Last updated 6/18/09



Monday, December 22, 2008

Schedule

Hey, so I realize I've been scarce lately, but t'is the time of end-of-the-year parties and exams. That, and mom, Julie, and E are arriving today for their visit to the land of the rising sun. I'll try to have another vlog entry next week, but for now vlogging and blogging will be light. 

Catch up with you soon!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's a crappy paper

Man, the NYT has really become a fish rag. Nothing like a little over-analyzing, elitist intellectual review of a holiday classic for the season:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Jukin' Japan 5

This post is a day late, but here's number 5:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

We've got a good 28 years left

Man, this thing has a better chance of hitting us than of any of us winning the lottery. Woot.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Caution: Don't use IE

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/12/17/still-on-ie/

Personally, I mostly use Chrome these days, although Firefox was my transitionary browser.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lemons into Lemonade

People don't often feel bad for telemarketers, but at least it's an honest living, right?

Edit: 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Say a prayer...

...and be grateful for what you have. I can't imagine what this guy must be going through right now. I hope God helps him find the strength to carry on.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bathroom for rent

I just can't tell whether this is a joke or not, but it's funny either way.

The Chicago Way

We'll see if Mr. Obama brings Chicago-style politics to the White House. I hope not...but hey, this could be a repeat of the Clinton years in some ways.

The article is an interesting one, looking at the Chicago politcal machine, however the end feels a bit rushed. Mr. Engber offers a possible metric for measuring the "corruptness" of the city, then says it may not be an accurate way to measure. Instead of just offering some other methods for determining "corruptness," why not do a little more research and actually employ his own suggestions? Then he could have (probably) backed up his assertions.

Shower Exclusive

Episode 4 of Jukin' Japan - check it out!

Ha, my 5 seconds of fame

I was on Japanese TV, because I am a friend of the band. What band, you ask? This band.

Magic Words

There's this Japanese song I was introduced to back when I was studying a few years ago at Waseda in Tokyo, called "Mahou no kotoba," by a band name Spitz. That's "Magic Words" in English.
In one of my classes, the teacher played it for us in class and gave us the lyrics on a sheet of paper. I meant to translate it, but my skills were no match for colloquial Japanese. I'm kind of encouraged today, though - I think I've come a long way since then.

A long time ago I had seen some translation of the lyrics on YouTube, but that was too long ago for me to remember. I figured this would be good practice, so today I decided to do my best to translate the Japanese into English on my own. So using just my dictionary I did my best, and then altered a couple lines slightly after consulting with one of the teachers sitting next to me...the consultation was minimal, though appreciated.

Anyway, first, here's the song, if you're interested: Video

Here is my translation:

Afure sou na kimochi muri yari kakushite 

It’s impossible to stop these overflowing feelings

Kyou mo mata tooku bakkari mite ita

 Today I was only looking far off again
Kimi to katari atta kudara nai are kore

 The trivial things that I used to talk to you about
Dakishimete dou ni ka ikiteru kedo 
Somehow I’m continuing on, but…
Mahou no kotoba futari dake ni wa wakaru

 Magic words, that only the two of us know
Yumemiru toka sonna hima mo nai kono goro 

Now those times are like a dream I can no longer see
Omoidashite okashikute ureshikute

 But I’m glad to think of them
Mata aeru yo yakusoku shi nakute mo 
We can meet again; no need for promises
Taoreru you ni nete naki nagara mezamete 
I wake up from my tearful sleep

Hitogomi no naka de boso boso utau

 Swallowed up in the middle of a crowd, I sing
Kimi wa nani shiteru? Egao ga mitaizo

 What are you doing? I want to see your smile
Furi kabutte wagamama sora ni nageta                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
I rose up and threw my selfishness to the sky
Mahou no kotoba kuchi ni sureba mijikaku

 Magic words, said only briefly
Dakedo kouka wa sugoi mono ga aru tte koto de

But with amazing effects

Daremo shira nai barete mo iro ase nai

 No one knows, if it comes out it doesn’t fade
Sono ato no SUTOORII wake aeru hi made 
After that story until the day we will share again
Hana wa utsukushiku toge mo utsukushiku

Flowers are beautiful, thorns should also be beautiful 
Nekko mo utsukushii hazu sa 
Roots should also be beautiful, too
Mahou no kotoba futari dake ni wa wakaru 

Magic words, that only the two of us know
Yumemiru toka sonna hima mo nai kono goro

 Now those times are like a dream I can no longer see
Omoidashite okashikute ureshikute 

But I’m glad to think of them
Mata aeru yo yakusoku shi nakute mo 

We can meet again; no need for promises
Aeru yo aeru yo
We can meet again, we can meet again…

Here is a much cleaner English translation that I found online:

I forced myself to hide these feelings that overflow 
And once again today I did nothing but look off into the distance 
All those trivial things I talked about with you 
I clutch them tightly and try to live somehow 

Magic words only we can understand 
Lately I don't have time for dreaming and such 
When I remember, it's funny and makes me happy 
We'll see each other again, even without a promise 

I sleep as if I've collapsed and awaken crying 
I whisper a song in the crowd 
What are you doing? I want to see your smile 
I raised my hands and threw my selfishness into the sky 

Magic words, so short when I say them 
But the effect is really amazing 
No one ones and if they find out, it won't fade 
Until the day we can share the rest of the story 

Flowers are beautiful, even the thorns are beautiful 
The roots must be beautiful, too 

Magic words only we can understand 
Lately I don't have time for dreaming and such 
When I remember, it's funny and makes me happy 
We'll see each other again, even without a promise 
We'll see each other, we'll see each other

I apologize for the formatting sloppiness - Blogger is good like that. Anyway, my translation was off in some places and not as nicely worded as the second one, but I'm pretty satisfied that I was able to come close. I need victories like that when fluency is such a daunting challenge...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Great Headline

Agree or not, this is a winning headline.

Gamers!

A recent study showed that, on average, there's a better than 50% chance that you play video games.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Updates

So I'll have a new Jukin' Japan coming out within the next few days. Meanwhile, a few links for your entertainment:

(Video game stuff):


(Memorium):


(Outrage!):

What the hell - they took out "elf," "dwarf," and "goblin." Those pompous bastards.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

'Tis the Season

The Christmas season is upon us, which brings me to a rather mushy, Charlie-Brown-Christmas-esque request. If any of you are considering sending me a present, please don't trouble yourself. Letters or postcards would be much appreciated and gladly received; times are tough and international package delivery isn't cheap. What is really important during the Christmas season? Family, friends, and being thankful for what we have. This year my mom and sister and one of my best friends will be visiting me for the holidays, and that's all I need. That and cheddar cheese, which I recently procured.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Episode 3: Cheese and Ninja

New Jukin' Japan - check it out!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Next One

Sorry, but lately I've been pretty busy. I will be putting up Episode 3 of Jukin' Japan within the next couple days, so please be patient. That is all.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

More Japan Blog Goodness

Check out my friend Joe's new vlog - pretty funny ranting, very accurate.

