Of cicadas and summer

Yes, I suppose it is time once again for more pictures of more blue, blue skies. What can I say? Summer turns out to be a good season for shooting pretty blue skies. It also turns out to be a pretty horrible season if, like me, you are the kind of person who hates cicadas. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

blue blue blue skies

I know I have not updated in far too long, but that’s because I have been a busy little web coding panda. A while ago I mentioned that I was working on a site update, and while there is still a long way to go, I’ve got a mockup up and in progress. If you are using a modern browser (Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer 7 or higher) you can click the link below to check it out. Note that (at the moment) the site will NOT display correctly in Internet Explorer 6 or lower, because IE6 is a broken, buggy and insecure browser (and you’re still IE 6 or older, you should update, like, right this second). I’ll fix this later.

Michaelpanda Redesign Mockup ver. 1

The mockup is basically just a static page at the moment – it’s not hooked up into the blog engine yet, and none of the links/menus work (except for the little “help” links on the sidebar). But the “Photo of the Day” feature is (somewhat) up and running, so check it out – try clicking the “prev” and “next” links to reload the photos without refreshing the entire page!

I’ve tried to channel the same layout as the current blog, but with a modern, updated twist. As well, I’ve added a lot of new technology behind the scenes that will greatly enhance the site functionality. I’m putting a new focus on readability and images, and using some neat tricks to keep things simple and clean whilst allowing access to advanced functions when needed. Finally, the photo section is being reworked into something which I’m pretty excited about and which and which as far as I know has never been seen on the internet to date! ;)

blue blue blue skies

There’s still a long way to go as almost everything on the site is written and designed by yours truly from scratch, and unfortunately, having to work for a living means I can’t spend as much time on it as I would like. But it’s coming along, so look for it at the end of summer/beginning of fall!

Speaking of summer, since you all seemed to enjoy the previous video blog, I have another one for you below, wherein I wax rhapsodic on the finer virtues (NOT!) of summer in Japan, specifically my burning hatred for cicadas in all their crunch, disgusting evilness.

Okay, that’s it for now. Thanks for watching and I’ll update again soon! And if you made it to the end of the video, feel free to leave your responses to my question in the comments below! ;)

Now listening to: Supramental – Kolesa (Radio Edit)

This song kicks ass! There’s no video on youtube, but the song is available on itunes – go check out the sample at least!

17 Reactions

  1. Lorelei

    I think it is very strange and inappropriate to bring your own cup to Starbucks. But then again, a free drink … Let us know how you’re going to solve this pressing problem.
    Death to Cicadas! Venceremos!
    (Back from my awesome Baltic Sea/Austrian Mountain Climbing trip, with a tan and 5 million pictures to post on the blog, btw)

  2. Andrew

    interesting. I dont think you are too old to be making videos…of course I am 44 so what do I know.
    About coffee cups. I sort of agree with you, but I started feeling guilty about getting a paper cup and only using it once. So I just have a generic large mug that I use and re-use. Also most coffee shops give 10-25 cent discounts if you have your own cup.
    Since most restaurants dont serve food on paper plates, I dont see that bringing your own plates is ‘eco-friendly’ in the same way bringing your own mug is.
    Glad I am in San Diego for the summer and not in Japan.
    Take care
    Andrew

  3. Marty

    The vids are good. I can see why you think that only teenage girls make them ( they do ) but don’t let that bother you.
    As far as the cup goes, Dunkin Donuts has been doing the bring your own cup ( it looks like a 80oz swimming pool ) for a while, and you get a discount. The problem that I find with your predicament is the coupon. I can’t bring myself to use them.. I always feel like people think I’m cheap / have no money, which is strangely the truth.

  4. felix

    Yay, another post! Love the video blogs, keep them coming.
    Sorry I haven’t written (or blogged) in a while, but have been absolutely swamped with life and work, especially since I was preparing for a 2-week vacation. Was, because I am officially ON vacation now, catching up with correspondence and such.
    We received the puchi-puchis about a week ago – they are absolutely fabulous! I love the edamame one the best. My reply package to you is building momentum, I just have to complete my letter to you. Any requests?

  5. Raymond

    Hey,
    I think the cup is probably ok to bring in since it seems like that is what it is made for, but they should probably give you a discount if you do since they won’t have to pay for the paper cup.
    Speaking of public and private boundaries though I wonder if you have any opinions on googles release of street view in japan. It sounds like there are some unspoken boundaries which may have been crossed. what do you think?
    http://friendfeed.com/e/23a164ad-0506-1633-b80c-87fc22ccd73b/Global-Voices-Online-Japan-Letter-to-Google-about/

  6. yunnermeier

    I use paper cups because it’s not convenient carrying a dirty mug for 2 hours (that’s how long it takes for me to go to work…) plus the cover makes sure the coffee doesn’t splash out.
    Xanga allows non-paying users to erm.. ‘post’ skins too but maybe the skin codes I use are just wrong or better for blogspot! I just want a really simple layout, the classic design is so boring! I’ve had it eversince I was in high school LOL.
    It would be very nice of you to dash something! I really appreciate it . I am horrible at things like that:( Thank youu!
    p/s: BTW,do you happen to know of an online wagashi shop which will ship to the Netherlands?

