alright...not quite.  BUT I did enjoy the little patio and chair setup they have just outside the doors.  They're near the Rosa Park Circle, so it's close to where I've been wandering these last few lunches.

As you can see, a tablet, a pokewalker, some tea and a smashed veggie burger (not because I'm a vegetarian but we had some left over and they're tasty) for lunch.

Being in the shade was a good idea for reading the tablet, but I was a little chilly without sun beaming on my black shirt.

The last week or so has been pretty full of something going on either during the day, evening, or both.  So Tuesday was the first day in over a week that I had to do with whatever I wanted.

We walked a few miles on Kent Trails, I poked around on the computer, played some DS, and enjoyed relaxing on the couch.

So the whole first week at the new job has passed and it's Monday again.  I've had a few things sitting on my desk at home cluttering it up as I normally have them on my desk at work.  So today I decided to bring them in to their new home. 

Yesterday while at JAFAX Amanada introduced me into something I thought I would never, EVER own. Pokemon.  I've been a steadfast NO POKEMON kinda person just because I was a little too old when it got big here in the states and the show drove me bonkers anytime i caught pieces of it.

Then Amanda shows me what I think is a tamagotchi pet. No. It's a pokewalker that syncs up to select pokemon games.  The main attraction to me here is the pokewalker is a pedometer. And for each certain number of steps you take, you gain watts that you use to play games on the pokewalker, like collect items and unique pokemon. 

Chris can attest to how lazy and unmotivated I can be to get out and exercise.  More than once he's had to push me to get my butt out the door.  So anything that will turn exercising into a game is a good idea in my mind. And this does exactly that. 

Several years ago I used to wear a pedometer and it worked relatively well to motivate me with its little numbers to walk more.  And this pokewalker is surprisingly accurate with counting steps.  

We were also able to swing by JAFAX later in the afternoon in time to catch the costume contest.  This, outside of a few events (Door Phil, for example) are some of my favorite at JAFAX.  We missed the fashion show yesterday because I mis-read the program, but we did catch the costume contest or as they called it, masquerade.  

They had a few skits this year (which they've apparently done in the past but not since i've been attending) and some really fantastic costumes.

We're in late June again which means another JAFAX anime/manga convention out at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Western Michigan.  This year marks their 15th year, which is impressive since the event is free for attendees.

There were plenty of cosplayers to see and some interesting programming to watch. We got to swing by and see Adam and Comfort who are the creators of The Uniques comics over in Artist Alley and spent some time with my friend Amanda as well.

My interests at cons are typically in main events and costume contests.  So we spent a large amount of time people watching and poking around at a few panels and events. Youmacon, which is held in Detroit, is a much better con for these types of things though it has far less emphasis on viewing rooms if that is your thing.

It was a good Saturday.  Chris and I enjoyed spending time with Adam and Comfort after the con was over, hearing about their experiences on the whole thing.

Next year's Sweet 16 themed event is definitely going to be an interesting one. 

For some photos of the con see my flickr set here.

This weekend brings with it Adam and Comfort, comic creating duo of The Uniques.

It also brings with it JAFAX, an anime con at Grand Valley State University where Adam and Comfort have a table in Artist's Alley.

This evening, after a lovely stroll through Palmer Park, we celebrated a belated birthday for Adam, complete with tasty oreo-pudding pie!


This Thursday I headed over to Chris's friend Dan's house to play a board game with Jef, Dan, and Chris.

We played Jeff's game TOMB. It's like Magic The Gathering meets Hero Quest with awesomeness tied in. There are various tombs you explore with your party where you use weapons, spells, and various buffs against traps and monsters.

Usually I don't have enoug stamina to play a board game for hours on end but TOMB bad a pretty decent variety (ex. allowing you to flip from explorer to dungeon master) that it wasn't boring and didn't feel like it was dragging on and on.

It was a very good night and helped to turn around an otherwise annoying and frustrating day. Glad I was able to make it!