Friday, November 28, 2008

T-Day

Belated happy Thanksgiving to ye all. I almost missed it, being that there was no turkey in sight.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jukin' Episode 2

Here it is, Episode 2. I don't expect to keep releasing videos at this pace, but this is my trip to Nagasaki. 

Enjoy!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Crickets

I know a lot of my topics have been kind of...off topic? But I've noticed a decline in comments. Are you still reading? Give me a sign.

Creepy Crawlers

I just wanted to talk for a moment about something that freaks me out. I'm not a big fan of spiders, but I've gotten a little more used to them since I've been here, since I've had to live with some. There was this little white spider that lived outside my door for a couple months. I got used to seeing her everyday, but unfortunately she disappeared a couple weeks ago and I fear that she either reached the end of her naturally short lifespan, or she was eaten by a bird or something. 

Anyway, there are still some spiders here that really give me the heebie-geebies, and I've seen them all over the place - in Nagasaki, in Hiroshima, and even at my school. These things have all the characteristics of a creepy spider - they're big, they're colorful, and they just hang out in their web and take you by surprise.

I got some decent pictures of them at Nagasaki when I was walking down a mountain road (long story, I'll explain in the next Jukin' episode). I believe I've identified them, and although I don't think they're a threat to people, they still freak me the hell out. Have a look:

[Shiver]

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Returned

Well I'm back from Nagasaki. Was a very interesting trip, and I have a lot of pictures and footage. I hope to put another video together soon, but I am exhausted; we'll see if I'll have the energy today. 

More soon!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jukin' Japan

Ok, finally got my first vlog together. It's a little rough around the edges, but I expect to get better at this.

Have a look: Episode 1

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The economic crisis - how did it happen?

I think many people don't realize, but the explanation is simple enough for a 10-year old to understand. And the same 10-year old could explain why our "solution" (the bailout) is a nonsensical decision. Now if only Mr. Obama had a 10-year old on staff...

And that is not a partisan attack - Republican leaders such as McCain and Gingridge are supporting the bailout, as well...it's gonna be a long winter.

America: No King But Caesar

This article paints a grim picture, but it could be true that our nation "has no future" or has entered into "the beginning of the twilight." I don't mean to be overdramatic, but I really do despair when I stop to think about how many Catholics voted pro-choice, whether or not they realized the gravity of their decision. I guess I'll try not to think about it.


On the "bright side," if there is one, this.
And it is true that the Catholic Church has thrived under persecution. I'm not saying that we are (overtly) persecuted at the moment, but our values are challenged. It just remains to be seen how many true Catholics and "culture warriors," to borrow the expression from Bill O'Reilly, will stand up and defend what is right.

Father General Major

A true American hero: Paratrooper Padre.

Getting out the garbage

Republican Sen. Ted Stevens was not reelected this cycle. Good...the GOP doesn't need guys like him, nor does the Senate.



ALSO:

Remember when I said I hope Obama governs like Clinton? Not that I recant, but...careful what you wish for, I guess.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yay grammar!

Grammar +1.

Pirates strike again.

+1 Pirates...again.

Cult of Personality

Edit: 2:01 p.m. JPT - Updated the link so that it now is accompanied by a poll showing that the video was not just representative of random idiots, but of many voters.

Good to know how informed most people are...

So tell me again why high voter turnout is a good thing?


Monday, November 17, 2008

Mustache

Mustache indeed. I love how the host (or interviewer; whoever he is) just rolls with it.

Not going to get into a religious/political commentary or debate on this one, but just wanted to point out that Chuck Norris has thrown another observational political roundhouse. I didn't realize he was so outspoken.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Some Pictures

Today I screwed around a bit at the park with my new camera. Some of the shots are kind of gaudy, but I'm still playing around. Anyway, comments and feedback are appreciated!

Update 11/16/08

Sorry for not updating for a while. I've been busy, but the main excuse is that I've been relaxing and doing some preparation for my vlog (video blog). 
I bought a new camera yesterday and it's very nice: Cannon IXY Digital 3000 IS. Also, my friend Steve and I were approached by an English-speaking Japanese Jehovah's Witness at a random little train station yesterday. He even had an English booklet to give us. What are the odds?
The bad news is that I checked my bank account yesterday for the first time since opening it, and I have about $900 less than I had calculated I should have by now. That's a downer...gonna have to tighten my belt this month, although it'll be a little tough considering I'm going to Nagasaki next week...oh well.

More to come this week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wow

That's great - almost as catchy as the original(...?).

More stupendous stories

Edit: 11:07 pm JST - Added "Yankin it in Europe" to my "Other Places to See" column.

I just wanted to share some more awesome writings 'a la my students.
Let me emphasize that I am not making fun of them at all. Mistakes are the cornerstone of language education. We learn from them and they can be pretty damn funny. I've been learning Japanese for over four years, and I still say a lot of stupid stuff. That said, this is one of the reasons I love teaching a lot of these kids - they often surprise me with their creativity and sense of humor.

This assignment was part of a lesson on ordering food in English. Students worked in pairs for about 10 minutes to come up with their own mini-skits. Here are some of the results:

1.

Waiter (W): Hellow, welcome to Namizu's Restaurant. May I take your order?
Customer (C): Can I see a menu Please?
W: Sure
C: I'd like you Please.
W: Perdon?
C: I'd like you Please!
W: Yes!
C: Really?!
W: Yes, I love you.
C: Let's go to your house.

Soon hug forever... -end-

2.

W: Hello! Welcome to Friend's. I take your order
C: Yes, can I have a steak please? But don't made in China.
W: Sure Would you like some thing to drink?
C: I'd like a cola please
But don't made in China
W: Anything else
C: No thank you that's it
W: Thank you?

3.

W: Good morning, welcome to MacDonald. May I take your order?
C: Can I see a menu, please?
W: Sure
C: I'd like egg mcmuffin
W: Would you like something to drink?
C: I'd lik a cola, please
W: Anything else?
C: I'd like a smile, please.
W: Sure.