  7. Anonymous

    I like the environmental bend to bringing one’s own cup, but also feel like it defeats part of the experience of eating/drinking out. It’s like bringing a plate to McDonald’s, and asking them to place your food directly on it–part of the experience of eating at McDonald’s is the opening of the bag, the unwrapping of the burger, etc. So I would add to your public/private sphere the additional dilemma of novel versus familiar. Drinking out, I want the novelty of a beverage container that I didn’t bring from home, even if it’s a reusable “starbucks” mug that they keep in-house. From a marketing angle, when you bought the Starbucks cups, it was to bring part of the “Starbucks experience” home with you. Once you start bringing the cup back to Starbucks for your drink, then your home experience starts intermingling with the Starbucks experience, diluting it one might even say. People may want to bring the Starbucks experience home, but who wants to bring the home experience to Starbucks? It’s cheaper just to drink coffee at home, then. The lines get all blurred, and it’s just all messy…

  8. julie

    I like the environmental bend to bringing one’s own cup, but also feel like it defeats part of the experience of eating/drinking out. It’s like bringing a plate to McDonald’s, and asking them to place your food directly on it–part of the experience of eating at McDonald’s is the opening of the bag, the unwrapping of the burger, etc. So I would add to your public/private sphere the additional dilemma of novel versus familiar. Drinking out, I want the novelty of a beverage container that I didn’t bring from home, even if it’s a reusable “starbucks” mug that they keep in-house. From a marketing angle, when you bought the Starbucks cups, it was to bring part of the “Starbucks experience” home with you. Once you start bringing the cup back to Starbucks for your drink, then your home experience starts intermingling with the Starbucks experience, diluting it one might even say. People may want to bring the Starbucks experience home, but who wants to bring the home experience to Starbucks? It’s cheaper just to drink coffee at home, then. The lines get all blurred, and it’s just all messy…

  9. Veronica

    Oh Panda, so many things…
    The young girls making video blogs cracked me up. But not as much as “Here, I could put you in this oven. But I will put you in this toaster.” That was priceless.
    I think the cicada thing is that all of the cicadas did not go into the Earth for 17 years ALL at once. Every year, they go into the earth, and those cicadas will not be back for 17 years or whatever it is, but the following year, the cicadas that went into the earth 17 years ago (not last years cicadas) are back. So every year, you have 17 year old cicadas coming back. It wasn’t a mass exodus.
    In NYC anyone who brings a travel mug or refillable vessel of some kind into a shop to get a refill would be looked at like some crazy psycho green hippie suburbanite. I was in Starbucks on Columbus Ave, and someone tried to do that, and the girl behind the counter refused to touch it. She looked horrified and said, “There is no way in HELL I’m touching your dirty dishes from your house! EWW!”
    However, out here in upstate NY, people do it all the time. Personally, I would never. I think it crosses that line between private and public. Or like you said, private and personal, hehehe. This was hysterical.

  10. LH

    I love that I could actually hear the cicadas in the background… reminds me of summers in Texas when I was a kid (not sure where all the Texas cicadas have gone but I don’t miss them). They are seriously freakish and disgusting beasts. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the horror, this picture pretty sums up everything that is wrong with a cicada:
    http://tinyurl.com/6ynql9
    Mr. Panda, I worked at Starbucks for many, many years, and can promise you that none of the baristas will give you a second glance for presenting the free coupon, with or without the mug. If you throw some change (or better yet, that dollar you were going to give the child) into the tip jar, they will think you are supar kewl. I never much liked the idea of making drinks in personal cups for the same reason Veronica said: it doesn’t seem hygienic. As a barista, I don’t know where that cup has been and I don’t really want to touch it or take it behind the counter. Of course, I’m sure your cup will be pristine, but on the whole I think encouraging people to bring their own cups is not a good idea. I will tell you that in my many years behind the counter, I handled some seriously gnarly cups. From the homeless guy with his paper cup that has been reused for months to the soccer mom who never takes her tumbler out of her car and asks me if I can rise the curdled remnants of last week’s white chocolate mocha out (seriously, happened ALL THE TIME), I was appalled at what was allowed behind the counter in the spirit of environmentalism. I say f— the environment, I don’t want to get E.coli.

  11. re

    Hi Panda さん cicada sound nice for me,,
    love scenery picture above
    never been to starbucks ;b
    im re from indonesia>>relaxtakeiteasy.multiply.com
    よろしくおねがいします ^_^

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