Thunderstorms and lightning littered the sky this morning, followed by heavy, brief rain.  I was almost positive that everything outside would be drenched at lunch - forcing me to sit indoors.

I was wrong! Though the sky was still overcast, as you cans see from the photo, the ground was relatively dry (though some table and chairs were not). 

I enjoyed reading on the tablet - even if I had to struggle to read comics on it because of the sun (yes, even on this cloudy day it was difficult to read).

I'll have to wander around more downtown to get the lay of the land. I'm getting a better feel for it already - though if you know me you know I don't have the greatest sense of direction.  So this is good pratice.

Day two of working downtown went well. I had some service/signal issue with my Sprint service so I used the map kiosks to direct myself to Monroe Center. I was looking for my bank but I didn't see it, gave up, and just ate lunch down there.

After work I spent some time in Heartside Park, enjoying rainbows and children's laughter in the sunshine.

We headed out to Wealthy Theatre to enjoy Breakfast Club with my cousin's Dan and Sherry.  It was a good time and I look forward to the next movie with them - and dinner too!

It's Monday, so it's the start of the work week for many office workers. For me it was the first day on a new job in downtown Grand Rapids. 

Everyone was very nice, and they were completely prepared with logins, computers, passwords, etc. I was really impressed with how organized they were.

As a bonus I'm right near a park - where I had lunch today - as well as school.  So I read homework at lunch, enjoying the weather, and then after work I headed over to class to study a bit more and enjoy Intellectual Property.

This is really the best Monday I've had in awhile.

For a change of pace Chris and I headed up to Rockford for lunch and a stroll down White Pines Trail. Rockford was pretty quiet, except for the out-of-place soft jazz pumping out of the PA system.

We got a quick bite to eat at Arnie's since our first choice was so empty no one showed up at the counter to take our order, and I've never been to Arnie's. I wasn't really impressed with the service but sometimes those things are hit and miss I suppose.

The trail was nice though we only got about 2 miles south of Rockford before hitting a Trail Closed sign.

I think next time we walk White Pines Trail we'll start in Comstock Park and see what that end is like.

Since the World Cup is in full swing and my dad is a big fan of football (Soccer for those of you in America) we decided to celebrate Father's Day a day early.  It worked out best with the game schedule since Sunday is going to be spent watching non-stop Football.

Great weather in Oak Park on Saturday, a contrast to the storms the night before that took out part of my mom's car.

So there was grilling, and lots of food and visiting.  Jeff showed Chris an interesting photo transfer glue he'd been using to transfer printed photos to fabric. Chris is going to poke around and look for the glue and try it at home.

It was a good early Father's Day celebration and I hope my dad thoroughly enjoys the World Beer Cup we gave him, being sure to two-fist (if necessary) when certain countries are playing against one another.

You can find all of the Father's Day photos on flickr here.

With a 3-day weekend ahead of me before starting a new job on Monday I decided to get some things done. First and foremost Chris and I went shopping for a father's day gift (better late than never).

After that I headed over to my first physical therapy appointment and was given a fancy giant battery-powered (apparently) band-aid and some homework. Bleh.

Chris also hooked up an extra pen tablet to my computer. I'm really not that comfortable with the controls but imagine it would be easier to adapt to than a trackball was. 

I'll have to brainstorm uses for it. For now I can just write goofy messages for this blog.

Today was my last day at the place I've been working at (on and off through various contracts and even a permanent position) for the last 5 years. I was back on contract, which was ending soon, when a new opportunity came up.

So as one last goodbye several of us headed to the Cascade Sports Bar for one last night out as co-workers.

Not quite, but a portion of it anyway. Sony has recreated a virtual version of their E3 booth on Playstation Home. So after class I decided to to take a peek.

All I can say is too bad Microsoft and Nintendo could do something similar with their consoles.


Tonight Wealthy Theatre was playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which means one thing - awesomeness on the big screen.

A few of Chris's co-workers were interested in seeing the movie as well, and we had dinner with a few people before the movie. We met up at Brick Road Pizza, which has an interesting array of foods (organic, vegan, veggie, and meat all served here).