These kids have clearly mastered the art of comical writing. I especially love how the two who wrote #2 don't trust China. Questioning the quality/safety of Chinese goods is almost always funny. Unless you live in China.
I also had a pair adapt a skit to ordering gas, and I had another pair who wrote something similar to #3, except in their version after the customer orders a smile, the waiter gets pissed off and yells at the customer to leave.

Anyhow, that's about it for now.
If I can muster the free time soon, I plan on attempting some video blogs. I've been inspired by a friend of mine, so let me just take the time to plug Rob's video blog: Yankin' it in Europe: An American Guide to Studying Abroad. I should note that it pertains largely to studying in Europe, although I can vouch for the fact that some of his suggestions and observations do hold relevance in other regions (like Japan), as well. I would recommend checking it out - Rob has a good knack for combining humor with interesting facts and tidbits. And honestly, his videos and camera techniques are improving with each episode. If you're interested in London or international, uh, stuff - check it out.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Whoa

Crazy tough jogger.

I can't imagine running a mile with an animal attached to my arm, then throwing it in the trunk and driving to the hospital. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Winners and Losers

I think it's safe to say that this past Tuesday produced some very clear winners and losers. There is celebration; there is bitterness. Time will tell if wounds will heal.

For the town of Obama in Japan, it is a happy time. The town of some 32,000 people hasn't been in the limelight like this since...well, ever. Nor will it likely ever be again. Ok, Obama - enjoy it. You've earned it, by coincidentally having the same name as the wildly popular US President-elect. Well done. And I'm sure Barrack will be quite pleased with that statue of him you're building. 

Meanwhile, McCain Foods LTD. has, quite gracefully, let Obama, Japan enjoy this victory. In a 
classy display of optimism, McCain recently released the following statement: "McCain Foods opens new Florenceville plant."
I'm sure it would have been nice to have your name attached to the highest office in the land, McCain, but now it's time to fall back 
and lick your wounds. Yes, lick those tasty, tasty wounds.


The change we don't need

Some people I've talked to don't know about the Freedom of Choice Act. It's a shame, because it's one reason Obama is so extreme. If more people had known about it -- nah, probably wouldn't have made a difference. Don't want to vote on one issue, right? Even if it means thousands upon thousands of more lives per year.

Here's some info:


Here is Barack promising to advance it:


"...I am absolutely convinced that culture wars are just so 90's. Their days are growing dark.It is time to turn the page. We want a new day, here in America. We're tired about arguing about the same old stuff."

Oohh - the pro-choice crowd is tired of arguing about abortion. So I guess they should just shut up the pro-lifers and move on, aye? Well, now they have the Presidency and Congress, so they will probably be able to do just that. Yay change.

Hopefully they'll be too focused on the economy to worry about this for a while...but I'm not holding my breath.

On a lighter note..look, a kitten!

So here's a short clip from this weekend. One activity took us to a local park, and there were lots of cats. This one little cat was jumping all around and when I sat down it hopped on me a couple times.


video

What a champ

It happens all the time - I'm sitting there thinking that Chuck Norris couldn't be more awesome, and -BAM- I'm proven wrong.

The world hails its savior...

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=081105070505.sjsfsgyt&show_article=1

This is my favorite line:
"'Because Obama has won, we will have a change in the whole world. And for that I will slaughter a cockrel to celebrate with my family,'" said Joseph Otieno, a jubilant Kogelo resident."

The people are choosing death


The Culture of death thrives, ironic as that statement is.


Notice that the measures limiting abortion are being voted down in Colorado and South Carolina, and I can't imagine the abortion limits proposition passing in California. Stem cell research on previously created embyros is passing in Michigan, as is physician-assisted suicide in Washington. In light of all that, I'm surprised that gay marriage and adoption didn't receive more support.

And the president is --- oh...



Looks like Obama is our new president, and the Democrats in the Senate and the House are cleaning up. God help us - four years of Obama and at least two years of a Democrat-controlled government. I pray that God will give them guidance and that Obama will be a good leader. Ironic for me to say this, but I hope Obama governs like Clinton.

My vague predictions for the next few years:

Things will pick up over the new few months and barring something like a terrorist attack, which is plausible, America's economy will improve again and stabilize. In anticipation of President Obama's coronation, investment will slow, as he has threatened to raise the capital gains tax.

The Democrats will soon be able to pass all sorts of entitlement legislation, however. Many folks will get a tax refund, although many of the middle class people I know will not qualify. Higher taxes for businesses will mean trouble for a lot of people. Faced with the prospect of lower profits, companies will have to make a decision that every freshman business student learns in college - raise prices or cut expenses. Either way, people lose. Higher prices will lead to inflation, and/or companies will cut costs by (how do you think?) laying people off. So now we have either inflation or unemployment.
Our deficit and our national debt will continue to grow, spurred on by unchecked spending and earmarks. Eventually, someone will realize that the country doesn't have enough money to provide for universal healthcare or extensive investment into alternative energy projects. But damnit, they'll do what they can with what tax money they can and will spend.
True to his word, Obama will allow the passage of the Freedom of Choice Act, abolishing all limitations on abortion and sweeping away years of progress. The number of abortions per year will probably come close to 2 million. 
The international American "brand" will improve, but many leaders will lose some respect for us, and will push the envelope. Obama will be forced to make a decision that could bring us to war. If he chooses not to take shit, he will get a taste of what Bush went through.
And when things get bad, the Dems will do as they have always done: blame Bush. Things are only so bad because we have to clean up his mess, they'll say. Well, we'll see if the American people will buy that again next time.

Anyway, I really hope more positive events unfold, but I see these things in our future.
Addendum: Even if I disagree with him and the values and policies he stands for, Obama is our new president. He ran a frighteningly good campaign (good in terms of effectiveness), and I think even if we dislike the man, we should show some respect to the office. So congratulations to president-elect Obama. I hope he has a good time tonight and in the days to come, because he certainly has his work cut out for him.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Update 11/4

Man, is it November already?

This weekend was awesome - lot of good experiences, although I've fallen even further behind on sleep. I'll talk more about it another time, though...have to do some chores and monitor election stuff!

Friday, October 31, 2008

English Camp

No new posts from me for a few more days - I'm about to head off to "English camp" as a volunteer instructor for this 3-day weekend.  I'll report anything significant upon my return.  Hopefully Gobbler will hold down the fort with some Halloween pictures or something.


Halloween!

