28 February 2007
I am coasting into the end of the school year at the large, private high school where I work. It's been a trying couple of days for me as a "teacher", starting with being given a bunch of free beer tickets for teaching a children's class for two years, and punctuated by coming to work to find the official staff picture that had included everyone (and I mean everyone), but me. Nothing like that to help you feel good about yourself.
Anyway, check out this. Fibe-mini is the best fiber drink in the world. The flash starts with the line, "Things I want to come out of my body." Oh man. It still hasn't worked though.
27 February 2007
Doctoral fever is in the air for Stephe-O, folks. After some encouraging news on the MA front, I think I might be gunning for the PhD in the next couple of years. Also, I am planning on renewing my call for Bob Kurtz to become a doctor, so I can sing "Doctor Robert" to him.
The works of an auctor (as opposed to just a writer of, say, lectures, sermons, or even fables or lyric poems) carried auctoritas, or authority. Authority came from the fact that the work possessed two vital qualities: intrinsic worth and authenticity. (Baron, 2001: 51)
Now, how that applies to all the slack-jaws out there blogging is soon to be determined.
But really, just fascinating stuff about punctuation and grammar and spelling. Things that I would like to say to the teachers at my school if it were not to be met with a very obviously feigned interest and some crap about how they don't really have a choice in what or how they teach. If we are all puppets and there is no puppet-master, we can just lie here until someone does something with us.
26 February 2007
25 February 2007
24 February 2007
23 February 2007
After a week of sunny weather, the weather is total pants now.
22 February 2007
I handed out surveys at my new class to get a feel for where people are at and also give them the impression that I was listening to them. Not that I don't listen to my students--because I do. I just think sometimes teachers know more about what students need than students. Anyway, same class, two people want completely different things. What do you do? Do you talk naturally or not?
This makes me think, what would Obama do? Well, he would talk naturally and slow at the same time. Such a high standard.
I'm also writing my first syllabus for the college class. Dude, to fail my class you are going to have to be not only a dunce, but a non-attending dunce. You turn something in? You're set! Then there's another paper that I am writing for "The Language Teacher" about Helter Skelter English. I think it's going to be a winner.
Lastly, Yoko and I slow danced to Norah Jones in the booze store.
20 February 2007
I found out that in Japan when you have a baby, the government pays you. Yeah, seriously. Like $100 a month.
Which reminds me that I had a dream about the baby last night, that it was crying and I went to pick her up. This is much better than other dreams I've had in which the child speaks very good English and criticizes me. It also had a full head of very black hair.
18 February 2007
It's rare that I take a good picture on my phone, much less one that feels like it has something to say. This one, taken from a parking lot on the top of a grocery store, feels like it has something to say. This one tells us a lot about Niigata City as it is, at least in my mind.
This one, taken on the other side of Niigata, tells a much different story, on a much clearer day. I love the feeling of coming over a hill and seeing the Sea of Japan like this. It reminds me of the time my former mentor and hero, Mr. Neal and I went out to this beach during a typhoon to "see what might happen". It was really disappointing and we ended up going to a curry restaurant instead.
Speaking of former mentor and hero, his girlfriend gave him some wicked Mongolian music and he in turn gave it to me. Mongolian pop is a lot like every other kind of world pop I have heard, only in Mongolian.
17 February 2007
A Japanese toilet is just a flushing hole in the ground. A brilliant country otherwise. And you know that sometimes they even got these great Western toilets that wash you, dry you, and treat you kindly. You can imagine what these buttons do!
But the holes in the ground. I hate you holes in the ground.
15 February 2007
Also, saw Obama on 60 minutes. Awesome. I love how straightforward he was. Much better than on Face the Nation. He made a good point about why he calls himself black and not white. If you look at Obama, you assume he's a black man, so he is treated as a black man. His ancestors weren't slaves, but as he said, taxidrivers don't have any question about his race. He talks about smoking. He talks about blow. He and his wife talk about fighting. It's either the greatest, most elaborate political hoax in years, or he's the real deal.
