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21 October 2007 @ 10:36 am
my family skyped me today with some crazy news.

first the good news was that Dave came home today. the vet called them to say he was eating (which he hadn't been), and that he could go home for a while with some medication. it won't make him better, but it'll keep him from being in too much pain, and he can spend a little more time at home rather than never coming back from the vet like they'd thought was the case. he may only be home a couple days, could be a while, the vet couldn't say for sure. i was glad to hear this though, cuz i know i would want to go home first if i was Dave.

bad news came next. my father and my sister got into a car accident last night. another car lost control on the highway and hit them in the right lane. they spun around 360 degrees and went over the curb onto an embankment. thankfully, no one was hurt. except Tula, my car. they've been using it in my absence since it makes no sense to just let it sit. looks like she gave her all to keep my dad and sister safe. I'm amazingly glad they're okay, but the news my car is dead makes me kind of sad. it was my first car!

skype dropped out on my family's call, so that was all the news i got, but that's still a lot. but i'm still sleepy, so with more good than bad, i'm going back to sleep.
Mood: more glad than sad
Music: Iron and Wine - Peace Beneath the City (live in studio)
21 October 2007 @ 12:14 am
even if you didn't really like the latest vanderslice album, this concert is really fantastic. a great mix of old favorites (in particular a great performance of time travel is lonely) and new tracks that makes me appreciate the recent stuff a hell of a lot more than i did just listening to the album.

cuz no one no one no one no one no one knows what happens...NEXT!
Mood: John Vanderslice - Time Travel is Lonely (live)
20 October 2007 @ 08:48 pm
Maybe it's the cold weather or the wine talking, but I definitely like The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter better now than I did this summer.

EDIT: His NPR live concert is also quite good. NPR fills the lonely spot in my saturday nights, it seems.
Mood: still
Music: Josh Ritter - Naked As A Window
19 October 2007 @ 02:21 pm
they're putting down one of our cats tomorrow...apparently poor dave has liver cancer. i wish i could be there. i have always missed our cats being here in japan, and now i'll miss him even more. dave was one of the most affectionate and funny little creatures it has been my pleasure to co-habitate with, and everyone in my family loved him dearly. eleven is a pretty good age for a cat, but it doesn't seem nearly long enough now...

we'll never forget you, dave. thanks for being the best cat ever.
17 October 2007 @ 01:22 am
if you liked cute japanese girls doing funny little dances, you'll want to tune back into UniQlock for cute japanese girls falling asleep (in the fall lineup, of course). once again Fantastic Plastic Machine sets the mood.

and on that note, i'm going to bed.

EDIT: Apparently they still dance during the day, and sleep at night. Makes sense.
10 October 2007 @ 05:39 pm
I haven't complained that much about work lately, except for having fucked up weekends due to sports festivals. The reason for this is that, on the whole, being a second year is WAY better than being a first year ALT. Everyone knows you, and is more relaxed around you. They don't talk about you in front of you thinking you won't understand (as much, anyway). Even the kids at the middle schools seem a little more receptive to me than they were last year (even if it's just a tinsy bit). I've also got a great co-worker, which makes my life better all around.

But the thing that drives me the worst (as we say) is this one teacher, we'll call him Mr. N. I've had it up to about here (indicating a high level) with this guy. Mr. N may speak decent English, but he should NOT be an English teacher. He talks through most of the class in Japanese, often going on long tangents about things not even marginally related to English or the topic at hand. His pronunciation is terrible, and he insists on reading all the new vocab words himself, as well as all the dialogs, so even when I'm there, the kids don't hear natural English pronunciation, just katakana-ed crap. He loves Jeopardy and always wants to play it...unfortunately, his students hate it, and playing it is like pulling teeth. He doesn't give a shit if they like it or not, of course. He treats the other English teacher, who is a woman and a much better teacher, like she's some sort of servant in his classroom. It's the same for me, if he decides to let me do anything at all. Last I checked, that wasn't the definition of "assistant", but I guess it's an English word so he doesn't really get it.

Today though, was the worst. I thought it was insulting when he insists on reading the new vocab first. It's even MORE insulting, however, when I'm standing in the classroom and he decides to USE THE TAPE RECORDED VERSION of the new words. That's right, went across the room, plugged it in, set it up and played it twice while I was standing there with the book in hand open to the correct page. I was livid. At least have the decency to let me be the dreaded "human tape recorder", if nothing else. I fumed pretty heavily until he asked to read the dialog, but my god, how hard is it to ask me to read something? What a fucker.

Later on, it turns out he had a demonstration class other teachers were attending. I'm starting to think these demo classes are really for evaluating the teacher rather than giving tips to others, but each school I've been at so far has asked me to come help with their demos. One school even asked me to come in specially for it. Did Mr. N ask for my help though? Of course not. I sat in the staff room and worked on materials for the next day, so my time wasn't totally wasted, but he probably would have looked a lot better doing some team teaching. But then again, he's got no clue how that works, that much is all too obvious.

Aya has had the same problems with him. We're crossing our fingers he gets transfered next April.
09 October 2007 @ 09:07 pm
apparently i've had an underactive microwave replaced by an overactive one. i set popcorn for 2 minutes and went to the bathroom, and found when i came back that my entire kitchen was filling with smoke.

it seems that someone out there doesn't want me to have popcorn ever again.
Mood: glad i'm not cremated
Music: The National - Brainy
09 October 2007 @ 08:17 pm
good music is saving my soul these days
Music: St. Vincent - Now Now
08 October 2007 @ 11:14 pm
while the rankings change incredibly fast on the Uni Qlo contest, I just got a huge rush by seeing my design ranked at 20. that's the highest i've gotten yet!!

it doesn't REALLY matter, but it's a thrill.

also, this weekend my town was full of moving shrines that blocked traffic, exchange students from WA, and crazy underground music festival goings-on. i'm beat.
03 October 2007 @ 05:10 pm
I made the top 1000 designs in the Uni Qlo Grand Prix!! VOTE FOR ME!!

This is my entry:

This is my profile:

Start voting here:

If I get enough votes, I get a T-shirt made by a huge Japanese clothing company. If I win the grand prize (unlikely, but still!), I get my shirt printed along with 3 million yen (about $30,000)! Please vote for me!!!!!

EDIT: Voting is kind of obnoxious and the flash is even more so, sorry about that folks. Thanks to any and all who have the patience to look!
Mood: excited!!