In case you didn't realize, it's Halloween. I shall be dressing up as a certain Japanese kid's TV show character. Fun times. Anyone else doing anything fun?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pirates +1

Arrr..

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Recommended Videos

The quality isn't that great, but this sketch is pretty great. I've never seen any of the Disney "High School Musical" movies, but I can imagine what they must entail. Oh lamentations...

Good old colonial humor. Caution: lots of foul language.

We're on our way

I don't think things will be this bad, but we're in for some changes indeed if (or when) Obama wins.
I love the last line- "Hope for the change of the hope of the change!"

Picture of the Day 10/28/08

"Black and Milk Candy." Apparently "black" is a flavor over here. Ah - perhaps that is the taste that only Japanese people can detect. 

"Brown sugar and milk harmonize with marble colors. This is the secret method of delicious taste." -- You mean this was the secret method of delicious taste. It's not exactly a secret anymore, now is it? -- Gotcha!

Tear Down the Wall!

There may be a few changes around here from now.
Until now, I'd done my best to keep things relatively light and have been careful not to post anything that would discourage anyone from reading this blog - namely, I have mostly tried to stay away from religion and politics. I requested the same of "Gobbler."

However, I am a religious person, and I follow politics. Both are important. I am an American Catholic, and I am proud to be both. I am not always proud of my fellow Catholics or Americans, but that's something I may explore in future posts.

I will continue to tell tales of my life in Japan, and I will still do my best at making humorous observations and comments. However, I wanted to profess that my name is Paul, I have particular views regarding my religion and my country, and I will be discussing them in the future. Eh, it's not like I have many readers, anyway.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day by day..

Life goes on.  Nothing major to report right now, although I guess I have one "happening" to mention. I went to lunch yesterday with three other English teachers and was taken off-guard and a little aback by where our conversation went.

This one teacher, who I don't know so well but considered to be a decent-seeming guy, asks me about September 11th, since I'm from New York. You know - where was I and what was it like. He said he wanted to hear all about it, but I see now it was just a platform for an unexpected anti-American sneak attack.

I tell my story, and he says (clearly he was waiting for this) - "You want to know what I think? You're going to disagree with me..." Then why tell me? This has already gotten kind of heavy for a lunch-time conversation at a ramen shop. Then he tells me that he thinks the American government knew that the attack was coming and that they let it happen so that American could claim self-defense in "invading the Middle East."  Sorry for the barrage of italics there, but it's still surprising to me to hear that.  Bullshit all Japanese people are nonconfrontational. And there's a kicker. He veered away from this a moment later, but he threw in (and this is the most ridiculous but revealing part of his assertion) - just like at Pearl Harbor, where the US let itself be attacked so that it could attack Japan. WHAT? The two other teachers were silent, pretty much staring into their ramen the whole time. Then he asked me what I thought. I just smiled awkwardly and said "Well yeah, I do disagree, but you're entitled to your opinion." I then explained that Bush may make bad decisions, but he is not evil. The Pearl Harbor part I didn't even address. 

When I talked to my predecessor about it, he said he would have probably brought up how Japan let itself get nuked so it could have an excuse to surrender. But I still have to work with these people for another few months, so I'm glad I didn't go that route.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Funny ha-ha

Laugh.

Regardless of your politics, both Obama and McCain were hilarious (if you've been following current political events). 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

DK follow-up

Man, I haven't thought about that game in a long time.  I'd just like to follow up Gobbler's post with a thought of my own.

When I consider my favorite games of all time or my favorite game music of all time, I can't honestly say any DK titles make it onto my list.  However, they were fun and well-made games.  I think I've been blocking them out ever since Diddy Kong Racing came into being, although my sister and I did have some good times on the level where you have to fly around and collect eggs. It sounds lame, I know, but you're flying around a volcano and you can either knock eggs away from other players or just steal them from their nest.

But anyway, while I delight in fails (especially epic fails) as much as the next guy, there is an epic WIN in DK Country that I am itching to point out.  DK Country provides the player with the unique, though limited chance, to control a gorilla riding a rhino.  While playing this monstrosity, you are invincible (to my knowledge) and can completely destroy any foes that stand in your path; as it should be.  I mean, what can beat a gorilla on top of a damn rhino?  I think if I saw that in real life I would soil myself.  

I have provided a picture to illustrate my point:



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Game Music

I just stumbled upon this. I'm sure there will be some of you who disagree with me on this point, but the Donkey Kong Country soundtrack is probably the most memorable that came out of the 16-bit generation. Still affects me today like it did back when I was a kid, and it's probably just some Japanese dude with a keyboard. Don't make them like they used to.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Price of spontaneity

So on Saturday I randomly went with a couple friends to Hiroshima. The trip was a little expensive and since it was unplanned, we walked around looking for a place to stay that night. There was no room at any of the inns, so we wound up staying the night at a manga/internet cafe. Not too bad, but I had a cold which was 10x worse this morning.

Anyway, tomorrow will be a light day. Have to give a test, but that's it. Then on Wednesday apparently we have a "day off." It's Founder's Day, which means the students get a day off, and the teachers have to take a day of paid leave. Doesn't sound fair to me, but I could use the day to rest, so...whatever.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I love my students..

So two more notable homework quotes from my students:

First, one boy wrote his little self-introduction; it was quite normal.  Then at the bottom of the page, he wrote: "homework this!!"
Now, I think that's probably some broken way of saying "This is my homework," but with the two exclamation points there...it just really seems like a natural, in-your-face, defiant roar...or someting.  I feel like it all it needs to be complete, full-fledged vernacular is some kind of expletive. You know - a good "homework this, b#$%h!"  Although completely by accident, he is telling me that he owned that homework hard. 

Second, one girl, writing about her likes and dislikes, stated: "I don't like chocolate and flesh cream."  Thank God.  I don't know what flesh cream is, but it sounds to me like there's a special place in hell set aside for those who do like it.

Random picture of the day (not that there's any regular posting, I know)


I post a lot of pictures of alcohol, but I am not an alchy - I swear.  Above is a tiny (dare I say "cute") little can of beer placed next to normal-sized cans for comparison. Yes, Japanese women are so light-weight that stores sell cans this small.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

October Country

I have finally begun to break through the ominous wall of work that I have to do just in time for it to start getting cold. I of course have no winter clothes or blankets which is cool (no pun intended). I have also reduced myself to eating peanut butter and Campbell's soup. Good times. Wonder what the weather is like in Japan...