1850ish-1940ish The pinnacle of world literature, if you ask me.
I tried to find a picture of Dorian Gray, but there were just a lot of very unfortunate pictures of some very unfortunate people. This one is nice--a German artist I guess. I can't read German. Anyway, I totally dig Gray's face in this one. It's like, "Whatcha talkin' bout, Willis?"
If you listen to enough people talk, you'd think losing weight is really, really hard and only the most skilled people can do it. Well, it's not true. The truth is losing weight is really easy, it's controlling what you eat that's hard. When you start counting up your calories for a day and try to hit a reasonable goal (for me right now, it's between 1,900 and 2,000), it's ridiculous how much less food that is than you would eat on a normal day. On a normal day if I didn't pay attention to what I ate, I would probably put away between 2,500 and 2,600 calories, without even thinking about it. Overeating is really, really easy.
So getting a handle on that is hard, I think, but really rewarding because you start to be less controlled by what you want and when you want it and you start to control your desires a little bit. You don't eat a cookie because you choose not to. It's empowering. And then you start losing weight and your pants get a little bigger and you start feeling better. It's a great little cycle.
I encourage you to give it a shot.
And if it's not your time, that's okay. Give this a shot instead. More on Wilde later.
13 February 2007
I got the bug to run last night and I thought getting up this morning at 6:50 was the best way to satisfy myself. So I did. I have been running 8 or 9 km a day this week, instead of my usual 4 or 5. It feels good. After three, everything is the same.
I’m also reading Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, which is just about the gayest thing I have ever read. And by gay I don’t mean queer and by queer I don’t mean strange. I mean, there is a lot of homosexual undertones and some overtones in it. It’s not bad though, but a little bit too much after having read The Alchemist. Next is a Nastume Soseki novel which I am looking forward to the most. Dorian Gray is sort of a road bump.
I also did a little bit of volunteer work at an elementary school that I used to work at. It was weird being back and I quickly remembered why I had quit. I love kids, but that’s really a lie. Some kid made fun of my accent and I LAID into him (kindly, but strongly) in Japanese. It was a really fine moment. Maybe he’ll even remember it. I feel much better sitting here, at high school, with my cup of tea and Internet access. And my desk. My desk is great.
12 February 2007
That's not to say that I have turned my back on my good friend tofu. Not by a long shot. Tofu in ramen? Magnificent. Tofu and egg omlette? Well, you can't even TASTE the tofu. So there. Problem solved.
And I've lost 1 kilo already.
Last night, I finally saw, Walk the Line. Now, let me just say, I was a Johnny Cash fan way before this movie, like by at least 6 months. But I enjoyed it. I mean, if you like watching someone pretending to be Johnny Cash. I also finally realized what the word "biopic" meant.
Now, only a few short months until American VI. And maybe a new Radiohead record? Eh, Radioheads?
11 February 2007
10 February 2007
This picture should give you a good idea of how to imagine me as I write to you tonight.
Tonight was the monthly two hour trip to the OB/GYN. I always get my hopes up that this trip will not take two hours, but it always does and I have been getting progressively better at not being upset about it. Anyway, so we had the ultrasound and I wanted to show you all what the deal is. Basically, there are two highlights here, the first being the little baby's beating heart and the second being the real good shot of the face that comes up. I was going to subtitle everything, but I don't have the time or the energy. In the first clip I am complaining about having to wait for an hour and half. In the second clip, the doctor points out parts of the baby and tells us that everything is okay.
09 February 2007
So my boy Asashoryu got accused of buying off sumo bouts in the November tournament last year. What a load of crap. I mean, seriously, of all the things Asashoryu might be, needing to buy-off opponents is not one. Just because he's cocky and arrogant doesn't mean that he's not the best sumo wrestler of the modern era. Which he is, by the way. If only he was Japanese... then we wouldn't be having these problems...
