31 July 2007

New Dress from 洋子の熊本の昔の会社の友達です。




30 July 2007

Working hard/ hardly working

I've been working on getting my presentations together for my trip to Bangladesh. I just finished the first one and it's looking pretty good, I guess. I'll post some of my slides one of these days. I did have this excellent conversation with the team leader for the trip:

Me: So how is the safety where we're going?
Team Leader: Oh, it's no problem, no problem. Just don't leave the airport unless someone meets you. It's very dangerous at the airport.
Me: Okay, I got it.
Team Leader: I mean it's not like you're going to get taken hostage or anything.
Me: Right, right...
Team Leader: And if you get taken hostage, at least you'll get to be on TV.

I also need to get my dissertation in some sort of publishable state in the next two and a half weeks, but it's not going so well. Not so well at all.

The baby and I had good daddy-baby time yesterday and today. She's a really great excuse to get out of church and sit in the church classroom having our 'ooo-aaaa' conversations. She's a talker.

I have things to say on Mormonism, Global Warming, Obama, and lots of other things when I get my shit together.

27 July 2007

Counting Crows

I've been listening to some live Counting Crows stuff, courtesy of Berkley Place. I like the Counting Crows, and if you think that makes me lame, well, I understand. Listening to this stuff reminded me of the time I saw the Counting Crows with my brother and girlfriend in high school. I was all excited about the show — it was the This Desert Life tour. But I just remember the sound totally blowing and everyone around us being dicks. There was a guy smoking crack or meth or something, too.

My brother and I have an interesting history of going to shows. We went to the MxPx/ Blink 182 tour at the end of the '90's. The raunchy language in the first two bands scared us so much, that after MxPx played, we left, fearing for our souls. Which is too bad because I missed Blink 182, which is another band I'm ashamed to say I like. I like them. The same girlfriend and I then saw them at the United Center three or four years later with Oasis and a bunch of other bands at one of those 25 minute, 8 big band shows. We also saw Sleeping at Last that same night, as I recall... No, no, wait, that was the next year. When we saw Live and Papa Roach and Jimmy Eat World or something.

That's right, I'm on vacation right now and my Journal of Computer Mediated Communication article is going nowhere fast. Faster, in fact, than my Powerpoint presentations for Bangladesh that need to be done in three weeks. Maybe I need to make a list of things to accomplish, like I did this Spring. That worked out, as I recall.

25 July 2007


I'm finished with my day jobs for a while now. Feels good. Now, to get some things done.

The Democratic debate was boring, full of boring people. All of them. My fire for Obama is not getting bigger. John Edwards on a 'journey' about gay marriage. Obama nailed that question though. Marriage, as it is defined in religious expression, should be up to the religious folks. I totally agree.

Huge world traveler moment for me today. Ran out of pages in my passport. Got my passport sent back from my Bangladeshi Embassy it needs more pages. How do you get more pages? Well, your home embassy has to put them in. So here is the trip my passport will be on the next couple of weeks:
  1. Last week, my passport went from Niigata to the Bangladeshi Embassy in Tokyo
  2. Lack of pages gets it sent back to Niigata.
  3. I pick up my passport today, go to the post office and mail it to the US embassy for more pages.
  4. Saturday or Sunday, my passport should be back in Niigata
  5. On Monday, I will take it to Japanese Immigration to apply for my Japanese Visa.
  6. After getting a stamp saying that I applied for my Japanese visa, my passport with then travel back to Tokyo (alone) to get my Bangladesh visa.
  7. It will travel back to Niigata, only to return to Tokyo and the US embassy on August 17th so that we can apply for baby's US passport and SS and other US stuff.
  8. My passport will then actually go to Bangladesh.
  9. Upon returning to Niigata, it will then go back to Japanese Immigration to get my official Japanese visa.
  10. Then it will have a rest.

23 July 2007

Politics, as usual

Romney pisses me off.
Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney took aim at Democratic rivals on Sunday, calling them all unprepared to lead the country and comparing economic plan of Hillary Clinton to that of Socialist Karl Marx.
What is a rational response to this? Well, it's simply pointing out how it is silly to demonize someone calling them a communist. This is, of course, 2007. Really now Mitt.

But the Clinton campaign's mature, measured response?
A Clinton spokeswoman shot back, challenging Romney's record.

"Given how often Romney flip-flops, tomorrow he will be touting his membership in the Communist Party," Kathleen Strand said.
Sound-byte answered with sound-byte. And the American political system gets another unfortunate kick in the groin.