On another lighter note I think that the world is coming to an end. I can longer even turn on the news for fear of vomiting at what my country has reduced itself to. There is some financial crisis which will I'm sure end with a lot of rich people going to spas and living in only a moderate mansion for the rest of their days. And the New Kids on the Block had a reunion. All of the elements seem to be in place. Time to go set up my Lawn Chair and cooler and enjoy the fireworks.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Park Pictures

So here are some pictures of a local park, taken with my cell phone.

I was "wow'ed" by this little pavilion-type thing on a little lake.^


Ouch, my wallet!

I was out today taking some pictures (I realize that's what most of you want and I haven't delivered), and I discovered this beautiful park that's literally like 2 blocks away from my house...Japan is funny like that - things are hidden all over the place.

Well, I got a few shots, but then my camera crapped out. I can still view my photos, but the screen goes dark and everything locks up now when I switch it back to picture-taking mode. Great, yet another thing I need to buy - a new camera...I did want to buy a new one, but right now I need to curb my spending a little...oh well, I get paid in a couple weeks and maybe I'll buy myself a treat.

I did take some nice shots with my camera, though. I'll upload those for you a little later.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A million points

This is from failblog.org, but if one of my kids had written this, I would have given full credit, if not more than full.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The state of our fate

Apologies for the minority of Japan-related posts.  In truth I've been kind of lazy and irresponsible as far as taking pictures.  I just often have this fear of looking like a tourist.  I also seem to have lost my USB-camera cord, so I'll need to get a new one.  

Anyway, here is something I read today that kind of alarmed me, and I wanted to share it.  While I sometimes hesitate to criticize France because of my sister's affinity for it, I often cannot contain my disdain for certain aspects of its culture and people.  I think it's mutual - French folk are not known for their love of Americans - a fact I hope my sister doesn't have to learn when she travels there for the spring semester.

I'm usually fairly protective of our US government, because it is ours.  These days, however, there are few excuses for many of the blunders that are being made, and I am increasingly forced to don the veil of the skeptic.  And the state of our nation is the result of nonpartisan, or perhaps I should say bipartisan, failings.  

We are becoming France, but worse in many regards.  I do not think this course is irreversible, but it is certainly alarming.  And it really is more extensive than this article suggests.  The growing power of American secularists and their assertions that religion has no place in government are frighteningly evocative of European values, especially French.  

Certainly every country has some value to the world, and France is, of course, no different...its history is not entirely disgraceful (at least no more so than many other countries) and its people have made many contributions to the world, particularly in the fields of art and science.  One France is enough for me, though.  God save the USA.

Pirate Attack (Pirates +1)

There's not really anything funny about this story, but it does hint at pirate supriority in reference to the Eternal Battle.  Don't see many stories about ninjas these days, which either means they're all but extinct or they're doing their job really well.

"Pirate attacks worldwide have surged this year and Africa remains the world's top piracy hotspot, with 24 reported attacks in Somalia and 18 in Nigeria this year, according to the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center."

Scoreboard:
Ninjas: 1
Pirates: 1

Killer Fashion

I was just at the grocery store and the girl ahead of me had these ridiculous fingernails. I can only assume (and hope) they were fakes. They were about a half an inch, blue, and looked to be encrusted with some kind of fake, diamond-esque gems. I was seriously taken aback.

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Metallica...

I was excited about the new Metallica album. Really, I was. And it was on sale. So I picked it up. It is what I would call another disappointment. Don't get me wrong, it sucks no where near as 'much as St. Anger, but it is definitely not what critics seem to be making it out to be. The single "The Day That Never Comes" isn't bad, and there are glimpses in other songs that are promising, they just never seem to bring it all together. Most of the songs just seem like a bunch of riffs they thought were cool in jam session thrown together. A little editing would have helped out a lot. I'm not against long songs, but the songs length needs to be necessary. Length for lengths sake just doesn't work. Definitely give it a listen before picking it up.

Note: Haven't posted in a while do to the amount of work I have been pretending to do. Will be posting again with more frequency.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stupid Tea

Green tea tastes like grass to me.  Not that I know what grass tastes like, but I imagine it has the earthy, weedy taste that green tea possesses.  I decided to do a little research on it today, and damn there are a lot of kinds of green tea.

Well, at least green tea I can deal with.  It's mugicha that I have a problem with.  The taste, the smell...I mean, I just can't understand how anyone could be thinking "Mmmm, I could really go for some barley juice right about now."  That's essentially what mugicha is - it's barley tea.  Yuck.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Japanese people say the darndest things

[Edit 4:28 PM (JST - Japanese Standard Time)]

You've probably seen examples of the often funny things that Japanese people say or write (don't get me wrong, this isn't limited to Japanese people).  Well, of course I've heard and read some off-color remarks in my time here.  I'm always on the lookout for signs/shirts/etc, but they're not always as easy to find as one might think.  Either that or I'm becoming dangerously used to bad English.  Anyway, I just wanted to quickly share a few of my recent favorites.

The other day I was talking with one of the JTEs about clean-up at the school.  Japanese schools don't have custodians - the students are expected to clean, with teachers supervising.  She mentioned that it's tiring to manage them, especially when there are too many students and not enough jobs.  I told her that it's probably better to be a manager than a worker, though...at least managers have power.  At that she laughed kind of maniacally and replied "Yes, yes - I need power!"

For my first lesson, I assigned all my first-year students a homework assignment.  They had to write a short self introduction.  Many of them have been the same kind of thing so far: 
My name is so-and-so. I like (sport,food,etc). I am (age) years old. 
But some of them have stood out.  Here are a few excerpts I kind of liked:

"Please teach me intelligible English class."

"I like fruits pain apple."

"I don't like English because I like English but I like English."

"I don't play the game."

First off - don't worry, I won't teach you intelligible English class.  I don't think that it is physically possible.  Second, the girl obviously meant that she likes pineapple, which is a fruit, but damn...pain apple sounds really badass.  Maybe a good band name?  Pain Apple.  Third sentence, I have no idea, so I won't even try.  Fourth - I really have to appreciate that one.  We need more people who "don't play the game."

[Edit] Just remembered another one I liked.  During one of my classes, the students had to give oral presentations about different aspects of Japanese culture.  One girl was talking about games and activities at Japanese festivals, and trying to give a simple description of each.  For example, there was this game kind of like horseshoes, where people try to throw a ring onto a little stand.  My favorite game/explanation, however, was "scooping goldfish."  She had a little cutout of a fish in a bowl and another of a little net.  While demonstrating with the cutouts, she explained.  "Scooping goldfish is...scooping goldfish."  I love these kids. 

