as you need, but you can only do so and navigate to the right and down. I thought that was a little irking especially because there are no visual clues that you can’t pan above or to the left. A canvas border would be useful here. I then managed to grow my canvas so large, all my content was tiny in the upper left corner when I zoom out. Looking for a “shrink” option, there isn’t one. You have to restart canvas. Sections and pages themselves are also only expandable in the right and bottom directions. I definitely think you should be able to expand and explore everything in all directions and pan and zoom so that your content is framed and centered. Or have canvas view automatically detect where content is and zoom out framing all the content. I don’t need to know that my canvas is gigantic, but only the top left corner is being used.

One click zoom in and out is also sometimes frustrating. If I have many pages in a section without much open space, it’s difficult to zoom in to the section and not a specific page. I think that there needs to be a stage of zoom. So if I click anywhere within a section, then it will zoom into the section and I have to click again to get a specific page. Or have the user double click on the page that they want to see from any level of zoom to zoom into that page.

I think the idea behind this software is really cool and I can see myself using it since I’m a very visual person. However, it has to work out the navigation kinks.


Wine Fest and Halloween

November 6, 2009

I’ve been quite slow on my blog updates.

Shiojiri Wine Festival! It was definitely a good time. Upon arrival We were handed bags. They contained a small wine glass, a map, and a stamp card. Right at the start there were several large kegs. Both the red and the white wine were good. Then we got on a bus that took us to a winery. When we got there, there were sausages, pork chops, and gelato. Went upstairs and sampled all their wines. They were really good. I never thought I would like wine. We visited two other wineries that day and then went back to the city. I feel like I should give the wine a second chance.

After the Wine Fest, I went with people to dinner met lots of cool people. It was the first time I actually went out with people closer to my own age to just have fun. No work formalities, no worries, and they all spoke English. It was great.

Halloween in Shiojiri was interesting. I’ve never been to a City Halloween festival before. I’m quite certain the general tradition in Toronto is to just go trick-or-treating at night. Adults likely have other parties, but that’s about it. Here there was a festival. And no festival is complete without food stalls and stamp card. I have noticed that at most festivals and events, there are stamp cards kind of like a scavenger hunt. So if you fill up your card with stamps, you get a little extra prize. It was fun to run around collecting stamps and candy with my co-worker’s kids. They were also in a parade. Most people dressed up as witches. That seems to be a common costume. There were a few other interesting costumes as well though.

After Halloween celebrations it was off to dinner. My co-worker made plans to attend this class at the community center. They teach you how to cook and you get to eat it afterwards obviously. It’s for families so that the children and husbands are also involved. It was really interseting to me even though I didn’t cook anything. But the meal was roast beef, roast chicken, traditional Japanese Christmas and New Years meal and there were some dessert cakes as well. It was cool to see them prepare the fish cakes. They had instructions on how to make elaborate shapes and designs. They gave me a gift at the end and thanked me for being there, but I think I got more out of it. I got dressed in an apron and bandana to hold my hair back. I felt like a Japanese Housewife. It was nice to see families cooking and learning together. I now know how to make roast beef too! Can’t make roast chicken, but that was good too. If only I had an oven.

Anyways I think that’s the end of this chapter. Japanese festivals and events are fun and interesting. They also always involve food. Yum.