After a tasty (but slightly odd as i'm not accustomed to it) dinner we headed to Wealthy Theatre and our group was complete.

It's been awhile since I've seen the movie, so it was great to see again.  And it looks like they've got some good movies lined up for the next several weeks, including Breakfast Club next Tuesday!

In honor of my last week at my current position, the entire team went out for lunch.  I may have only been there for just over six months on this contract, but I've bounced around from department to department for the better part of five years and this time it truly is good-bye to the current office I'm in.

My boss, who works out of the office in metro Detroit, drove out for lunch and farewells and food.  It was a good day and a tasty lunch, as you can see.

Sometimes you crave tasty, greasy fast-food pizza, sometimes you crave "higher-end" pizza. And other times, only home made pizza on thick home-made dough hits the spot.



In the latter part of the afternoon we decided to take a walk to a place that serves Soft Serve on 28th street. We took Kent Trails for a large part of it and it was about 5 miles round trip.  I ordered a small flurry and this is apparently what their small is.  I couldn't finish it, it was so large.

Later in the evening I attended Weatherstock in Lord of the Rings Online. Chris had some things he needed to take care of so I took that opportunity to check out this yearly music event.

Since Lord of the Rings Online has an in-game music system which allows different races and classes to play different instruments (lute, harp, flute, etc) there are a lot of people who incorporate this into their role-playing.  Personally I'm not a big RPer, but it was interesting to listen to the different bands play music from the Beetles to Police and beyond. There were just under 300 players who attended, including myself who created a character on the server specifically to check this event out.

If you are a gamer who enjoys online games and have a special place in your heart for Tolkien, I'd encourage you to check out Lord of the Rings Online - which goes free to play in the fall.

The World Cup is starting in South Africa and what better way to celebrate it than load a World Cup application onto my Android Tablet?

Admittedly, I'm not a huge sports fan, but I have an appreciation for Football, or Soccer as it is called in the United States, over most other traditional United States sports. 

So I'm testing this application out (and a few others) to show off the tablet properly next weekend for Father's Day. And what better way to show a new gadget to a gadget lover than to do it with their second love - Football.

It's been a long series of appointments, but finally I'm done with the dentist until the next cleaning.

The permanent onlay was put in and it's gold - which means I may now have enough street cred to be a pimp.

The M001 Eken tablet was nice to use and read on while I waited.

In the mean time, I'm going to start praticing my keyboard skills. I gotta keep up with Dr. Teeth.

Leki has been chunking out a bit since the weather has gotten warmer, which means it's time to get more stringent on his eating habits.

Today is day one. And he's already been a terror while I was at school. Chewing plastic bags and shredding toilet paper.

Weird part is - the cat is more or less interested in the ritual of feeding than the amount, exactly.


So today instead of a dentist appointment (of which I only have one left - Thursday) I had an appointment with a hand specialist.  I've been wearing a wrist brace for a little over two years now on my right wrist and had some pain on and off before that for a few years, so when I mentioned nothing was getting better I got referred to a specialist.

The appointment ran a little long and I've now walked away having had x-rays done and a follow up appointment plus physical therapy sessions scheduled.  All in all it doesn't sound like it's anything super major or serious (that is - no surgery is required) and I'm happy for that.  So the minor inconvenience of giving up a lunch hour for a physical therapy session is totally fine with me if that helps things.

The evening went quickly.  I poked around in Lord of the Rings Online a bit, though I didn't get much of anything done.  Peppy was awake and excited by activity in the living room for awhile.  It always seems like she's sleeping when I'm awake (and vise versa) so it's good to see her up and about without me having to wake her up.

Today was another visit to the dentist, though this wasn't quite scheduled out.  The temporary onlay I have has been causing some issues - so they fixed that and did a filling.  Now I just have one more visit on Thursday and perhaps this saga will be complete!