Not everything is amusing, though.  Every so often I'll hear or see something quite moving, often because of an earnest attempt to convey a simple but important idea in another language.  There's a boy in one of my classes who is deaf.  He's really bright, though - he's in one of the upper level English courses.  One of the first lines in his self-intro was, "I can't hear the noise."  Damn.  I don't know, something about that just really gets me.

On that note, I'll end for now.  I don't really want to take away from that with something light or silly.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ugh

Nothing witty for this entry - my gas has been turned off again for reasons unknown to me. Damn, I hate cold showers.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Rivetting News

CNN headline: Big snake found in road

Simply amazing coverage. It's not even a little bit of a waste of your time. I love the American mass media.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Not-so-convenient stores?

I have to say, compared to Japanese convenient stores ("conbinis"), American ones just can't really measure up. That is one of the little things I like about being over here. You can pay bills, buy tickets for sports events, concerts, etc, buy many kinds of liquor, household supplies, and if you buy something that needs to be heated, the clerk will personally microwave it for you.

And tell me this - can you buy 4 liter jugs of liquor in a convenience store back home? I think not (although someone may correct me - maybe I just wasn't looking hard enough).


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Master of WTF

So some upfront warnings about this post: it's not related to Japan, it is related to video games, and I may use foul language.  Yes, actually I'm quite sure I will.

So every once-in-a-while the mood strikes me to play an old game. You know - an oldie but a goodie.  Recently I've been playing this old strategy game called Master of Orion.  It was pretty unique for its time, and in some ways is along the same vein as Civilization-type games, but in space.

The game has a little bit of a learning curve, and the graphics are none too special, but that doesn't usually phase me.  After a little online research and toying around, I quickly developed a feel for the interface and how the game works.  Then, all of a sudden, I lost.  I have to say, this is one of the most frustrating, "WTF" losses I have ever experienced.  And I wish I could say it was isolated, but it seems to randomly happen everytime I play this game, so I need to frequently save so that I can reload if it happens (and when I reload the random game over usually doesn't come until later).

So let me paint a picture of the experience:


1. Ah, title screen looks good.


2. Ok, getting into the groove. Have my starting planet and a colony.


3. Hey, things are going pretty well.  Got myself another colony.  No sign of aliens yet.


4. Soon I'll have a whole em- wait, what the hell is this?  "Identify this class of ship"?  How the hell should I know?  Ok, looks like a Banshee?


5.  Another? Geez, I don't know...looks like the Enterprise to me. Ok, how about Dark Star?


6. WHAT? Are you f&*king kidding me?!  I couldn't ID some ships, so I lose?  What the hell kind of strategy game is this?  So, like, a bunch of ships secretly rolled up to my planet and since I didn't know what they were, they raped me?


7.  Oh, so a bunch of guys in robes took over my planet.  Great.  Awesome.

Seriously, this happens to me at random points in my games, and I have no idea why.  I've looked it up on the internet, Wikipedia, and checked out some online strategy guides for the game, and there is NO mention of this phenomenon.  You'd think more people would have complained about or at least noted this shit.

Gah!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Go Straight for 3 blocks, then keel over and die.

More updates coming soon, I promise. However, I have learned something about being a teacher: while I thought that lawyers and consultants and their ilk work tough hours, I had failed to consider the fact that for a teacher the clock is irrelevant. Sure, you can go home, but those papers you have to grade, those tests you have to make, those lessons you have to plan - they do not cease to exist between the hours of 8:00 and 5:00. This is good work experience, but damn. Now excuse me while I get back to planning a lesson involving a town of a my own design and giving directions. Yes, students will need to learn how to direct me from the Taco and Pizza Restaurant to the Hospital.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Special Presentation

Took me long enough to get to, I know, but here's footage from my first night here. Brought to you by Creap, which I discovered is not coffee as I thought, but actually instant cream. Mmmm...?


video

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Something you don't see everyday

If someone would be kind enough to caption this for me:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thank God for Gas

Never thought I'd say anything like this: Thank God my gas is back.
That means tomorrow I can take a hot shower.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Foiled!

So I went to the grocery after work and bought a number of chili-related items, hoping to stumble my way through a Japanized (read: bastardized) version of the delicious cuisine, sine' chili powder or chili sauce. I found some spice red peppers and tabasco sauce that I was going to muck around with, though. Anyway, get home and try to melt some butter in a pan, but my oven won't light. Neither will my bath-heater-thing. Guess my gas got turned off.
Sure enough, I got a couple bills today, and one (from what I can tell) is from the gas company and has an outstanding balance from June and July. Well, paid that at the convenience store tonight, so hopefully they'll turn it back on sometime soon.

I'm a little bitter right now, so I leave you with this ineptly named Japanese product and equally inappropriate caption:



Testimonial: When I get up in the morning, I really need some creap's creamy powder to get me going.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Commendable

It may just be a political tactic, but I continue to be impressed with both candidates as they continue to take the high road this election (so far).

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Poor Gore

Essentially "If I had been elected in 2000, everything would be awesome right now."

Rules of Engagement

Just quickly: It would have made the game difficult, yes, but also more realistic.

The Tastes of Japan

Today I learned that children are exposed to this website (hi Kara and Brenna - say "hi" to your mom and dad for me)! In honor of that, I'll try to make this post relatively child-friendly.


So there are certain things that Japanese people are very proud of, and legitimately so - sushi, judo, the Japanese work ethic; then there are things that they are proud of and are blatantly made up - the fact that only Japanese people have appendices (even if it were true, why be proud of a useless organ?), for example. Until recently I thought the claim that Japanese people can taste more flavors than foreigners was utter malarchy. Today, after visiting a Baskin Robbins (which they call 31, incidentally), I reconsidered. Why? Because I can't even begin to imagine what kind of flavor "Ghost World" should have.

And Ben, E - here's a flavor just for you: "Dolce For Vampire."

I don't think Japan will ever stop presenting me with these small, amusing surprises.