20 July 2007

Baby melts heart of steel, takes no prisoners

I came home from work today to find the baby all grown up. When I went to say hello, I picked her up, but instead of doing her normal bobble-head routine which involves a lot of skirming to get comfortable, she put her head on my shoulder and grabbed onto my shirt, smiling. This was brand new and followed by some more brand new behavior, including watching me walk around the room.


I finally finished this biography of Mao that I feel like I have been reading all summer. To my credit, it was really long. Anyway, it occurs to me that a lot of the 'Communist' leaders of the last century were really shitty Communists. Mao, really, wasn't a Communist so much as a Maoist. He was, like Lenin and Stalin, a totalitarian dictator that used the word 'Communism' to promote his own philosophy, but it's not really Communism.

The book was really one-sided, so I am hoping to find something a little more balanced. My reading list is pretty long right now, though. Next up is Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence. It looks okay.

18 July 2007

Up all night

I've been watching a lot of the Senate 'debate' last night or all day, depending. First of all, 'debate' is a misrepresentation. Lots of the same thing being said by different looking white guys from both parties saying the same thing, depending on the R or D next to their name. Second, Harry Reid, with all due respect, needs to work on a real compromise rather than this nonsense. This is a waste of time. Third, I'm tired of all this, 'I'm going to do what I think regardless of what my constituents want.' Bush is all up on this: I am doing what's right, forget public opinion. Unfortunately for Mr. Bush, our government is not built to support this sort of governing given our occasional 'elections.' You see, as an elected official, you job is not to represent your opinion, but the opinion of your constituents. That's what Democratic Republic means. Am I right, or am I right?

But I think I missed Obama. Or he hasn't spoken yet. Or something. This should be his moment — he should totally take it to the wall here. Come on.

16 July 2007


There was a pretty bad earthquake today just south of Niigata City. 5 people have died and over 700 are injured, according to NHK. We are okay, as is our apartment, but it did knock pictures off the top of the TV and was more intense in Matsuhama than the Chuetsu Earthquake a couple of years ago. You can read more here. Or at the Times, which includes this great quote from soon-to-be former Prime Minister Abe:
''We want to do all we can to ensure safety ... and to quell everyone's concerns,'' said Abe, whose ruling party is trailing in the polls. ''I want to get a picture of what happened and also want everyone to feel a little bit more secure.''
Yes, seeing Prime Minster Abe always makes me feel a little bit more secure.

15 July 2007

Two months of baby

The baby is two months today and enjoying herself by throwing up on everything. I think I got most of it cleaned up though. This frog shirt, from Yoko's friend Sayumi is perfect for her. Naomi and the frog perpetually have the same expression on their faces.

Last night, we went out to my good friend Victor's going away party. A lot of things happened.

12 July 2007

Ah, crap. And consolation prize

Dear Mr Philaja

Thank you for your application for a funded studentship in the Centre for Education and Educational Technology at The Open University. You put in a strong application which is why you were called for a telephone interview.

I know that you will be very disappointed to hear that your application has not been successful. I would like to reassure you that we thought highly of the proposal that you submitted and you were competing against an extremely strong field of candidates.
If I may I'd like to reply off-the-record. Your application and interview were first-rate and I can't think of anything in particular that you could have done to improve it. Unfortunately we had just one studentship available for this topic and there was someone with rather more experience. You shouldn't feel downhearted at all about this outcome although I'm sure it is disappointing.

I'd be delighted if you applied next year...

11 July 2007

Grand Turismo

I can't sleep because I am waiting for a response from the OU. And I finished my dissertation for the most part now too. With nothing to do, not sleeping, I have been playing Grand Turismo. I love Grand Turismo so much.

10 July 2007

Leveling out, Misc.

Baby is laying on the bed making all sort of plans for the future. She's really good at keeping herself entertained, which is great for us and sometimes, she looks like she's having so much fun, I have to go over and check it out with her. She's smiling all the time now. It's funny that I didn't want to have her until she was actually born. I suspect I will spend the rest of my life trying to make that up to her and Yoko. She is everything I could ask for, really.

09 July 2007

Hey, hey

Yoko, the baby, and I have made it back safely from our anniversary trip to the mountains to enjoy the Japanese Inn experience. The place we stayed was okay, but won big points with me for offering an Italian menu, which is rare in the mountains. I ate so much, I threw up. No kidding. Anyway, the wife, baby, and I enjoyed the soothing waters. Year Two is shaping up well so far.

