A-Z Challenge – U

U stands for “Upgrading”

We are constantly urged by ads and marketing to upgrade everything we have. For instance, phones, software, cars, gadgets, etc. In photography, we’re presented with new cameras and technology every year. The camera you just bought will be “obsolete” as soon as next year’s model comes out. There’s more and more megapixels, better high ISO sensitivity, faster AF… the list goes on and on!

When I bought my Fujifilm X100T last year, it made me realize that I didn’t have to upgrade my camera gear to improve my photography, or more importantly, get more enjoyment out of my hobby. I became more aware of the concept of “good enough” and the “satisficers” vs “maximizers” and found myself falling into the camp of the satisficers. This camera had less megapixels than my dslr, didn’t have as high a burst mode, and the video quality was worse. But it was definitely good enough, and the advantages of small size, low weight, simpler controls made it a far more enjoyable experience for me. “Good enough” actually brought me more joy than “maximizing”.

So, now I ask myself… why must I upgrade to the latest and greatest? Phones for instance… I find a low to mid-range smartphone good enough for me. I don’t have the urge to upgrade. Also, I use Adobe Lightroom every day, but I decided not to upgrade to the latest “Cloud” version… for me, version 5 was good enough. If I had the CC version, it would probably force me to upgrade my computer to keep up with the more powerful features that are regularly added. I don’t want to get forced into this cycle of upgrading!

It used to be a huge temptation for me to keep upgrading my things. But these days, I find happiness in settling for the “good enough” items, and I do not spend cycles worrying or researching to make sure I am at the cutting edge. For me, it’s a more satisfying way to live, and I can spend my energies elsewhere.

A-Z Challenge – T

T stands for “Time”

Last night I had a dream in which I was explaining how Quartz is used to keep time in watches. I can’t remember how I explained it, but it must have been a very vague explanation since I don’t really understand how Quartz does it. So when I woke up, I did a little research on Quartz watches and found out that Quartz has a special property, where when given an electric charge, will oscillate (vibrate back and forth) 32,768 times per second, and so modern electronics will measure that oscillation and then do a simple calculation, then send out one pulse per second. It’s amazing, isn’t it?

Anyways, I was also thinking about why we measure time in the units we do… I guess it was easy to figure out that we have 365 days per year, but I think it is amazing that we just have to add 1 day every 4 years to keep things in sync. It seems like (and maybe it is that) there would be some fraction of a day, like we’d add a day every four years, but every 100 years, we’d skip that leap day, or add two extra days. Also, how did we decide on 24 hours for a day? Why not 20 hours?

I’m sure these have logical explanations, but I’ll save that for another day. It’s like a little bit of knowledge that I will keep a mystery to myself for a while. 😊 I’ll keep it as something to look forward to!

A-Z Challenge – S

S is for “Spicy”

Spicy foods are my favorite, and if I have the change to add hot pepper, sriracha, rayu, jalapenos, etc… I will do so! I’m not sure when I started loving extra hot flavors, but it must have been in high school.

I think there have only been three times when something has been too spicy for me to eat… Mariko and I went to an Indonesian restaurant in Akasaka and whew!!! it was so spicy we couldn’t continue! I was sweating like crazy… then in Malaysia, a friend took us out to eat and one of the dishes was crazy. Probably not as hot as the Indonesian food, but hot enough where we couldn’t eat it. And the other time was something I don’t think I ate, because maybe I was too young, but my parents made shish-kebab when my grandparents were visiting, and for some reason, the peppers used were too potent, and no one could eat the grilled meats. I don’t think I had any of it though.

The photo below was taken in 2011 in Osaka at a curry restaurant we went to. The curry was extra spicy, and I was in a bit of pain, but I was able to finish. Wow, though… have you ever eaten something so spicy that your throat kind of has a reaction? Almost like gagging, but nothing to do with the stomach. It’s purely in the throat. It’s a little scary! But I think at the curry restaurant, I was really sweating and my eyes did water! Koa insists that I was crying… but I can’t really remember

Osaka, 2011
Photo info: OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-PL1, 14mm, f/3.5, 1/60 sec, ISO1600
Osaka, 2011

But of all the people I know, I think I enjoy the hotness the most. When we go to Coco Ichiban curry, I would get level 10 spiciness, which is pretty hot, but not nearly as hot as the Indonesian food! Yow! 🔥

A-Z Challenge – R

R is for “Rushing”

I don’t like rushing.

In my experience, when I have to rush to get work done, the quality goes down. Or the solution is not as good as it could have been. Time shouldn’t be a luxury, but it often seems like it is. To adequately explore creative solutions, you need time… not only to produce different options to solve problems, but to properly evaluate those options. For myself, a design might seem good, but if I look at my work the next day, I can tell that it wasn’t so great… That’s part of my process so I try to allocate time for that. But if I have to rush, or a deadline is very short, the design doesn’t go through proper revisions, and it goes out the door in a poor state. It’s unfortunate, but it happens.

I really dislike rushing to get places. I like to leave early and take my time. Thank goodness for Google Maps! Their directions and the ETA associated with them is amazing! Love it! But I see so many people rushing to get places… speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, looking for shortcuts. It must be stressful! So, I try to make sure I don’t put myself in a situation where I have to leave late.  Then I can drive relaxed, stay in one lane instead of constantly searching for the faster one, and listen to podcasts. And if there is a traffic jam, I don’t stress! I enjoy the extra time I have to listen to the programs.

I like to live life at a relaxed pace… you know, maybe my “R” word should have been “Relax”! 🐢

A-Z Challenge – Q

Q is for “Quilting”

One thing that my Mom does is quilting, specifically Hawaiian designs. And she makes them into cushions for the family. They are beautiful. I really don’t know much about the process, but I think it is great to keep active with a hobby.

Torrance, 2015
Torrance, 2015

As you might have guessed, my main hobby at this point in my life is photography. It’s still very interesting to me, and the technology keeps improving so that there is always something new to learn. And then my other hobby is blogging, which I have bee doing since 2000. It’s something that I’d like to continue doing as long as I can. It’s fun!

So, like my Mom’s quilting, I’d like to keep active with a hobby, even if it may change (and I am sure it will!)