So now on to the slightly PG part of the post: this was a very tiring, expensive, busy, and yet satisfying weekend. Friday was my first day of classes, and though it went pretty well, it was exhausting. So what did I do after work? I went to my first "enkai" (company party), with about a dozen other teachers, my predecessor, and the principal and vice-principal. The party served as both a welcome for me and a farewell to my predecessor. There was drinking, speech-giving (I awed the room with a half-decent "thank-you" speech in Japanese, despite my drunkeness; even busted out a Japanese expression roughly meaning "you only live once, so get the most out of it"), buddying around with the higher-ups, and more drinking. At one point expressed my concern to the principal that he shouldn't overwork himself. He amusedly asked me if I thought he was weak - I did some backpeddling and all was well, as he eventually said that it is indeed important to work but also take care of oneself. Phew. Additionally, the VP had a heart-to-heart of sorts with me -- said that he can usually tell about people and he sees that I'm a good guy who tries hard. He then said that he wants to help me out as much as he can and wants me to meet his wife sometime, and that if I ever have trouble in Japan or need anything, to let him know. He really is a top-drawer guy.
After the staff party, a couple teachers, the VP, my pred, and myself all went out to a small karaoke bar, where we sang and drank more. After that, I, one teacher, and my pred went to his house and hung out for a couple hours before crashing.
Then yesterday I went home, showered, took a short (but too long) nap, then went into Osaka to attend a Toastmasters' party. A friend of mine is a member, and invited me and whoever else I wanted to bring; so I invited some other ALTs and we went. It was very fun and I met a lot of interesting people, including a couple other ALTs who are Toastmasters members. After the party we all went to karaoke, where I sang my voice into destruction. Since I was so enthusiastic and uninhibited with my singing (read: drunk), people kept passing me the backup mic. Fun times. After that, I went with two other ALTs (Joe and Lauren) to Joe's town, where we went to a bar until 3:00 a.m. and drank, ate nachos, and listened to Counting Crows (the owner likes Americans and American music). We then crashed, woke up today around 11:00 or so, and got ramen.
As I said, busy. I've never really been so active and spontaneous all at once, but you only live once, right?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sorry

I want(ed) to keep things relatively light here, but I just can't resist this time:

From CNN -- Obama: I'm Ready to Beat John McCain

Ah, ok. Well then, now you're ready. You were just waiting until the right moment, which is apparently after you've filled a stadium with fanatics and supporters. Seems more like a concert or festival than a political convention.

Obama: "Change happens because the American people demand it -- because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time. America, this is one of those moments. I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming."

Remember any other leaders who talked about their countrymen "rising up" to affect a change? Good rhetoric.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Disclaimer

I won't have time for another post for a couple days, as I have a busy schedule this weekend, but I just wanted to provide a quick warning, as something that Jeff said struck me.

Warning: Japan may cause alcoholism. Also not appropriate for small children.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm Ba-ack!

Disclaimer: This will be a long entry. You may want to get a snack or a cold beverage. And also, Blogger sucks at entry formatting.

I know, I have a lot to tell you. And yes, I should have called. I know it isn't hard to just pick up a phone, but -- no, baby, please -- just listen.

Let me start off by saying I think this is the best day I've had so far on this trip. Good day at work (excluding the whole "nearly choking on a cup of water" thing), finally got internet at home, managed to set up my modem despite the Japanese instructions, and then I had gyoza and beer for dinner. How sweet it is.

Now let me start by saying from here on in I will be presented with a challenge of sorts. In addition to my periodic random musings or news flashes, I have two main goals for my entries:
1. To inform you as to what's going on in my life. Some of you may only be reading this blog for a little insight into my world (how sweet of you!).
2. To entertain my readers with interesting stories and perhaps attract new readers. Unfortunately, this means that I won't be able to blog that I had a banana and orange juice for breakfast, because who really cares. Ergo, I will have to be selective about what I post. If you're interested in learning more about something I mention, or you want to know how long it took me to get to school today, you can leave a comment or email me.


I'm aware that I have a lot to catch you up on, and I'll do so now that I have time. For now, please relax and be comforted that I am once again among the denizens of the internet.

I'll try to make this concise and will probably fail, but let me tell you what's been going on since I got here. Of course you know I arrived in Tokyo last month. I apparently got bit to hell at E's house, because on the plane I was plagued, all over my body, by the bites of a hundred tiny
demons. And I think I had a mild fever, too. My immune system really fails whenever I come to this land. Anyway, I sucked it up and got through Tokyo orientation. Some minor stuff happened, but nothing really worth mentioning.

My first few days in Hyogo prefecture were kind of depressing. When I first got into my apartment and was left alone, I just walked around aimlessly for like 10 minutes, trying to figure out what to do with myself. Since then, things have picked up considerably. I still don't always know what to do with myself, but I now have the essentials of life: a bank account for my paycheck, a cellphone, internet at home, a foreigner ID card, and liquor on top of my fridge. And perhaps most importantly, I've been making friends (Awww...).

I'll be teaching at two schools: one of which is a normal, public, middle-upper level academic high school. The other is a special high school school for part-time students with special circumstances. I.E. they have rough family situations, were prior drop-outs, work full-time, etc. I start teaching on Friday, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least slightly nervous. I've been visiting some club activities at my base school (they meet over vacations, even summer), though, and have met and talked to a lot of students. I'm also friendly with a bunch of teachers at my base school, including the Judo coach, who is trying to convince me to join the club. Although the students at my visit school may be rough around the edges, I really like the staff-room setting. With the exception of a couple oddballs, all of the teachers seem really nice and approachable, and although I've only visited twice so far, I'm probably friendly with almost as many teachers there as at my base school. There's also another ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) at my visit school. That's his base. I'm not quite sure how to describe him - dry sense of humor, kind of sarcastic, pretty toned-down, nice enough but sometimes aloof. It'll be nice to work with another ALT every once in a while, though.

There are certain facts and experiences that I'd like to save and frame in their own topics, but let's see...what other mundane details can I give you about my life here?
Well, I live between Osaka and Kobe - two of Japan's major cities. Osaka takes about 40 minutes to an hour to get to, via bus and train. Kobe is a little farther and takes about an hour to an hour and a half. I've already discovered all the important places:

Expensive Mexican restaurant √
Catholic Church √
Recycle shop √
Grocery stores √
100 Yen shop √
Music store √
Uniqlo (see Japanese Old Navy equivalent) √
Liquor stores √
Convenience stores (1 per 3 square blocks) √√√
Creepy love hotel
Taco Bell

Well, maybe I don't have everything...but then, there don't seem to be any Taco Bells in Japan.

I'll end this post by saying my journey so far as been difficult, with challenges both forseen and un. However, I'm pretty certain that if I survive this I'll be all the better for it. I think in these 3 weeks of living on my own I've already gotten 10x better at cooking than I used to be.

This is me, reporting live from Japan.