Bangladesh might be a poor country but they are making a lot on my visa. 120 USD. You gotta be kidding me. They do understand that this is Bangladesh?

08 July 2007

One year

Yoko and I have been married for one year and we have also agreed to try for another one, hopefully without making a baby this time.

07 July 2007

Getting older

You know that you're getting old when going to the mall is great because you can change the baby easily and the elevator is really convenient with the stroller... and you're excited about a couple of coupons you have for McDonald's and that you will be able to get Frappuccino at Starbucks. If you ever reach this point in your life and feel content, it's all over. But call me because we should totally get together. 

05 July 2007

Teaching English in Japan

You might find this website interesting. I know that I do. It will tell what it's like to teach English at an English school in Japan. I do not and have never taught at one of these schools, so I always am intrigued by stories from inside.

I don't comment very much on what life is like in Japan. Maybe because it's all too normal now. The truth is, it's all very normal.

Al Gore the Third was arrested yesterday, but he was driving a Prius, so it's okay. No hypocrisy there.  And a liberal hippie with marijuana? Come on!

03 July 2007

I fucked it up

I had my interview today. They told me that they were going to call me at 6:30, but they actually called at 5:30, as I was stepping out of the shower. And it sort of went downhill from there. The good news is that they will give me more money for each dependant I have (two); the bad news is I would have to start in October for sure. The additional bad news is that I won't know if I've made it for another two weeks.

I feel like I blew it, more-or-less. I didn't pay enough attention on the application, typed my birthday as 6/27/07. Misunderstood some British English. A couple of questions I just totally had to pull answers out of my ass. Oh, it was bad. I wish I could just tell the truth sometimes: 'I don't know the answer to that question; I have to think about it more.'

Anyway, check back in the next couple of weeks and we'll have the official word.

Baby with personality

The baby is working hard at acquiring a personality. Today, we were hanging out and when she started to get agitated. This was followed, predictably, by a very thoughtful expression, and then a small explosion. Wow, I thought, that must have been a big one: my leg feels warm. Well, my leg felt warm because the baby had broken loose from her diaper and I was covered in baby shit. This, however, didn't phase me at all, and I calmly took all her clothes off and hosed her down before handing her over to the wife, taking all my clothes off, and hosing myself down.

They don't tell you that before you have a baby, but mark my words, you will get shit on. And pee'd on — I'm up to three times with this one, no wait four? I lost count, more than three times —and you will probably not be really bothered by it. Is this a sign of maturity or just giving up? I'm not really sure.

The Concluder

Apparently the President is not only the decider, but also the concluder:
"I respect the jury's verdict," Bush said in a statement. "But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison."

The whole mess here. Apparently the he's trying to see if he can get an approval rating that's any lower than what he has now.

Slightly reassured

Some of our opponents have tried to deflect attention from the obvious power and momentum of the movement we’re building by pointing to national polls, that are all but meaningless.  Indeed, at this juncture four years ago, Joe Lieberman had a solid lead in national polls.  In the fall of 2003, the leaders were Howard Dean and Wesley Clark.  You’ll recall, none of these men were the nominee.

02 July 2007

The year, in review

My wife and child have been sleeping for what seems like days. They grunt and snore, but never seem to wake up. So I just sit in the dark here, wondering, will they ever wake up?

I'm helping a PhD student studying body and mind translate Martin Heidegger's 'Being and Time' into Japanese. I'm all up on Dasein now, and how extentia differs from existence. Well, sort of. Well, actually I have no idea what 90% of it means. I just sip my coffee, nod, and say, 'Well, you have to understand that "lies in" is a metaphor.'

01 July 2007

Family goes home, apartment is cleaned

My parents and sister went home this morning. This is really unfortunate because we had a very good time while they were here and the baby seems to like her Grandmother, especially. Now, I am putting the apartment back together, piece by piece and trying to consolidate some things. This is going as well as can be expected.

I have my interview on Tuesday for the PhD studentship at the Open Universtiy. and am trying not to think too seriously about all the possibilities and choices my little family has to make in the next six to nine months. Seriously, I have the sense that I will think about this decision more than I did about getting married. I don't know what that says about me.

Lastly, I'll admit that I like Justin Timberlake and that his latest record (futurelovesexsounds or something) is playing on my iPod. Please, have all the fun you want with that, but you know what? It's a great record.