I got this post of up on Helter Skelter about the Alchemist. Great book. Check it out.
Oh and I passed my Japanese proficiency exam. Not by any, you know, amazing margin. But I passed.
Finally, this is how I have spent most of my life since coming to Japan. From April, this will almost completely disappear. I'm only a little sad to see it go. But still... a little sad.
07 February 2007
- Throw some tofu into a blender. Like 100 grams or 300 grams, it doesn't really matter
- Throw some other stuff into the blender. Bananas, yogurt, juice, milk. Beer. Kinda depends on how sweet you want it.
- Throw some ice in too. You know, eye-ball it.
Now, isn't that a delicious, low calorie snack you've just made? Doesn't taste quite right? Well, you seem to have screwed up the ratios. Try it again. Practice makes perfect.
I had a moment of pure honesty last night, unfettered by what I wanted to be true or what I didn't want to be true. Just, how it was. It was great. More of that to come, I hope.
06 February 2007
03 February 2007
I swear this place had like 15 menus. I mean, I counted. There were 15. We also sat on the same side of the booth.
02 February 2007
I also did some work on my MySpace page, although I fundamentally reject MySpace.
I also updated my workspace at school so it won't be a disaster anymore.
Lastly, winter finally came to Niigata and I couldn't be an more upset about it. Today, on the bridge, everyone forgot how to drive and felt that the best way to deal with the snow was to just stop. We can't go on. I was more than a little unhappy about it.
New Bright Eyes is the sh. Check it, or die! (HT)
01 February 2007
I am also getting ready to launch a new blog for my students which will hopefully include worksheets, homework assignments, video, and EFL links galore. Anyone want to suggest a good wordpress scheme to use where you can see on the side of the page as opposed to the bottom? Anyone want to suggest a good name for it?
Lastly, Will Smith was on TV here last week with Japanese super-pop group SMAP. As they do with foreign celebrities, SMAP challenged Will Smith to a game of nine ball pool, which Smith totally cleaned up on. Then, he was given the throne to sit in and the members of SMAP were supposed to tell him sad stories from their childhood to win his favor.
Hezaa Sensei touched on this story earlier this week and the news is still all abuzz. The Yahoo! translation wasn't that hot in my opinion, but it sort of depends on how you read [機械というのはなんだけど] which I would translate as, "Not necessarily machines, but" or "Machines might not be the best word, but". Well, however you look at it, it doesn't sound that great and I'm no master of communicating with the ladies, but I think anything about baby machines should be out. Especially if you're going to let women vote.
The Prime Minister was on the TV tonight apologizing, as was Yanagisawa, but doesn't look like the brother is going to have to step down. What a great country. In America, this guy would be under criminal investigation and a crowd of liberals, riding unicorns, would have his head. In Japan?
Abe, responding to an opposition questioner at a House of Representatives plenary session, said, "Cabinet ministers' remarks weigh heavily and (Yanagisawa) should reflect on causing misunderstanding."Don't hate the player, man. Reflect on the game.
"But, I'd like to see (Yanagisawa) perform his duties and achieve results, based on such reflections," Abe said.
When I was in the States, Yoko and I went with my famed older brother to one of the most bourgeoisie stores I have ever been to: a running shoe store. At this store, very friendly salespeople try to sell you a load of BS by telling you that you need to change running shoes every 300 or 400 or 500 miles or something ridiculous like that. My bourgeoisie older brother who is training for the big bourgeoisie super conference, bought new shoes there. I decided to not drink the proverbial "kool-aid" and instead opted to hold out on my old Spalding set. I mean, every 400 miles? That's like every four months. Seriously.
Anyway, when I went to Tokyo this weekend I finally folded and got new shoes and let me tell you, I still support the revolution, but new running shoes (from Nike, none-the-less) are effing awesome. They respond. You bounce. Your feet stop swimming around and stay in one place. It's awesome.
I got internet at my desk at work finally which means I will be updating all the time now. Dumb updates, I assure you, but updates.