On a tastier note we had a pot luck today at work.  There were lots of foods to choose from and filled several of these round tables as well as the entire kitchen corner (not in the picture).  Of course we don't have enough seats in the small kitchen here so there was a lot of standing and eating (or taking over of smaller conference rooms).

This recipe that Chris showed me is awesome and I try to make it almost every time I can.  This time since we'd just gone grocery shopping I was busy clearing out the fridge I pulled a few miscellaneous left overs together for dinner.

We had some Morning Star sausage and hamburger crumbs packages so I used that for two of them, since really the Morning Star veggie meat stuff is pretty tasty. The other is taco seasoned meat!

Tasty dinner, with leftovers as you can see.

I got us up kind of early today. I'm beginning to loose track since it's been happening so frequently (asprin wearing off from cavity pain - no worries, I go to the dentist next week!), but I think today I woke up around 6am so by 7 we had already eaten breakfast and by 10 we were doing laundry. 

Going down to the laundromat was an excellent opportunity to try out the tablet on the go. I read some twitter, though the wifi connection was spotty.  In truth, I spent most of the time reading some comics Chris had given me.  For the most part, the tablet works well that way.  I'll have to try ebooks next.
In the early afternoon we headed down to check out Grand Rapid's annual Festival of the Arts.  Honestly, it's mostly a food and music festival with minimal fine arts tossed in.

We met up with my cousins Daniel and Sherry and wandered around for a bit, taking in the sites.  Of course we snagged some food (and thus my emergency granola bars remained uneaten).

It was a good afternoon and we left before the rain began to downpour.

Today the second EKEN Android tablet arrived.  The first one was officially adopted by Chris pretty early on, so that meant I was free to do what I wanted with this second one.  The first thing I did? Installed a custom ROM.

The original tablet arrived with Android 1.6, firmware version 1.7.1.  I snagged a copy of ECOTOX's custom ROM and upgrade to firmware 1.7.2.  It doesn't seem like much, but is an improvement.
It came with the youtube player already installed, and a ton of extra crap the original Chinese version had removed.  I have more internal storage now, should I choose to put files on that as opposed to the SD card I'm using now.

Overall, I'm just happy to have it to play with and test.  Chris has his official comic viewer and I now have the luxury of taking subbed animes and watching them where ever (this plays them very well once converted to mp4) and to flash ever few weeks or so.

It's not an iPad, and it won't react like one. It has a resistive touch screen as opposed to capacitive, but that's ok. It doesn't have all the thousand of apps that apple offers.

It's running Android, which is open, and I can do what I want when I want to the device when I want AND it has access to applications that run on Android.  And there are a lot. This is in stark contrast to apple products in general, and the iPhone OS specifically.  So for me, and my uses - that is reading an ebook or comic book or watching an anime - this is sufficient.  It has wi-fi so I'm able to use a web browser, gmail, youtube, twitter and so on. 

And we have two, all for less than 1/2 the price of the wi-fi 16GB iPad.

If you're interested in a more in-depth review of the tablet, Chris has one here.

On my lunch I needed to swing downtown to do some paperwork.  While I was driving down Michigan Ave, I noticed they're building a rather elaborate walkway on Hospital Hill.

This area is just a little excessive with the medical buildings for a town this size. Really.

This morning I woke to the sounds of rain and thunder once more.

On days I have to leave the house, unlike Monday which was a holiday, rain can have more of an impact.

As shown here, I spent part of my morning stopped on the freeway, watching lanes of traffic attempt to merge in the barely moving array of vehicles.


The transition from an extended weekend to shifting into work-mode can sometimes be a difficult one, especially if the weather is beautiful like it has been lately (lets just ignore that rainstorm yesterday, shall we?). 

This is when Tuesdays to me feel like what Mondays are stereotyped to be like. Seemingly endless and sometimes frustrating.

I had an appointment in the afternoon which meant I left work early and picked Chris up early.   This gave us extra time to have dinner in the park and stroll around for a bit. 

The sunshine and beautiful weather is enough to turn around most days.  So if you're having a bad day - head outside before the sun is gone!