Monday, August 25, 2008

Drinking

So I'm sitting here drinking trying to figure out if "A Fistful of Dollars" is dubbed or just off sync, and I was wondering what other people like to drink. If you happen to know what the original language of this movie was that would be great too. Take this as a kind of informal poll to see if anyone actually reads this blog.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

......?

Wow?

I want to ride my bicycle

So today I bought a bicycle. I went to the local bicycle refurbishing shop run by the mentally handicapped (I'm sure every town has one...right?) and picked up a pretty nice Specialized road bike. It's about 10-15 years old, but it still runs nice and I'm now able to ride my bike to school. Exciting right?
So why am I posting about this? Consider this a PSA asking you to watch out for all us jackasses riding bike's down the highway. I know it would be fun to watch bicyclists fly over the hood of your car just like in GTA, but I'm pretty sure you'd feel bad afterwards. At least I hope you would. I was almost killed by a soccer mom today. Thought she saw me, she didn't, and so I slammed on the breaks and almost shattered the goods. So when driving please be mindful of the goons on the bicycles. Might like to start a family of ninjas or something some day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cat Hair

I like cats. Don't get me wrong. I've had two very friendly cats. But I hate cat hair. I've just moved into my new place of residence and the landlady has a few cats. One cat, which shall be referred to from here on out as "Cat" (clever I know), has decided to take up residence in my room. Cat is nice, but already I have a sweatshirt covered in hair and I've been here a day. There soon may be a cat holocaust.

I've also discovered (re-discovered?) that most of the music I see on TV sucks. Bad. Take a video that they seem to be playing by some band called the Veronicas or something. Two creepy looking twins dancing around in some kind of club designed by hot topic singing. The song wouldn't be that bad if the lyrics weren't so horrendous. Who buys this garbage? What happened to the days of great music videos? Like....Flock of Seagulls. Ok maybe videos have never been good. "Well why do you keep watching, Gobbler?" you might ask. Because I am a masochist. And I am full of hate. Both of which are served well by watching crap on TV.

Here is the video in case you are interested

Music Recommendations

I buy lots of CD's. I know its probably a better Idea to just go online to itunes or whatever and just download them digitally, but I like hunting around looking for good CD's. Makes me feel like I've accomplished something (even though all I have really accomplished is wasting my money). So here are some brief reviews of CD's I've bought over the last few months.

1. Electric Wizard "Witchcult Today"


I had been wanted to see what Electric Wizard was like for a while, so when I saw this in the music store I figured I'd give it a try. Think Black Sabbath slowed down and tuned down a few steps and you get the Picture. Lyrics are what you would expect on an album named "Witchcult Today" (meaning ridiculous) but they fit with the mood the instruments create. Album starts out strong but by the end it becomes a little monotonous. Its called stoner music, so maybe it would sound better stoned. Too bad I will never find out.



2. Mogwai "Mr. Beast"

This was my first Mogwai CD, and I must say that its pretty good. A bit hard to describe. Most of the tracks are instrumental and range from full out hard-rock (Glasgow Mega-Snake) to atmospheric piano driven songs (my personal favorite "Friend of the Night"). There are few tracks here and there with vocals and most of these are pretty good. A bit like radiohead, albeit louder and less vocal driven (I'm not sure if the Radiohead comparison works here, but its the closest well-known band I can think of). The only song thats doesn't work for me is "I chose Horses" which consists of background music and the Vocalist from the Japanese Band "envy" talking. I'm not a fan of spoken word in music in such large doses and it just strikes me as boring. That track aside I highly I high recommend this one.


3. Cult of Luna "Eternal Kingdom"

Cult of Luna is one of my favorite bands. I have many fond memories of listening to Cult of Luna and their brand of atmospheric/post-rock/post-hardcore/experimental/*insert random genre* music while walking around town drunk thinking the world is going to end. You of course do not need to be paranoid nor drunk to enjoy Cult of Luna. Their latest "Eternal Kingdom" did not dissapoint. I drove all around town looking for this CD. Didn't find it either until I went out of town to visit a friend and found it at a CD store there. "Eternal Kingdom" is much darker and heavier than their previous (though still quite good) "Somewhere along the Highway." There is an evil owl-man creature on the front with glowing eyes; what would you expect? Gone are the clean vocals and banjo's. Just anguished screams, detuned guitars, electronic walls of sound, thundering bass and.....trumpets. The trumpets work though, trust me. Not a bad song on the album, even the several instrumental interlude tracks are worth listening to. Not sure how I feel about the ending to the song "Ghost Trail." Its one of my favorites on the album, but the ending just seems like it goes on for a bit to long and doesn't quite fit, but it is growing on me. Maybe they wanted it to just come out of nowhere. The title track is also good and worth looking up if you have time.


You can listen to most of these bands on youtube or itunes if any of my ramblings peaked your interest. I will try to put up some album reviews often. Though putting the stupid pictures in the post is kind of a pain. Anyway take a listen to some of the bands and let me know what you think. I'm also open to recommendations :)

The Gobbler

Blue Shoe in his previous post mentioned that there would be a new poster. That new poster is me. The Gobbler. Before you all ask, no that is not my real name and no it does not have any significance. I just think its a silly word. Like pumpkin, and sasaffras (is that how you spell that?). I will probably make many grammatical and punctuation mistakes unlike my fellow poster. I enjoy making these mistakes, so don't bother correcting me or I will come to your house and punch a kitten (or puppy depending on your preference) in front of you. Don't think I wont.

I will be discussing on here topics that I find interesting. Sometimes they will be overlap with those of The Shoe, and other times they wont. I am in America though so don't expect lots of funny pictures of Japanese Shenanigans. Though American shenanigans are fair game. I also enjoy candle-light dinners and walks on the beach.

Schematics

I regret my lack of activity, but the fact remains that I am (at least for the moment) relatively uncomfortable blogging at work. I feel like I should be doing something either constructive or really boring. Maybe I'll get over it once my spirit is broken.

I will be getting my alien card on Friday, which means that I can then apply for internet at home (when I'll get it is another story, unfortunately). In the meanwhile, I've decided to add another author to the blog - a good friend of mine who will (hopefully) let you know what I'm up to from time to time in addition to contributing his own thoughts/news/fire and brimstone sermons.

Please check back from time to time, as things will pick up soon.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Here I Am

Well, I've arrived. This post will be quick, since I'm at "work" right now. I don't have home internet access yet and probably won't for another two or three weeks, so anything substantial will have to wait.

Things have been both exciting and drudging. I'll explain when I get the chance.
That's it for now, sorry. Basically just wanted to say "I'm alive."