02 January 2006


For those of you interested in what might come to pass in the coming new year, I am predicting, among other things, a large earthquake in Mongolia, an abnormally high occurrance of conjoined twin births, and a 7% chance of the world ending. All these things might seems unrelatable to your current life situation, but I assure, they will affect you. The 7% chance of the world ending is rather low, I think, and means I can sleep more soundly this year than I did last.

I am currently riding a wave of productivity that finds me nearly done with my Madonna paper, finished with Murakami's _After the Quake_ in English, half-way through Murakami's _Kafka on the Shore_ also in English, and a page and a half through Murakami's 神の子供たちはみな踊る (kami no kodomotachi wa mina odoru) in Japanese. I am again on a Murakami kick mostly because I think he teaches me to love Japan and look at Japanese women as they are. There is more to be said there, I'm sure.

The translations of Murakami always intrigue me. I just read a part from _神の子供たちはみな踊る_ that had been translated in English, "His wife disappeared," but in Japanese the word wife is really "his wife's shape" or "his wife's figure" and the word for disappear is the same word you use when you say you shut off the lights. It's like a passive cut off or removal: it was cut off or it was removed. Maybe I will try a translation of one of these stories for fun. See how it compares to the official translation.

I also found a cheap flight to Paris on my preferred airline. I will be buying those tickets on Saturday, baring disater. Now, to get the woman to come over too.

Other than that, my friend Neal coined the phrase "New Year, New Neal" early on Sunday morning and I've been using it to refer to my desire to become a better person this new year. New Year, New Neal. Everyone now.

My diet hit a snag this weekend with everyone eating a lot of nonesense at parties, but I did my best to stay under my allotted calorie intake. I think I can give myself a little leeway in that I'm exercising my ass off. No real progress yet, though. I thought I saw some on Thursday, but it wasn't anything really. I have been trying to convince my American friends here that what passes as a healthy weight in America and what passes as overweight are seriously skewed. I was showing some folks a BMI chart, and someone actually said, "Yeah, but that doesn't take into account how broad your shoulders are." Honestly, now. I'm beginning to get tired of hearing people spout of psuedo-science all the time. No, no, no.

I also can't find running shoes in this country that fit.